State officials reported the presence of influenza in Tulsa and Clinton on September 26th. The disease had undoubtedly been prevalent in the state before that date. By October 4th, 1,249 cases had been reported in 24 counties. By mid-October, the situation had become so overwhelming that state officials were forced to resort to generalities, saying simply "many cases are reported from all parts of the State." On October 26th, the situation was reported as "bad in the eastern half of the state but fairly good in the western half." Reports were still "very incomplete" although officials did note that conditions were improving in Oklahoma City. Cases were reported as follows: "Adair County, 700; Pontotoc County, 1,000; Grady County, 150; Garfield County, 600 and Texas County, 15 - total, 2,456." As authorities found it difficult to keep accurate records, the real number of cases was probably much higher.
|In Tulsa, Oklahoma public gatherings and transportation would have been restricted during the epidemic. [Credit: The Library of Congress]|
By early November, state officials believed that the situation was improving. They did, however, note that while the number of cases had lessened in cities the situation remained very bad in rural districts.
In Enid, Dr. David Harris found himself confronted by an overwhelming number of cases. He was forced to eat on the run and a patient later remembered him chewing on a snatched drumstick, trailing both across the bed, while taking a pulse with his free hand. In Tulsa, the Red Cross opened an emergency hospital. Two hundred Tulsans were ultimately admitted to the hospital. At least twenty people died there.
|This domestic Science class in Horace Mann School Tulsa, Oklahoma would have been cancelled. March 1917. [Credit: The Library of Congress]|
In Oklahoma City, a national meeting scheduled by the Food Administration of the United States was cancelled as there were three hundred cases in the city. Officials feared that meeting would not only be impossible but would also spread the disease.
The pandemic peaked in the fall. Cases gradually declined during the winter and spring. By the summer, influenza had disappear