Snapshot of An Earlier Pandemic

Excerpts from the book, City of San Diego and San Diego County: The Birthplace of California, by Clarence Alan McGrew, published in 1922.

“With other cities of the nation San Diego paid heavy toll in the influenza epidemics, the malignancy of that disease coming close to San Diegans in the fall of 1918, when quarantine regulations were enforced here in an effort to curb the spread of the trouble. One quarantine was in force from October 14 to November 9, during which period the churches, schools and theatres of the city were kept closed. Masks of gauze were prescribed December 6 of that year, and stores were kept closed from December 6 to December 9 in an effort to prevent crowds from gathering in any place, the doctors having concluded that in this way some good would be accomplished. From December 10 to December 24 more liberal quarantine regulations were in force.

“The schools, closed because of the influenza epidemic, were reopened again January 6, 1919.”

“In this period [in National City] a hospital was operated [by the local Red Cross branch] in several buildings on the high school grounds, and the local doctors, already rushed by private cares, rendered praiseworthy service. Once a month for twenty-seven months an automobile loaded to the top with such things as men in a hospital enjoy was sent to Camp Kearny.”


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2 thoughts on “Snapshot of An Earlier Pandemic

  1. Hi Vince: very interesting! So the Fall uptick and Winter uptick was a reality here in San Diego. Today, with Covid, this has been a concern for the CDC and why some schools are starting in August in case of early closure. hmmm. I wonder if having so many military at Camp Kearny was an issue to.

    Good call on this extraction of information– I will pass along this weekend.
    Hello to Peggy.


    • Thanks for the feedback. Worth remembering also that the city had grown tremendously over the previous decades. The city’s population, according to census figures, jumped from 17,700 in 1900 to 39,578 in 1910, and would reach 74,361 in 1920, two years after the pandemic.

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