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

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COVID-19 case counts in D.C. have recently dropped, but at an average of 181 cases per day, they’re still pretty high, the New York Times reports. (DC Health hasn’t released data since April 17.)

As Moderna asked the FDA this week to authorize two doses of its vaccine for children under 6, federal health data shows that about 75 percent of American children have been infected with the virus, in addition to 60 percent of adults. COVID infections and hospitalizations nationwide are on the rise over the past two weeks. Mixed messages from the White House and the District aren’t helping.

On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID, and on the same day White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told PBS NewsHour that “we are certainly, right now, in this country, out of the pandemic phase.” He then clarified to NPR on Wednesday that “we are no longer in the acute fulminant accelerated phase of the outbreak.” 

“We’re in a somewhat of a transitional phase where the cases’ numbers have decelerated—and hopefully we’re getting to that phase of somewhat better control, where we can begin to start resuming more easily normal activities,” Facui told NPR.

Confusion spread online about the distinction between pandemic and endemic phases after Fauci told the Post on Wednesday that the nation is “in a transitional phase, from a deceleration of the numbers into hopefully a more controlled phase and endemicity.” 

But there’s no metric for when you’re in a pandemic or endemic phase, Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, and Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University professor of medicine, tell WUSA9. COVID-19 is destined to be endemic, “because it’s not a virus that can be eliminated or eradicated,” Adalja says. 

An analysis released this week on the link between climate change and viral transmission risk across species indicates that the climate crisis will drive more and new viral infections in humans, reports Atlantic science reporter Ed Yong.  

“The moment to stop climate change from increasing viral transmission was 15 years ago,” Georgetown University global-change biologist Colin Carlson tells Yong. “We’re in a world that’s 1.2 degrees warmer [than preindustrial levels], and there’s no backpedaling. We have to prepare for more pandemics because of it.”

Fauci has decided not to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this Saturday, citing his own assessment of his risk level and saying “we’re not out of the woods.” Meanwhile, Biden will skip the meal portion of the event and wear a mask when he’s not speaking, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday. 

The correspondents’ dinner will have some of the strictest COVID protocols of D.C. events right now: Guests are required to show proof of vaccination and a negative same-day test. But it does not appear that staff working the event are being held to the same safety standards, Axios reports

​​Washington Hilton, the venue for the gala, hasn’t talked to the union representing the Hilton’s hospitality workers, Unite Here Local 25, about testing or vaccination requirements for staff working the event, a union spokesperson tells Axios. A Hilton spokesperson declined to talk about the event protocols or its staff’s vaccination status. 

The Kennedy Center announced this week that as of May 15 the venue will no longer require proof of vaccination at its shows and other indoor events. Masks will still be required. Citing an evaluation it did with the Cleveland Clinic and Northern Virginia’s Inova Health System, the Kennedy Center announced the change on its website and vowed to continue to “evaluate and adjust safety policies … as local and national conditions evolve.”

Ambar Castillo (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • To see today’s COVID-19 data, visit our coronavirus tracker.
  • At a ceremony hosted yesterday by District nonprofit The TraRon Center, residents who have lost loved ones due to gun violence awarded college scholarships to D.C. teen survivors. [NBC4]
  • Another French bulldog, 21-week-old Aurora, was stolen in a Southwest apartment break-in. [WUSA9]
  • The Purple Stride 5K walk/run and the Race for Hope 5K will close some D.C. streets this weekend. [WJLA]
  • After a noncommittal response from D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson about funds for D.C.’s excluded workers, workers and advocates are rallying at Columbia Heights Civic Plaza this Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. [Twitter]

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

Trayon White Managed to Score Public Financing for His Mayoral Campaign. But Irregularities Remain.

Did you ever have that one teacher who was always ready to let a late […]

Credit: Darrow Montgomery/File

Appeals Court Keeps Kenyan McDuffie Off Attorney General Ballot

It might be a bit early to print the obituary of Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan […]

  • Despite pressure from some McDuffie supporters for the Council to pass an emergency bill and get him back on the ballot, Chairman Phil Mendelson says he won’t be seeking a legislative fix. [Post]
  • Is a write-in campaign possible for McDuffie instead? The language of D.C. law makes it unlikely, leaving his hopes pinned to the full Court of Appeals agreeing to hear his case. [Twitter]
  • A New York company with experience printing ballots has hired prominent Venable lobbyist Claude Bailey. The Board of Elections hopes to start printing primary ballots soon, and has a general election to consider, too. [Twitter]

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

  • A chocolate festival, a brewery’s birthday, and urban foraging paired with cider are among the food events to check out this weekend. [Washingtonian]
  • NYC cocktail bar Employees Only will pop up in D.C. for one night. [Eater]
  • Parkway Deli & Restaurant serves up chicken noodle soup “that tastes as if someone’s bubbe made it,” Tom Sietsema writes. [Post]

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

Credit: Noah Eberhart

Jena Friedman Evolves From Political to Personal

Comedian Jena Friedman is no stranger to the absurd […]

  • Get your summer dresses and seersuckers ready! Jazz in the Garden returns to the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden on May 20! [National Gallery of Art
  • Come May 15, the Kennedy Center will no longer require its vaccine mandate. [DCist]
  • City Paper film critic Noah Gittell announces book deal. [Twitter]

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

  • The Washington Commanders selected Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson No. 16 overall in the NFL Draft, which will wrap up tomorrow. [WTOP]
  • The Washington Spirit will host OL Reign at Audi Field in its regular season opener on Sunday at 5 p.m. The two teams will play again at Audi Field on May 4 at 8 p.m. for the NWSL Challenge Cup semifinal. [Black & Red United]
  • With the playoffs looming, the Caps turned in one of their worst games of the season in a 5-1 loss to the Islanders. [RMNB
  • Maryland football head coach Michael Locksley has agreed to terms on a new five-year contract that keeps him in College Park through the 2026 season. [Twitter]

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

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