San Francisco Winter 1918-1919

History of Medicine

Jun 25

I had to stop writing our article on the Spanish Flu before getting into the second wave. My PTSD was ablaze and I was about to self-destruct if I kept on course. You see, these are not numbers to me. They are human beings; human beings whose lives were cut short . . . by ignorance and outright stupidity. And sadly, those who died weren’t always the criminally stupid, but people who caught the virus from the criminally stupid.

And now (June 2020), we are in the middle of a pandemic, the likes of which no living epidemiologist has ever seen, but boy oh boy, in medical school, they were warned. And people are dying. When people are dying, those of us who’ve been in combat start to get flashbacks. My VA is calling veterans weekly to check up on them.

People dying right now, and sadly, our federal government has quit governing. In fact, I just found this news piece that the Trump administration is going to cut funding to 13 COVID-18 test sites, right in the middle of this pandemic, because as he has stated quite plainly, if we stop testing there will be fewer cases.

Here is a projection of cases (created by a mathematician who predicted with 97% accuracy the first months of our pandemic) we can expect in July.

So, of course, we must stop testing . . . in order to keep these numbers down.

People are dying and nobody at the top of our government seems to care. The economy is more important than human life. The grand irony is that our economy is going to collapse inevitably and more than 200,000 will have died of this damn bug in less than two months.

So, I’m a bit depressed . . . on edge . . . and staying home, not just to self-quarantine, but to protect idiots out there from being strangled. I really do want to strangle someone. Anyone. Any clown who tells me this is a hoax, and they’re not afraid of no virus. I really want to strangle them.

This will not be presented to you in my usual idiom. I’m just going to give you the picture of what happened in San Francisco alone during the second wave. And by idiom, I mean that I’m not going to reference all the old newspaper articles I’ve mulled over for the past six months. I’m simply going to relate what I’ve ingested.

I’m tired and angry, and I’m very focused, even in my sleep, on the dead and dying human beings, over 90% of whom did not have to die, except for the criminal negligence by our federal inaction and incompetence.

San Francisco

The wave of destruction in America had peaked during the summer and began to subside. Since there had been no flu cases in the area, many San Franciscans felt they’d been spared the virus, and people throughout the city continued on as usual, working, eating out at restaurants, and strolling about the streets.

Toward the end of September, one man fell ill. He’d recently arrived from Chicago, and by the end of the first week of October, San Francisco had 169 cases. Two weeks later, the mayor, “Sunny Jim” Rolph, ordered all schools, dance halls, and movie theaters to close their doors. A mask-wearing ordinance went into effect and the police started handing out fines and citations to those who ignored the law

I love this shot because it’s obviously been set up. Can you see why?

At first, the public seemed to comply, and the first weeks of November the numbers started to drop and just like we did when the numbers started to drop with COVID-19, health officials recommended opening the city back up.

And the numbers went up. Just as they are doing now.

Dr William C. Hassler, the Dr Fauci of San Francisco, urged the public to re-institute the masking ordinance, but wouldn’t you know it, the city officials, more worried about the economy than the influenza, voted it down on December 19th.

The peak death count hit just in time to celebrate the new year.

The dollar sign is exalted above the health sign.

Dr William C. Hassler

Masks were once again required when 600 new cases were reported the second week of January.

Now this is something most people do not report on, mainly because it’s supposition, but the virus that hit San Francisco did not act like the virus that had originally hit the East Coast, nor did it act like the more virulent strain that hit Chicago in September. Whatever that first case that had arrived from Chicago was suffering from, was either quite different from the bug most Chicagoans were suffering, or it had started to mutate in San Francisco. It was much more deadly than anything the rest of the country had seen.

It’s my theory (I’m sure it’s held by others) that there were at least three variants of the Spanish Flu bug. Heck, there have been found over 30 variants already of COVID-19, with one being 700 times more virulent than the weakest.

Viruses mutate. That’s scientific fact.

In the month of January, two things occurred simultaneously.

  1. Science deniers were out in force, and even started up an organization.
  2. People were dying just hours after realizing they were sick.

First things first.

Enter the Anti-Mask League

In mid-January, they held a rally of protesters (unarmed, I’m assuming) questioning if there really was a pandemic, and if there was, was it really as bad as authorities claimed. Two thousand showed up and mingled. Many thought it was all “fake news.” Many felt it was just a normal cold, or just a regular flu season like they’d had in the past. Anecdotal evidence was everywhere.

Do you know someone with it? I don’t know anyone. I’m not sick.

Every Moron at the Rally

Instead of carrying “assault rifles,” (not yet invented) some of them just built a bomb and sent it to Dr Hassler. Luckily it did not explode, but unluckily the San Francisco Chronical came out against the mask ordinance, and by Groundhog Day (if he came out and saw his shadow, there’d be six more weeks of pandemic) the mask ordinance was lifted.

It Was Deadly

This is something you won’t find in most history books. I had to dig up individual stories, journals/diaries, and interviews.

One man reported that a neighbor girl came over and said her mommy was sick and they needed a doctor (not everyone had telephones back then) and he called and got a doctor to come see them. There were six in that family.

By nightfall, they were all dead.

The moment someone felt ill, they had about three to four hours to either beat it, or die.


If you go to history sites, you’ll learn that, in San Francisco alone, 45,000 people fell ill, and more than 3,000 people, out of half a million, died.

Are you lucky, or what!

You’re about to get something that no site or book seems to have.

Everywhere you’ll read the summary I’ve posted above, but I’m a journalist and I don’t stop just because someone’s told me the “numbers.”

For three weeks I went over source materials, added up my own figures, used the census data, and I’ve come up with a radically different number.

The history books, when they don’t have an accurate count, give you the line “more than x amount.” More than 3,000 can be 3 million, and even 3,001 is “more than.”

I’ve got a “more than” number no one else has.

I’ve calculated, that in San Francisco, because of the dizzying amount of empty headed idiots, without sense enough to come in out of the rain, more than 14,000 (around 14,200, but definitely less than 14,800) had died in the city of San Francisco during that second wave.

To paraphrase and modify that old saying, “Those who don’t learn from history, are going to die, or even worse, they are going to kill someone.”

Please. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. And pray for competence at our highest levels. Or this thing will be around next summer and more and more of us will lose someone we love.