Johnny Smith, associate professor in the School of History and Sociology was interviewed about his book War Fever: Boston, Baseball, and America in the Shadow of the Great War (Basic, 2020) for “A Pandemic amid a World War: When Over There Came Over Here. World Magazine, July 16, 2020.
You mention the parade on Sept. 3 through Boston, when officials didn’t know how bad it was. I’m astounded that on Sept. 28 Philadelphia officials refused to cancel a parade of 200,000 people—and a lot of them died the next week. In general, how did officials at that time react, compared to now? One of the major failures of the Woodrow Wilson administration was not communicating with people, being transparent. They were well aware that this epidemic was developing, but President Wilson said nothing. The surgeon general basically said this is an ordinary flu, no reason to be alarmed. But in fall 2018 many football games were canceled. The war had forced Major League Baseball to finish the regular season by Labor Day and complete the World Series by Sept. 15. If the World Series had been in October in Boston like it normally would have been, they would have had to cancel it, because the city was under a closure order.