Washington DC History Resources

Matthew B. Gilmore

October 7, 1918

The day’s Evening Star

and Washington Herald

and Washington Times

Today the House and Senate closed their public galleries due to the epidemic.

The city’s death toll declined–only 9 were reported.

“Under the regulations of the Commissioners making the reporting of influenza mandatory, a total of 1,201 cases has been listed with the health department.
A total of 663 cases has been reported since yesterday.”

Soda fountains came under heavy criticism for spreading influenza:

“I have completed a survey of the city of Washington’s soda fountains
and public drinking places.” said Dr. Mustard, “and am convinced that these places using over and c”er each day and night drinking glasses that have not been sterilized arc the
most serious menace to the public health, and one through which the contagion has been spread and will further spread. I will insist with Health Officer Fowler that all such  places sterilize their glasses or put in individual paper cups or containers. For the present I would warn the public against patronizing any soda fountains.”

  • The general public on street car lines is not co-operating in keeping windows open…
  • Georgetown University is under a quasi quarantine, day students not allowed on campus, cadets not allowed off…
  • Dr. Fowler encouraged relatives of sick wars workers to stay home, to avoid getting sick themselves….
  • Streetcar and telephone service “crippled”….
  • Five inspectors of the health department are down with the influenza, besides two nurses of the department’s dispensary and four clerks in the main office.
  • Dr. Thomas Miller, residing in Georgia avenue, a member of the clinic staff of the District health department, died from the influenza last night. This is the second
    death from the disease among the health office staff.



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