Many young people think Michiganders never did this before...well, guess again. Michigan residents did indeed wear masks before – over 100 years ago, during a flu pandemic.

The time was 1918/1920 when the Spanish flu broke throughout the United States. But did people resist wearing masks way back then? They sure did.

The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic ended up killing over 675,000 Americans. Keep in mind, there were no vaccines, and no drug remedies (except for a few fake ones where quacks did their best to milk unsuspecting people out of a few bucks).

How many people from Michigan died from the 1918 pandemic? Over 14,500 – most of them between the ages of 20-25.

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With an ever-increasing outcry and refusal to wear masks, the Red Cross began urging people to make their own masks out of gauze and cotton string, and to wear them or face the consequences.

What consequences? Other than death, jail time. That's right, jail time. An official stated, people “must be forced to do the things that are for their best interests”. The Red Cross also made the statement “the man or woman or child who will not wear a mask now is a dangerous slacker.”

Ordinances throughout the country were imposed, which included limited jail time and fines up to $200 for not wearing a mask.

The worldwide death estimates were somewhere between 17-100 million and the number of cases that were accounted for were over 500 million.

The 1918 flu pandemic lasted from February 1918 to April 1920, taking with it a big chunk of Michiganders. Let's hope this current one doesn't last that long. Take a peek at some photos below for a look back at the 1918 pandemic...



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