Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said the District is still experiencing “moderate community transmission” of COVID-19 cases, despite the fact that DC has flattened the curve.
Bowser said in her Thursday, June 25 situational update that the District reported 31 new coronavirus cases for Wednesday, June 24. The cases are not connected, bringing the District to 10,159 total cases. As of Wednesday, COVID-19 deaths total 543 residents.
Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said coronavirus cases in the District must be clustered or sporadic in order for DC to enter Phase 3. The current unconnected cases suggest the virus is still circulating, Nesbitt said.
Her comments come as “thresholds needed to reach Phase 3” appeared on the District’s coronavirus ‘reopening tracker’, online at coronavirus.dc.gov/page/coronavirus-data.
Nesbitt said there is currently no projected date for entering Phase 3. She said the gradualness of the District’s reopening and its decision to keep bars closed has prevented a resurgence in cases. Residents should continue to wear masks, sanitize their hands and avoid high-risk activities, she said.
Bowser weighed in on high-contact places and events, noting the possibility of large Fourth of July events. “Just because something is open doesnt mean I have to go,” she said.
Black Lives Matter Protests
Bowser said H Street will open “imminently” for vehicle traffic. Police closed the street Monday afternoon after protesters attempted to take down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square. Bowser said officials do not currently have a plan for 16th Street.
Bowser criticized protesters’ attempts to topple statues across the District. She said she wants to pursue discussions rather than immediate removal. Park police requested the National Guard protect monuments and statues, including an protest that called for the removal of Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park on Tuesday, June 23 and a follow-up rally on Friday, June 26.
“We need to maintain safety and order around the statues, but I think we need to have a larger conversation about it,” Bowser said.
Fourth of July
In response to the White House’s plans to host a Fourth of July ceremony, Bowser urged DC residents to stay home. She said that while she will “continue to support those activities,” she said she hopes typical crowds don’t come to DC.
She added that DC Health will provide guidelines for safe gatherings. Learn more about current guidelines for Phase 2 gatherings here.
Eva Herscowitz is a journalism student at Northwestern University currently interning with the Hill Rag. She writes for Northwestern’s student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern. You can reach her at [email protected]western.edu