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Note: We’ll be pushing the publishing of our daily news roundup for as long as the mayor has 11 a.m. COVID-19 press conferences.


During a press conference on Friday, the D.C. government estimated that over 93,600 people will become infected with the coronavirus disease over the course of the pandemic. That amounts to about 1 in 7 D.C. residents. This is a cumulative number that runs through the end of the year. The estimate is of overall COVID-19 cases, not just those confirmed through testing.

Everyone will not be infected at the same time because people will recover. In fact, most are expected to recover. But the D.C. government estimates that anywhere between 220 and 1,000 people will die due to COVID-19.  

“We pray it’s wrong,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “What is important to remember is that the models just help us plan for the future but we are constantly assessing what is actually happening.”   

The mayor admitted these numbers are hard to report, but her team would rather underestimate the impact of social distancing than present “too rosy a picture.” The model D.C. is using to make its projections is University of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model for Epidemics or the CHIME model. Many readers may be familiar with the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, or IHME model, that estimates a peak in mid-April. But the D.C. government decided against using the IHME model.   

“Our concern is that this model may overestimate the impact of social distancing thus underestimating infections,” says Bowser of the IHME model. 

DC Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbittstressed that no model is perfect and that D.C.’s model overestimates contact between individuals. Bowser says the key difference between the CHIME and IHME models is the projection for resources needed. The CHIME model was first offered to administrators at University of Pennsylvania hospitals, according to STAT. “The intention is to see what the capacity requirements for hospitalization, intensive care, and ventilators might be,” a Penn data scientist told the news organization. 

The CHIME model has D.C. reaching its peak hospitalizations somewhere between late June and early July. During this surge period, D.C. will need nearly 3,000 acute beds and 2,800 ICU beds. But D.C. is not there yet. In fact, the city needs to increase its surge capacity by 125 percent. As of April 2, D.C. has identified three-quarters of that additional bed capacity. At the presser, the mayor and her team identified various ways they hope to meet the demand, including looking at 39 non-hospital facilities and looking within and around hospitals for space.  

D.C. also needs equipment in addition to beds. District leaders asked the Trump administration for 10,000 testing kits and 20 ventilators but received zero despite great need. According to documents released Thursday by the House Oversight Committee, D.C., along with our neighbors Maryland and Virginia, received a fraction of the personal protective equipment and medical supplies it requested. D.C. also received zero coveralls, hand sanitizer, and safety goggles. The city received 5,520 N95 respirators, not even 1 percent of what it requested from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

D.C. is meeting its surge demand for supplies and equipment by depending on private manufacturers and local businesses in addition to its national partners. In fact, the Ivy City distillery Republic Restoratives is making hand sanitizer that the city is depending on for its inflow. 

The best thing individuals can do now is stay home so as to not overwhelm the health care system. When asked if she was going to mandate that everyone wear a mask, as the federal government advised on Thursday, Bowser says her team is evaluating guidance but asks everyone to stay at home as much as possible.  

The numbers announced on Friday are frankly scary and show residents being impacted through the summer. The mayor promises she’ll keep people informed about what’s going on. The good news, the mayor says, is D.C. has more time to get ready, which means it shouldn’t be hit as badly as other cities like New York City. D.C. officials are still monitoring what restrictions need to be in place and for how long. Life will eventually go back to normal, but not all at once. Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips?

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • There are now 15 deaths related to COVID-19, five of which died in the community and not in a hospital. The three deaths announced Friday include a 65-year-old male, 77-year-old male, 89-year-old male—all of whom died in the community. With 104 new positive cases, the District’s total number of reported patients with COVID-19 is 757.  [EOM]   

  • The family of a veteran nurse at Howard University says he died due to COVID-19. This would mean Noel Sinkiat is the first health worker in D.C. to die in the fight against the global pandemic. [Post]

  • Get oral birth control via a Planned Parenthood mobile application. [Washingtonian

  • Street Sense published its first digital-only paper. [Twitter]

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips?

  • Here is some legislation you can expect to see during the D.C. Council’s first virtual meeting next Tuesday. [D.C. Council]

  • Halfway house residents in D.C. filed a lawsuit over conditions at Hope Village. [WAMU]

  • Trump declared a “major disaster” in Virginia, unlocking federal funds to help fight COVID-19. Trump already declared disasters in D.C. and Maryland. [Pilot]

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam are on the Politics Hour this afternoon. [Kojo]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips?

  • ICYMI: Five restaurant and bar owners share what they need to survive and what the city loses if they don’t. [WCP]

  • Critic Tom Sietsema continues his tour of reviewing take-out food. [Post]

  • CSAs from local farms are becoming more popular during COVID-19. [DCist]

  • A deep dive into how the delivery food business is meshing with the COVID-19 crisis. [New Yorker]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall(tips?

  • The City Paper Arts Club searches for peace with the help of local author Maggie Paxson and her book The Plateau. [WCP]

  • Don’t You Know I Love You is an electric debut novel. [WCP]

  • Here’s how to have virtual fun this weekend. [DCist]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips?

  • More than 1,000 concession employees at Nats Park are out of work, and the union representing them is imploring the Nationals and the Lerner family to help. [WCP]

  • Scenes from a quiet day in D.C. on what would’ve been the Nats’ home opener. [Post]

  • A year ago yesterday, the Wizards finally did what fans had been demanding for years: They fired team president Ernie Grunfeld. [Bullets Forever]

  • Will Brinson’s latest NFL mock draft has the local NFL team taking quarterback Tua Tagovailoawith the second overall pick. [CBS Sports]

  • The WNBA will postpone its training camps and May 15 tipoff. [ESPN]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips?

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