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"Influenza With Us- Epidemic Has Taken Hold of Greenfield" article from The Greenfield Recorder newspaper
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than World War I. It is estimated that it affected a quarter of the population and that 675,000 Americans died from this disease. Between September 1, 1918 and January 16, 1919, 45,000 people died in Massachusetts. The disease entered the country with some sailors that docked in Boston on August 27. Within two weeks, over two thousand men stationed in the Boston area were infected. By October, towns in western Massachusetts were seeing high rates of infection and death. The Board of Health in Greenfield ordered schools, theaters, churches, clubs and the library to close, in order to prevent large numbers of people congregating. However, they also made sure to say that "the situation is not alarming" and that "there is no need for the public to become panic stricken." This article reports that there were 75 to 100 cases in the neighboring town of Turners Falls, and that two of the four doctors in town were sick. This was causing such a burden on the remaining doctors that the town asked the state department of health to send a doctor to help. The adjoining town of Millers Falls already had been given an additional doctor because their two resident doctors could not cope with the epidemic.
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