Mayor Muriel Bowser reiterated her call for D.C. residents to celebrate the Fourth of July at home. But she did offer up guidance for those hosting events.
“If you are hosting people this weekend, or if you’re going to someone else’s home, even if everyone is outside, you still need to consider how much space people will have to social distance,” said Bowser during a news conference Tuesday.
She recommended not inviting more people than there’s room for, and if someone isn’t feeling well, either don’t attend or cancel any events.
“We all miss our family and friends,” Bowser said. “But in order to protect each other, we need to stay home if we feel sick. One cookout is not worth people getting sick that you care about, and people that they care about getting infected with the virus.”
Bowser also said that if D.C. residents do host an event, “Keep a list of your guests in case it’s needed for contact tracing.”
Still, Bowser noted that she was “very encouraged by how we have blunted the curve in D.C., also in Maryland and Virginia, but we know that we are still reporting new cases. So, we have to continue to be vigilant.”
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Illness concerns for the fall
D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said the District is keeping its eye on how things could look in the fall when the typical flu season rears its head, as well as an expected “second wave” of coronavirus.
“There are a number of things that we are doing. I am communicating with our health care partners, as well as our phased approach that we have outlined,” Nesbitt said.
“Part of why we are being very cautious and, as some would say, very conservative in terms of a phased reopening is to be able to understand what happens as more activity that typically occurs in the fall when more people are now indoors, when we typically have more respiratory viruses circulating in our community, creating a more complex and complicated picture for us to respond to,” she added.
Nesbitt said vaccinations are a crucial component to keeping the community healthy, and the city is working with health care providers.
“A lot of our preparedness efforts not only anticipate what could potentially happen with COVID, but also with influenza and the District,” she said.
Asked if she was concerned about Virginia entering Phase Three, Nesbitt said: “We have talked about … a travel restriction from other communities, understanding how communities who have had those, there are some states who have had them for quite some time, what it takes for implementation and enforcement, if there is a decision to move in that direction, but we have not contemplated that because the activities that we have heretofore have not been attractive for residents from those other states.”
Nats get waiver
The Washington Nationals will get a waiver to practice — but don’t expect to watch.
“I think that we will be approving their waiver today,” Bowser said. “Yes, the Nationals are … we will waive them for training and games; no spectators.”
The waiver follows news that Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross will not play the 2020 MLB season, citing health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement came days before MLB teams were to return to camp to prepare for a truncated 60-game regular season, set to begin either July 23 or 24.
The Nationals are expected to open the season at home against the New York Yankees.
Renaming Woodrow Wilson High School
Bowser said she thinks Woodrow Wilson High School should be renamed.
“I think that it should be changed,” Bowser said. “We know the legacy of President Wilson. I think that it has been appropriately disavowed is particularly impactful here in the District, at the seat of the federal government, his legacy of segregationist policies.”
She said now is the time for a broader community conversation.
“I think there’s an opportunity for us to kind of step back and look at any statues or other historical references, like the naming of a school or rec center, or any other types of things like that in the District, and step back and look at them holistically.”
Bowser said she is tasking a D.C. government group with fact-finding, gathering information and making recommendations to her.
The nationwide Black Lives Matter movement and protests — fueled by the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans — has forced the U.S. to take another look at its painful past and present. It has led to the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and other symbols of racism.
DC police funding
Bowser said Tuesday that she does not agree with decreasing the amount of money that goes to D.C. police after a proposed budget decrease of $15 million.
“We think decreasing the police force in this rushed way will have a negative impact on public safety,” Bowser said.
“I’m not in favor of decreasing the police department with no consideration on how calls for service are going to be handled. So, unless they’re also prepared to tell residents to stop calling 911, I’m not sure who’s going to respond to those calls.”
DC coronavirus numbers
D.C. reported 35 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, which brings the total to 10,327.
No new deaths were reported. The District’s death toll from COVID-19 is 551.
Track the District’s coronavirus data online.
Below are maps of coronavirus cases by ward, neighborhood and community spread.