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Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that D.C. is moving to Phase 2 Monday, June 22.
How’d we get there?
As of June 18, D.C. reported three more residents died of COVID-19 and 49 more tested positive, bringing the total numbers to 530 and 9,952, respectively. According to DC Health, the city met benchmarks needed to move to Phase 2. The big question mark was whether D.C. hired enough contact tracers to investigate 90 percent of positive cases within one day of a person reporting positive, as well as their close contacts. The coronavirus website says we have not achieved a metric related to contact tracing, as of June 16. But DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt assured the public during Wednesday’s press conference that the city had enough contract tracers—200 were already deployed and 100 were undergoing training—to investigate the current rate of cases coming in. This assumption is based on two days of meeting the metric. DC Health just has not watched this metric long enough to say we are meeting it for as long as DC Health would like, added Bowser.
Is it safe?
The mayor has said multiple times that we are trending in the right direction. D.C. has yet to see a second wave of coronavirus cases. (We saw a peak in positive cases during Phase 1, but nothing that set us back to day zero of decrease in community spread.) That said, DC Health is still analyzing the effects of Phase 1, as well as the protests. And the virus is still circulating and there is no vaccine. The arrival of a vaccine is no immediate panacea—it’s “only the beginning of the end,” writes ProPublica’s Caroline Chen.
What does Phase 2 look like?
There are some noticeable changes to daily life: Mass gatherings of 50 or fewer are legal; travel outside of the region continues to be “discouraged;” indoor dining and worship is allowed only if restaurants and houses of worship do not exceed 50 percent capacity; personal services like nail salons, threading, and tattoos are permitted again in addition to haircuts, but by appointment only; and gyms and yoga studios, as well as pools for “structured activities” are open again.
More guidance on Phase 2 by sector can be found HERE.
DC Health continues to advise everyone to stay home if you are not feeling well, keep six feet of distance between you and another person, and wear a mask (and wearing a mask is no substitute for social distancing). Also, outdoor activities are preferred over indoor ones. The more you go out, the more possible exposures to the virus you get, so here is a list of free public testing sites. The city is not reporting a shortage in kits, so anyone who has been exposed—say, went to a protest in the last five days—in addition to feeling sick can get tested and is being advised to. Be prepared that the wait times for firehouse sites can be over an hour long.
The decision to go out or stay in is weighing heavily on a lot of people. You are not alone if you are feeling this way. This very decision is dividing friends. When asked how we should all proceed during phased reopening, Nesbitt advised residents to be “very prudent” when socializing with people they don’t live with. The activities you decide to participate in could pose a risk to someone who is, say, immunocompromised if you were to come in close contact with them. In short: Be mindful. Here are tips on forming a “quarantine pod”. —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? email@example.com)
- A comprehensive list of Juneteenth protests and events. [DCist]
- Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau supports calls to defund the police and take cops out of schools. [Twitter]
- ICYMI: Black activists explain what “defund the police” means in essays and poetry. [WCP]
- Over 70 percent of 600 officers say they are considering leaving the Metropolitan Police Department, per a police union survey. And 39 percent are considering leaving police altogether. [Twitter]
- The D.C. government is still working to define how the paid family leave benefit will be implemented eleven days after it was supposed to start accepting claims. [Twitter]
LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Federal judge orders stricter protections for people locked inside DC Jail. [DCist, WUSA9]
- PG County Police Chief Hank Stawinski resigned amid accusations racial discrimination in the treatment of black and brown officers. [NBC]
- D.C. is no longer the most gentrified place in America. Still not great, though. [DCist, NCRC]
- Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie is on the Politics Hour this afternoon. [Kojo]
YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? email@example.com)
- Dio Wine Bar’sreasoning for closing until at least Phase Three of reopening. [DCist]
- Black food bloggers share potluck recipes for Juneteenth. [Post]
- Restaurant workers need Congress to extend Pandemic Unemployment Insurance. [Eater]
ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Miss Juneteenth is a film full of warmth and heart. [WCP]
- Celebrate Juneteenth with the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s online resources. [NMAAHC]
- Story District, in partnership with DCPS, is presenting a Juneteenth virtual storytelling showcase. [Story District]
SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? email@example.com)
- Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that the NFL season might not happen this year “unless players are essentially in a bubble.” [CNN]
- Ex-Terps guard Serrel Smith Jr. is transferring to East Tennessee State. [Instagram]
- Meet the D.C. ultrarunner and math teacher who ran every public street and alley in the city. [Washingtonian, RunWashington]
- Black athletes of all ages continue to lead in the fight for racial justice. [WCP]
We’re bringing you the best things to watch, read, make, and do from the comfort of your home while social distancing.
- Arlington’s official website has a detailed timeline of the June 1960 sit-ins that led to integration of lunch counters and restaurants in the county.