Oakland – 1918 Flu Pandemic – WWI

The 1918 Flu Pandemic (aka the ‘Spanish Flu’) infected and killed millions of people globally, including killing more than 1,400 in Oakland, California. (The population at that time was about 216,000.) 

There were two major outbreaks in Oakland, one in the fall of 1918, and another in January 1919. 

In one particularly grim 24 hour period in November 1918, 39 deaths were recorded.   2 Schools were closed, and citizens were required to wear masks to help prevent the spread of the disease. (https://oaklandwiki.org/1918_Flu_Pandemic)

Oakland Tribune November 2, 1918

S.O.S! Need Ten!

Wear you mask whenever you on the street”

Oakland Police

The police arrested 488 overnight on November 03, 1918. Every arrest was held over for $10.00 bail. Many stay overnight because they couldn’t raise the bail. Oakland Tribune – Nov 03, 1918

Makeshift Hospital

The Oakland Municipal Auditorium is being used as a temporary hospital with volunteer nurses from the American Red Cross tending the sick there during the influenza pandemic of 1918, Oakland, California, 1918. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

The Oakland Auditorium (now the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center) was used as a makeshift hospital because the existing hospitals were overwhelmed.

Volunteer caregivers from the American Red Cross preparing surgical dressings for sufferers of influenza during the great flu pandemic of 1917-1918. 

The War is Over! Celebrate!

Oakland Tribune Nov 11, 1918

World War I ended in November 1918. News about the pandemic was put on the back burner, even more.

The city of Oakland invited everyone to come and celebrate the end of the war on November 11, 1918. The event was held at the city hall plaza.

The event was to be held in “open-air” as ordered by the health department.  Oakland Tribune November 11, 1918

“Bring your Flags” and “Wear your Masks”

Official Proclamation – November 11,1918

Oakland Tribune November 1918


Oakland Tribune November 13, 1918

Britain Day!

Oakland celebrated our British allies with a parade on December 08, 1918. Thousands of people attended.  Oakland Tribune – December 08, 1918

Oakland Tribune Dec 08, 1918

No wonder there was another outbreak in November 1918 and January 1919.!  

New Cases

January 11, 1991

On January 11, 1919, 312 new cases and 17 deaths were reported in the 24 hours ending at 9 am that morning. By 11 am, that same day, another 112 new cases and three additional deaths were reported.  Oakland Tribune January 11, 1919

Be safe and stay home!

The End

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