A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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If you visit the key metrics section of the District’s coronavirus website this week, you’ll see that the pandemic is trending in the right direction. Based on weekly case rate data between Feb. 27 and March 5, D.C.’s COVID-19 community level is low. An average of 55.5 cases per 100,000 residents were reported during that period, well below the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s low transmission benchmark of 200 cases per 100,000 residents.

But are those numbers accurately representing the state of COVID-19 in D.C.? Since March 2, when DC Health announced it would switch to weekly reporting, residents have been pushing for more information and expressing their displeasure with the condensed data dump. DC Health Senior Deputy Director Patrick Ashley offered some insight yesterday morning, tweeting, “Part of our job is to help public think about how to view data and risk, esp through the same lens in which we want the public to view other pop health data. Looking at non-normalized data doesn’t allow you to compare jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Thus raw counts are useless. … Useless being that they don’t allow you to compare relative risk. If # goes up by 10 cases in a day, what actions are you going to take that was different if it was 10 less cases? Those 10 cases could be a lag in lab processing. Risk is not managed daily in health. Trends matter.”

If you don’t consider raw counts useless or just want more information, worry not. The Washington Post will continue to update its coronavirus tracker as the CDC makes data available. The CDC’s wastewater data can also help you form a more complete picture of the current situation. 

In other COVID-19 news, prepare to wear a mask on the Metro for a little while longer. The Transportation Security Administration has extended its mandated mask use policy on public transportation and at transportation hubs through April 18. The CDC will work with government agencies in the intervening time to figure out when and under what circumstances masks will or won’t be required.

Masks may be coming off in public schools soon, however. Mayor Muriel Bowser allowed schools and day care centers to lift the mask mandate inside their facilities. While DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said he’s working with unions and community stakeholders to figure out a plan, Bowser told Axios she expects the mandate will lift “for the majority of people” inside school facilities. The moms who took their complaints to Fox5’s morning show must be thrilled.

Caroline Jones (tips? cjones@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • To see today’s COVID-19 data, visit our coronavirus tracker.
  • Metro gave initial approval for changes that include a flat $2 rail fare after 9:30 p.m. and discounts on weekly and monthly passes. If approved on March 24, the changes would be in effect from July 1 to June 2023. [DCist
  • A woman was shot in front of two small children in the 1800 block of Benning Road NE last night. The shooting occurred about two miles from where a man was shot and killed while carrying an infant and holding a 5-year-old’s hand. [NBC4
  • MPD Fifth District Commander William Fitzgerald resigned after a WJLA investigation tracking Fitzgerald for weeks showed he was using patrol cars to travel between Solly’s U Street Tavern and his apartment late at night. [WJLA]

By Ambar Castillo (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Darrow Montgomery/file

Bartender Challenges Initiative 82 Signatures, Marking a Renewed Fight Over the Tipped Minimum Wage

There were some early signs that the restaurant industry would lay down its arms in […]

Credit: Darrow Montgomery/FILE

Neil Albert Hit With $15,000 Ethics Fine

Neil Albert is facing a $15,000 fine from the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability. […]

  • The latest campaign finance reports are still rolling in after Thursday night’s deadline, but Mayor Muriel Bowser’s shows that she raised about $182,000 since Feb. 1 and finished with $2.7 million in the bank. That’s well above At-Large Councilmember Robert White’s $56,000 haul (though White did have smaller average donations and more contributors who have yet to max out). No word yet on Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White. [Twitter]
  • Attorney General Karl Racine is endorsing fellow Venable alum Brian Schwalb to replace him. That could transform the race, effectively, into a two-way contest between Schwalb and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie. [Post]

By Alex Koma (tips? akoma@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • 2 Amys is “still fabulous,” critic Tom Sietsema writes. [Post]
  • E-Tea boba and sushi burrito bar opens at the Wharf. [Eater]
  • Consider these six food events this weekend. [Washingtonian]

By City Paper staff (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Nacho Gonzalez

Ever Been to a Timple Concert? Germán López Wants to Change That

It’s rare to encounter a timple at a concert in the D.C. area […]

  • The Kennedy Center’s first of five installments of The Cartography Project—a multi-year artistic response to the country’s race-based violence that will commission new works by creators of color to spotlight Black dignity—premieres next week. [District Fray
  • Don’t worry, Capital Weather Gang says the cherry blossoms should weather Saturday’s uninvited snow just fine. [Post]
  • Starting today, you have just over two weeks to get your fill of the National Air and Space Museum before it closes again on March 28 for renovations. It’s expected to reopen this fall. [NBC Washington]

By Sarah Marloff (tips? smarloff@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The MLB lockout is over. Players will report to spring training today, and the 162-game season will begin April 7. [MASN]
  • The American University women’s basketball team will host Bucknell University Sunday at 12 p.m. in the Patriot League tournament final. [ESPN
  • Both the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournament brackets will be revealed this Sunday; the men’s selection show will be at 6 p.m. ET and the women’s selection show will begin at 8 p.m. ET. [NBC Sports Washington, NCAA.com]
  • The U.S. Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic section is planning to build a 36-court tennis campus in Loudoun County. [Loudoun Now]

By Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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