Washington DC History Resources

Matthew B. Gilmore

October 10, 1918

Read the October 10 Evening Star

Fatalities hit another record at 57, surpassing the previous 39.

Influenza has taken its heaviest death toll in the District during the last twenty-four hours, fifty-seven fatalities having been reported up to noon today. For the previous twenty-four hour period deaths totaled thirty-nine, the record up to that time.

Landlords seem reluctant to turn on the heat. “Drastic Measures Planned to Compel D. C. Landlords to Heat Apartment Houses” –“One thing is certain; the ire of the Commissioners never has been more aroused than by the reports coming in of the endangering of the lives of thousands of District residents through the “murderous” parsimony of certain landlords, as their action has been referred to at the District building.

Medical services are overwhelmed–there are simply not enough doctors and pharmacists; the shortage of nurses is even more critical. “Only more desperate cases of war workers suffering from influenza or pneumonia are to be cared for at the
temporary hospital just opened at 612 F street, through the co-operation of the Red Cross and the public health service, and in charge of Dr. Ernest A. Sweet of the latter organization.”

The cold affects the streetcar riders–who insist on closing the windows against the Commissioners order, and they weren’t taking it lightly!

“May Remove All Windows From District Street Cars to Enforce Health Order”
Failure of the general public traveling on the lines of the street cars of the city to co-operate with the management of the lines in their effort to obey the order of the Commissioners to keep all windows of street cars open while operated will in all probability result in the removal of all windows from the closed cars and the operation of summer cars as a means of preventing the spread of the contagion.


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