Washington DC History Resources

Matthew B. Gilmore

October 22, 1918

Today’s Evening Star: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1918-10-22/ed-1/

Today’s death toll broke the string of declines and rose back up to 71.

While the official report of the health office indicates an increase of ten fatalities from influenza for the twenty-four-hour period ending at noon today, the deaths numbering
seventy-one as compared with sixty one for the preceding twenty-four hour period,

The Star reports that the first day of the rideshare program has had some success:

Many war workers occupied seats in automobiles this morning- for the first time since they came to the capital to get busy for Uncle Sam. This is the result of the scheme concocted by the government emergency committee whereby motor car owners and drivers take aboard men and women and put them down somewhere near’ their destinations, thereby relieving: traffic congestion, Improving Washington’s war machinery and, last but not least incidentally helping: to check the influenza.

The rideshare program was the brainchild of the emergency committee, chaired by Edwin B. Parker. All involved hastened to add that the program was voluntary, but that they counted on the goodwill of Washingtonians.


Edwin B. Parker of the War Industries Board (LOC)


Curiously the Star just now published an editorial on “How to beat the flu”–urging people to be cautious despite the lessening risk.

How to Beat the Flu.
Merely because there is a decrease in the number of new influenza cases, do not relax in the least the individual precautions against infection. It is even more necessary now to be careful, for if the outbreak is to be defeated it is through concerted public endeavor and the time to beat it is when it is waning. If your occupation is such as to bring you into close daily contact with numbers of people, wear the gauze mask that the public
health service provides or one of your own manufacture. Avoid crowds as much as possible. Walk rather than ride on the cars, if your distances and time permit. Keep in good health generally by avoiding “upsetting” foods. Attend promptly to every “cold.” Do not dose yourself with every nostrum that is recommended by friends, supposedly preventive of disease and calculated to upset your digestion and reduce your resistance.
Put aside all fear and remain calm.

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