THE MASK: 103 years between Pandemics

The mask wars of the 1918 flu pandemic | Crosscut

Historians tells us 103 years ago, during the flu pandemic, Americans wore masks. In most of the states mask wearing was not manditory. Many cities in the United States (particularly on the West Coast ) created ordinances requiring citizens to wear masks.

Throughout the country most people complied, as schools, theaters, public places were closed. With the United States involved in World War 1, many believed mask wearing was patriotic.

Not everyone, after the war ended there was a sense that there wasn’t a reason to keep wearing masks. An anti-mask wearing group formed in San Francisco in 1919.

The Anti-Mask League of 1919: The Cultural Battle of an Enduring Pandemic -  Untapped New York

Desite the dissenters, the majority of Americans continued to wear masks..

Years after the spanish flu pandemic, people wore masks. There are images in New York and other cities on the East Coast where those with means would wear fashional masks that matched their suits and dresses.

History of Face-Masks during 1918-1919 Spanish flu -
Closed borders and 'black weddings': what the 1918 flu teaches us about  coronavirus | Coronavirus | The Guardian

Worldwide, 50 million people died during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919 one third of the worlds population. In 1918, there were 105 million Americans. 675,000 people succumbed to the pandemic.

Parellels: Spanish Flu and Covid 19

Like the Spanish Flu,the first wave of the Covid 19 occurred in the spring and was generally mild. A second, highly contagious wave appeared with a vengeance in the fall of that same year.

The Spanish flu was also detrimental to the economy. In the United States, businesses were forced to shut down because so many employees were sick.

In 1918, Cailfornia and the Western states were the first states to make mask wearing manditory. Last spring, California was the first state to issue “A Stay at home order”


The largest wave of immigration to the United States took place between 1880 to 1920. Many of the nations hospitals did not want to treat Immigrants and blacks.

Between 1915 and 1960, nearly five million black people migrated from the south to the north. The majority of migrants moved to major northern cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadephia and New York. To work for the railroads, the Auto Industry and steel industry.

Many whites, struggled with the change. Labor Unions would not let blacks join. However some employers would hire blacks who worked for less. Blacks were accused of undermining the Unions. In 1919, Blacks were attacked in many cities their homes were burned. In many of the nation’s newspapers, black were the instigators. By the fall their were race riots in many industrial cities in the Midwest and the East Coast.

Hidden History: Chicago Race Riot of 1919 | WGN-TV
Washington race riot of 1919 - Wikipedia
EDITOR'S NOTE: No More 'Lynching Logic' to Excuse Brutality Against Black  People | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS
Race Riots of 1919 - The Red Summer This Map Journal depicts some of the race  riots that occurred during the Spring-Autumn months of the year 1919. The  riots chosen are from

This is where the paralels end

Like the Spanish Flu, there are people who dont believe in masks.

Unlike 1918, there weren’t vaccines to treat the Flu, in fact it was twenty years later before a flu vaccine was developed. There are and have been vaccines to treat the different strains of the Corona Virus, and like the flu, scientists will have to create new versions of the vaccine to adjust to the various strains. Just as they created different vaccines for the swine flu and the Hong Kong flu.

While there is a shortage of the vaccine in India, Countries in Africa and South America there is a surplus of the vaccine in the United States

The issue is political. Nearly 50% of Republicans says they dont trust the goverment or the vaccine.

The majority of these individuals live in rural areas where there are fewer medical services.

With summer approaching, and fewer new cases and hospitalizations. Even Fewer Americans will be vaccinated.

Many scientist believe annual Covid shots will be a necessary.

There is a global and economic interest in controlling the virus.

If India or another large economy isn’t controlled by late summer. The world could see an significant increase in new cases of Covid19 in the fall.

In 2020, with the virus out of control. Citizens bought fewer cars, appliances, Cameras. As a result,semiconductors chip makers made fewer chips.

Currently, there is global shortage of these computer chips. That runs everything from your washer, smartphones, thermostat to the safety devises in your car.

Detroit has thousands of vehicles waiting for these chips. Resulting in an auto shortage and layoffs. This has trickled down to Car Rentals now averaging $100 a day. This shortage could cost Detroit billions.

The makers of these vital computer chips say they do not see a return to normal, until the second quarter of 2022.