News Story

Headlines From An Earlier Outbreak: 1968 Hong Kong Flu

Pandemic 52 years ago killed 100,000 in US

In 1968, the United States was hit by what became known as the “Hong Kong Flu.” It was a pandemic that originated in China in July 1968 and lasted until 1970.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the number of deaths caused by the Hong Kong Flu at one million worldwide, including 100,000 in the United States.

By December 1968, the Hong Kong Flu had reached the U.S., including Michigan, according to newspaper reports.

Newspapers reported that Denver had 100,000 cases of the Hong Kong Flu in December 1968.

Here’s a glance at the coverage by newspapers locally and nationwide on the first 42 days of the Hong Kong Flu in the U.S., 52 years ago.

Boston Globe, Nov. 19, 1968

Headline: “Hong Kong Flu May Be Here”

The Daily Sentinel (Colorado), Nov. 20, 1968

Headline: Hong Kong Flu Cases Mild But Worst Is Yet To Come

Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 27, 1968

Headline: “Hong Kong Flu Feels Like Any Other Kind”

Battle Creek Enquirer, Dec. 6, 1968

Headline: “Hong Kong Flu Hard To Fight”

Messenger-Inquirer (Kentucky), Dec. 7, 1968

Headline: “Hong Kong Flu Has Spread To 13 States”

Indianapolis Star, Dec. 7, 1968

Headline: “100% Effective Vaccine Lacking As Hong Kong Flu Spreads”

Battle Creek Enquirer, Dec. 11, 1968

Headline: “‘Don’t Panic’ With The Flu”

The Boston Globe, Dec. 13, 1968

Headline: “Hong Kong Flu Just A Sissy; Colds Pack A Bigger Wallop”

Lansing State Journal, Dec. 13, 1968

Headline: “Schools, Business Conquered By Flu”

Minneapolis Star, Dec. 13, 1968

Headline: “Hong Kong Flu Is Different, But No Worse Than Other Varieties”

The Kansas City Times, Dec. 13, 1968

Headline: “Hospitals Act On Flu Threat … Sixteen Facilities Limit Visiting Because Of Influenza Outbreak”

The Greenville (South Carolina) News, Dec. 13, 1968

Headline: “Hong Kong Flu ... Deaths On Rise; Epidemic Spreads”

The Austin (Texas) American, Dec. 13, 1968

Headline: “Beginning Of National Epidemic … Respiratory Deaths Mount As Hong Kong Flu Spreads”

The Port Huron Times Herald, Dec. 14, 1968

Headline: “Some Hong Kong Flu ‘Probably’ In Area”

The Ludington News, Dec. 16, 1968

Headline: “Absenteeism Soars As Hong Kong Flu Spreads”

The Sacramento Bee, Dec. 30, 1968

Headline: “Stop Killing Yourself … Some Practical Facts Ease Worst Of Fear About Hong Kong Flu”


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.