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This week, the U.S. Census Bureau said it is ending its efforts to count the number of people living in the country a month sooner than previously announced, on Sept. 30. Democratic lawmakers and many census advocates believe the Trump administration is pressuring the bureau to benefit Republicans, while the bureau director has said publicly that it is “to accelerate the completion of data collection” to meet the Dec. 31 statutory deadline.  

The decision to end counting early threatens the accuracy of the population count, critical information used to determine political representation along with federal funding to states and localities. The coronavirus pandemic already made efforts to count—including door knocking—more challenging than they usually are.  

As of Aug. 3, D.C.’s census self-response completion rate was 59.3 percent, below the national rate of 63 percent. This data does exclude individuals counted by census takers, who try to reach immigrants, people experiencing homelessness, or other historically undercounted groups. 

 For the 2010 census, about 2.2 percent of D.C. residents were not counted—the second highest share of undercounted residents among the 33 largest cities nationwide. The District received over $6 billion in federal funds during fiscal year 2016, thanks to data guided by the 2010 census. This included dollars for Medicaid, housing vouchers, the school breakfast program, and cash assistance. A lot is on the line this census.

The federal government gave D.C. $750 million less in coronavirus dollars by treating the city as a territory as opposed to state. And D.C. is already underrepresented in Congress, let’s not be undercounted too. Complete the census form online or by phone in English at 1 (844) 330-2020 or in Spanish at (844) 468-2020.     

—Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)       

  • At Wednesday’s press conference, DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt says contact tracing shows an increasing number of COVID-19 cases involve people who were infectious while dining or in the workplace. Roughly 10 percent of cases involve people who have a history of travel. Mayor Muriel Bowser declined to say whether they’ll restrict Phase 1 or 2 activities beyond travel restriction. [Twitter

  • As of Aug. 5, D.C. reported no additional deaths related to COVID-19 and 45 new positive cases, bringing the total numbers to 587 and 12,443 respectively. The city continues to see an overall increase in community cases, and contact tracing shows only a miniscule number of cases, or 4.6 percent, are connected to confirmed quarantine cases. [EOM

  • Some Congressional members and staffers aren’t wearing masks, worrying and jeopardizing their Capitol Hill neighbors. [DCist

  • Some Georgetown students are going to pay double in tuition, even though learning’s remote. It’s unclear if the university’s 10 percent tuition reduction is meeting the need. [Georgetown Voice]

  • A Council bill would allow charters to give at-risk students preference in the school lottery placement system. DC Bilingual in Fort Totten, among other charters, supports it. [Post]

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

  • There’s a shortage of poll workers in D.C. and Maryland. [WAMU]

  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton wants answers after two Black mothers were held at gunpoint on the mall. [Post]

  • Congressional bill would remove Francis G. Newlands’ name from Chevy Chase Circle. Newlands was a U.S. senator from Nevada who held racist views. [WUSA]

  • HQ2 developer JBG Smith sees a drop in earnings due to COVID-19. [WBJ]

  • Maryland and Virginia are part of a seven-state COVID testing compact. [Post]

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

  • Matchbox Food Group files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. [WBJ]

  • Rising grocery prices are stretching Americans’ budgets. [Post]

  • The era of chef worship may be coming to an end. [NYT]

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

  • Solid State Books owners Scott Abel and Jake Cumsky-Whitlock talk about what it’s like running a bookstore right now. [Washingtonian]

  • Take a look at the $211 million MLK Library renovation. [WUSA9]

  • Signature Theatre has launchedThe Signature Show, a biweekly, half-hour series featuring interviews and celebrations of artists and performances, available on YouTube. [DC Theatre Scene

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

  • The confused fan’s guide to the Capitals’ 2020 playoffs. [WCP]

  • In a surprising turn of events, Alex Smith, who suffered a gruesome leg injury on the field two years ago and nearly had it amputated, will most likely compete for the starting quarterback job for theWashington Football Team. [CBS Sports]

  • Juan Soto showed off his dance moves on the dugout after Nats newcomer Josh Harrison blasted a solo home run in the team’s 5-3 win over the Mets last night. [NESN]

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

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