Primary Resource

"The Influenza Spreads Fast." (October 18, 1918)

In "The Influenza Spreads Fast," published by the Clinch Valley News on October 18, 1918, the editors note the impact the influenza pandemic of 1918–1919 is having locally on coal production and railroad traffic. The Mayor of Tazewell maintains that the closure of schools and churches must stay in place to avoid the high death toll from the virus that other nearby communities are experiencing.

Transcription from Original

Coal Production and Traffic Seriously Hindered by Epidemic

Scarcity of Physicians and Nurses Alarming.

The influenza epidemic seems to be abating slowly in the camps, but is spreading in the towns and in the country districts. The number of new cases reported up to the 16th is smaller than for the week before, with, however, an increase in the number of deaths from pneumonia.

Coal Production and Railroad Traffic Seriously Hindered.

A report sent out on Monday morning by the Fuel Administrator states that the output of coal the preceeding week, was reduced, on account of the epidemic among the miners. The scarcity of physicians and nurses has caused panic among the people. The report from the coalfields at Norton, Birmingham, Knoxville, Hazard, Ky., Charleston and the great Pennsylvania fields, report reductions, ranging from 15 percent to 50 percent of the regular out put. Consequently and necessarily, the railroads are seriously hampered in the movement of cars.

In Tazewell and Surrounding Counties

The epidemic has been, so far, in a mild form in this county generally, few deaths have been reported.

This does not mean that the condition is not more or less serious. Every precaution should be taken. Russell, Pulaski and other nearby counties have suffered severily. All public meeting places have been closed.

In this immediate vicinity there are at this writing, Wednesday, no serious sickness.

Closing Order Continued.

At the meeting of the local board of Health this morning it was decided that the influenza situation is too serious to permit any chances being taken with the spread of the disease here. The order heretofore published, closing the schools, churches, etc. is therefore continued until further notice, and will remain in effect until such time as the Board deems it safe to open.

Our town has been very fortunate so far in the small number of cases we have had. By proper precautions we may escape the death toll that has been taken in so many communities. To this end parents are again urged to keep their children off the streets and away from crowds, and all people are asked to avoid congregating in the stores, post office, on the streets, and elsewhere. Strict observance of these precautions may save a good many lives.

A.C. Buchanan, Mayor.

October 17, 1918.