Learning From History: Timelines of COVID and the 1918 Pandemic

Although the experiences of the past year has been new for most of the population, this is not the first time that America or the world has faced the trauma and terror of a quickly spreading virus. What can we learn from examining the progress of previous examples like the 1918 Pandemic commonly known as the “Spanish Flu”? Explore the timelines below to look at the side by side comparisons of major moments in events spread almost exactly a century apart.


If you encounter an error with the embedded timeline above, or if it fails to load, you may view the 1918 Pandemic timeline here.


If you encounter an error with the embedded timeline above, or if it fails to load, you may view the COVID-19 timeline here.


FSU Libraries is collecting personal stories from the past year. How did you first learn about the pandemic? What moments will you remember most vividly a decade from now? Help us catalog this period and record its impact on the FSU community by sharing your story with us.

Responses may be used as part of an ongoing project, and you may choose to make your submission anonymously. You can record video, share photos, or simply write your story in the form below.

Submit your experiences here.

If you have any questions, please send them to fsulearningdistrict@gmail.com.


1918 Timeline:

  1. First Cases Reported in Deadly Influenza Epidemic  
  2. Influenza Across America in 1918 | American Experience 
  3. Philadelphia Threw a WWI Parade That Gave Thousands of Onlookers the Flu
  4. 1918 Historical Image Gallery | Pandemic Influenza (Flu) 
  5. Spanish Flu 1918-1919 
  6. Thirtieth Annual Report of the State Board of Health 
  7. New Mexico in a Time of Influenza | School for Advanced Research 
  8. Flu Masks Failed In 1918, But We Need Them Now 
  9. Outbreak: Pandemic Strikes 
  10. 1918 Pandemic Influenza Historic Timeline | Pandemic Influenza (Flu)
  11. Answer: The Future Through the Past – Using archival news to see what’s next in COVID 
  12. Arne Thompson | Pandemic Influenza Storybook 
  13. Clifton and Nellie Taliaferro | Pandemic Influenza Storybook 
  14. 94 year old William Sardo, Jr. survived the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918.  He remembers the time he 
  15. 1918 influenza pandemic survivor interview: Mrs. Edna Boone, interviewed 2008 

COVID-19 Timeline:

  1. Coronavirus in the US: First Death Reported in Washington State 
  2. WHO declares the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic – STAT 
  3. FSU to deliver classes remotely for remainder of 2020 spring semester 
  4. Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare confirms first COVID-19 case, death in Leon County after out-of-state patient dies 
  5. State of California Executive Order N-33-20  
  6. California Gov. Issues Stay at Home Order 
  7. 106 year old reflects on coronavirus, past pandemics and toilet paper shortages | Extended Interview 
  8. 109-year-old North Texas woman remembers surviving 1918 pandemic 
  9. Coronavirus deaths in the US reach 100,000 
  10. What We’re Reading: Pharma Companies Fund Antibiotic Start-Ups; COVID-19 Can Be Airborne; WHO Launches Pandemic Review 
  11. COVID-19 now No. 3 cause of death in US 
  12. Researchers find first US case of COVID-19 reinfection 
  13. Academically Distanced: Finley & Lilly 
  14. AJMC | A Timeline of COVID-19 Developments in 2020 
  15. Evicted And Living In Their Car During A Pandemic 

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