Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

What was life like in Minnesota during the flu pandemic of 1918?


January 31, 2022


People - many of them wearing masks - attend a relief event at the Duluth Armory in 1918, following the northern Minnesota wildfires.

Entering the third year of a deadly pandemic may have some Minnesotans wondering how things could possibly be worse. The final months of 1918 provide a sobering answer.

An influenza pandemic began ravaging the state in the fall of that year - ultimately killing more than 10,000 Minnesotans. Meanwhile, young men were being sent off to a bloody world war overseas and wildfires were destroying entire cities in northern Minnesota.

Reader Sarah Rasmussen moved into a 1917 Minneapolis home just before COVID-19 and realized they were not the first family to endure a pandemic within its walls. She wondered what life was like for those people a century ago.

"They may not have set up a small gym in the basement, but maybe they saw friends in the backyard," Rasmussen wrote in an e-mail.


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