D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the District has been very methodical in how it’s approaching its reopening, and that it will continue to do so.
“None of us would do ourselves any favors if we have given up seven, eight weeks of our lives just to be back here in November shut down,” Bowser told WTOP’s Shawn Anderson Tuesday evening.
Bowser said Washingtonians have told her that they appreciate that the city is following science and facts.
“We have to be smart; we have to follow the science. We have to get ready to reopen,” she said.
However, she cautioned that reopening would not be like turning on a light switch, and everyone should be thinking about what it’s going to take to “make ourselves safe and back at work.”
Bowser expressed that her counterparts in Maryland and Virginia share her take on reopening.
“I was very happy to see the governor of Virginia ensure that the Northern Virginia counties that surround the District would be able to maintain a stay-at-home posture if those officials elect to do so,” Bowser said.
Current D.C. modeling indicates that coronavirus infections will crescendo in May, followed by a peak in hospitalizations by about two weeks, Bowser said.
To prepare for the surge, D.C. has been adding hospital beds, and opened almost 450 beds at the Washington Convention Center to handle any surge, which Bowser called “our insurance policy.”
As the city reopens, Bowser said more testing will be needed, especially in a situation where there is no treatment, no cure and no vaccine.
“So what we know is when people stop social distancing and start mixing more, then more people will get infected,” she said.
There is going to be a need for regular testing in the community that people are comfortable with, so they will also be comfortable going back to work, she said.
Another need will be contact tracing, for which the District put out a call that was met with overwhelming response, Bowser said.
“We already hired the managers who are training, and we’ll be hiring from the applicants over the next two weeks. We feel very good about that. We are going to have an aggressive program because that’s what it takes,” she said.
And on the announcement that MLB would resume play without fans in July, Bowser, who is a Washington Nationals fan, said although it would be sad for fans not to be able to go to a game, it would still be nice to be able to watch baseball on TV.
“We all want to get open, trust me. We want our economy back; we want our kids back in school. We want access to all of the great things in Washington, D.C., that has made us a cultural and entertainment and sports capital,” Bowser said.
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Coronavirus test results in DC
There have been 6,485 positive coronavirus test results in D.C. as of Tuesday; 435 people have been hospitalized*, 886 have recovered and total of 31,050 tests have been administered.
*D.C. began reporting hospitalizations May 11