Washington DC History Resources

Matthew B. Gilmore

October 13, 1918

Evening Star October 13, 1918

The daily death toll slows a bit: just 65.

“…at least a small decrease in the fatality list as reported by the vital statistics office last night. For the period from 9 o’clock Friday night up to the
same hour last night, twenty-four hours, the number of deaths reported was sixty-five…”

Prompt Medical Attention.
Dr. Fowler expects that all cases from now on will receive prompt medical attention. When the stations of the four emergency units located at Webster, Curtis, Van Ness and Wilson Normal schools were called up late last night, the statement was made by the public health surgeons In charge that the large number of calls for the services of physicians and nurses for the treatment of influenza in all parts of the city were being met promptly.

In addition to all the currently closed facilities and public gathering places like schools and churches, the Commissioners are considering closing public auctions and pool halls.

The official line is an ambiguous mix of optimism and doubt:

The epidemic of Spanish influenza has not yet reached its crest in Washington, in the opinion of Dr. William C. Fowler, health officer of the District of Columbia. With fair weather, he predicts, the worst would soon be over; a spell of chill and gloom over several days, on the contrary, would prolong the visitation and increase the number of
new cases and of deaths. 
Influenza was beginning to hit more famous or well-connected Washington residents–Japanese attache Sieji Tanakawa, Dr. Thomas Kramer and newspaperman George A.
Mosshart were all reported dead in the October 13 Star.


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