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


When Erin Gemmell, a freshman at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, first heard the Tokyo Olympics would be postponed until 2021, she felt a bit of a relief. For over a week, the 15-year-old Olympic hopeful hasn’t been able to get in the pool. Instead, she’s been staying fit by running, doing dryland exercises, and playing Just Dance on her Nintendo Wii.

“The past couple of days, before we knew what was going to happen, I kind of felt bad that I’m missing out on swimming,” she tells City Paper. “But I can do the same amount now and feel better about what I’m doing.”

But the hard part lies ahead, and a lot of questions remain unanswered. After weeks of insisting the Games would go on as scheduled from July 22 to Aug. 9 this summer despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, the International Olympic Committee finally reversed course on Tuesday morning after mounting pressure from athletes to postpone the Games. Team Canada had vowed it would not send any athletes to the 2020 Olympics.

Now, competition organizers must figure out when to reschedule the qualifying tournaments and athletes will need to adjust their rigid schedules moving forward. Training for the Olympics is extremely difficult and requires lots of planning. The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic makes the task even more challenging.

“I think it’s just hard to keep up,” Gemmell says. “You think, OK, they’ve canceled all the swim meets through April, next day, it’s through the end of April, and then, the next day, they might move the Olympics. It’s hard to keep up and adapt your training based on what’s happening.” —Kelyn Soong (tips? Email ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • At Wednesday’s press conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser and her emergency response team say the testing capacity at its public health lab has significantly increased. It now has the ability to test 150 people per day and expects that number to increase to 500 on Tuesday, March 31. There will also be new drive-thru testing available in the coming week or so, including one site at United Medical Center. While the city has the ability to test more people, priority testing and result time will be given to high-risk groups including health care workers and patients with symptoms. [Twitter

  • Roughly half of Tuesday’s 46 new positive cases of COVID-19 are under 40 years old, and 14 of these patients are in their 20s. With the greatest one-day increase so far, Tuesday’s new cases bring the overall positive case total to 183. So far, 1,609 individuals have been tested for the coronavirus disease. [EOM]  

  • A helpful graphic on non-essential businesses that will close tonight [Twitter]

  • First day of school underscores D.C.’s digital divide. [Post]

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • A poll from Ward 2 candidate Patrick Kennedy’scampaign shows him leading the field. [Twitter

  • DMV’s executives condemned PresidentDonald Trump’s call for return to normalcy by Easter, defying health experts. [Post

  • Local governments navigate public meetings during a time when they can’t meet in person. [WAMU]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Applying for unemployment benefits hasn’t been smooth, but the city says a solution is in the works. [WCP]

  • Inside one local relief program that feeds hungry hospitality workers. [Post]

  • How restaurant owners should talk to their landlords about rent. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Local private museums are struggling to survive while shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic. [WAMU]

  • D.C.’s audio journalists are making it work at home. [Washingtonian]

  • District police taped off and restricted access to the cherry blossoms to stop crowds from gathering. [Post]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Working out at home? Try a ‘90s dance party on Facebook Live. [WCP]

  • Trent Williams’ agent says it’s time for the Washington NFL team to trade or release his client. [ESPN

  • Former NBA player Jason Collins, who played briefly for the Wizards, has tested positive for COVID-19. [Yahoo]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

We’re bringing you the best things to watch, read, make, and do from the comfort of your home while social distancing.

  • Spend around two hours with Agnes Varda’s early-career triumph Cleo from 5 to 7.

  • Keep kids occupied with Mo Willems’ lunch doodles—and for heaven’s sake, do not let that pigeon drive the bus.

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