Washington DC History Resources

Matthew B. Gilmore

October 20, 1918

Evening Star – October 20: click https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1918-10-20/ed-1/

The daily death toll has declined to 66.

Mr. Brownlow’s Condition.
Commissioner Louis Brownlow, who was taken ill with the influenza Friday noon, was resting comfortably early last night, but had some fever, indicating that he is suffering from the disease in a mild form.

The fact that the majority of the new cases being treated at the United States Public Health Service emergency hospital at 18th street and Virginia avenue are said to be of a
much “milder type than cases treated a week ago, indicating that the virulence of the contagion, has passed, also encouraged the Commissioner [Brownlow].


Health Officer States Most Effective Method of Driving Out Germs
When he was asked as to the best method of disinfection and fumigation for quarters which had been occupied by persons suffering from the influenza, Health Officer W. C. Fowler said last night that he would recommend that the bed clothing be washed, the  room carefully wiped up with soap and warm water, the washboards of the room wiped off, the windows opened and the room given a thorough airing and all the sunlight possible for a day. He thought that all danger from contagion would thus be eliminated.

  • The D.C. National Guard has suspended its drills due to the influenza outbreak.
  • There is still an urgent need for automobiles to transport doctors and nurses
  • Numerous people are now wearing muslin masks to avoid influenza — including workers at the experimental station who have been ordered to wear the masks
  • The Chamber of Commerce began planning distribution of free medicine to needy influenza victims

A new ride-share program for war workers is announced:


The plan is to take 25.000 war workers a day out of the street car jam and to send them to and from work in privately owned automobiles that are to pick up the women and men, especially women, in the street and carry them toward their offices. The crowding and
danger in the street cars will be correspondingly reduced. Every automobile that takes up the work will -be cutting down the casualty list. 

Every automobile owner in the District of Columbia is asked to put his car into service. On the windshield he will carry a card, furnished by the police, garages and public offices announcing his participation in the battle on the plague, and will also announce the point between which he will carry workers. The cars are to pick up their passengers along the streets morning and night. They can be recognized by their signs and
hailed by war workers as they pass.

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