7 Stupid Reactions to 1918 Flu Mask Laws

Pessimists Archive
2 min readSep 4, 2020

by @louisanslow

Nov 22, 1918: SF residents gathered around a clock tower to count down the seconds to flu mask laws ending like it was New Years Eve. Kids heckled those who didn’t remove masks. Then a second wave hit and the mask rules were reinstated. Podcast on topic: http://link.chtbl.com/pa-masks

Nov 16, 1918: Man refusing to wear mask proclaims “I would rather spend the rest of my life in jail than wear one” He lasted 2 days. SHARE

Nov 24, 1918: Man gets razor blade out when asked to wear mask, health officer shoots him in leg... SHARE

Nov 21, 1918: Health officer who ordered mask law in SF caught not wearing mask — blamed it on taking puff of cigar. Pays fine. SHARE

Oct 28, 1918: 110 arrested for not wearing flu mask. SHARE

Dec 18, 1918: Anti-mask protestors storm council meeting to demand mask laws be repealed. SHARE

Nov 8, 1918: Mask proponent roasted in council chamber: “Instead of swatting the “flu,” the special committee swatted Dr. Hutchinson.” “President Farmer of the Council leaned back… …and remarked, “All this talk about making the wearing of masks compulsory sounds to me like bunk.” SHARE

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