The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.
Jan. 14, 1919
MASKS USED TO CONTROL INFLUENZA IN COAST CITIES
Now that Portland, San Francisco and Seattle have ordered the wearing of flu masks in efforts to banish the epidemic and followed the successful example by Medford in reducing the flu here from an epidemic stage to a minimum, Mayor Gates and the city councilmen are receiving congratulations, even from some citizens who were strongly opposed to the masks. Even Portland is coming in with congratulations. Last week Mayor Gates wrote the Portland chamber of commerce criticizing the authorities of the state metropolis for not handling the epidemic situation properly and especially for not adopting the compulsory wearing of masks. In reply Executive Secretary Dodson of the chamber has written Mayor Gates as follows:
“In re yours of the 7th of January, wish to compliment you most heartily upon the good results you attained in handling the flu situation.
“I appreciate very much receiving your letter, as from the tone of your wire I thought you were harshly critical. I want to assure you that the spirit of cooperation manifested in your letter today will call from us at any time, our very highest effort.
“Our most vigorous efforts at closing, following divided medical counsel as to procedure, produced no appreciable decrease; all public places were closed, street car windows forced open, stores ordered to close early in the afternoon and threatened with entire closing. All gatherings of any size were suspended. Some industrial plants laid off, and other things were done that practically paralyzed the business of the city for some time, and yet, despite this, there seemed to be no appreciable reduction in the number of cases. However, soon after resuming normal business and making an effort to quarantine afflicted people, there did seem to be an appreciable reduction. For these reasons, and for the fact that Portland had a vastly smaller number of cases than other cities of the same size, we felt that we were probably doing was well with the situation as any other community similarly situated.
“There would be no purpose, and I see you did not intend to convey such an impression, to put business before life and we join with you most heartily in any effort to protect communities. I put you request before the board of directors and will do so again and see if something can’t be done along still better lines than have yet been attained.”
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