The pandemic spread throughout the world in 3 waves: The first wave in the spring of 1918, followed by the second in the fall of 1918. The third wave occured on the heels of the second, in the winter of 1918/19.
It could not have happened at a worse time. Thousands of physicians and nurses were in Europe because of the war. Those left behind worked long, exhausting hours, and many died from influenza.
The influenza pandemic killed more people than died in World War I. It was and remains the deadliest epidemic in history, killing 50 to 100 million throughout the world.
After the U.S. entered the war in 1917, the country became consumed by patriotism. Interest in supporting the troops and winning the war eclipsed all else. Ironically, influenza spread quickly among military recruits, both in training camps and on board troop ships.
In my YA historical novel Pandemic!, the main character is caught up in both of these life-changing events. Set in Denver in the fall and winter of 1918/19, the book describes the devastating effects of both influenza and the war on one group of people, a story played out in countless cities across the nation.