This strange "cold" turned out to be influenza or the Spanish flu. Within eighteen months, over 500 million people were affected around the world. Out of that ghastly number, 100 million people died. 100 million people died!
"On September 28, 200,000 people gathered for a fourth Liberty Loan Drive. Funding the war effort and showing one’s patriotic colors took precedence over concern for public health. Just days after the parade, 635 new cases of influenza were reported. Two days later, the city was forced to admit that epidemic conditions did indeed exist. Churches, schools, and theaters were ordered closed, along with all places of “public amusement.” Members of the press condemned the closings as a violation of common sense and personal freedom. Meanwhile, the ranks of the sick and dying continued to grow. By mid-October, their numbers ran into the hundreds of thousands. Hospitals quickly reached capacity. Church parish houses and state armories doubled as shelters for the sick."