Credit: Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Nesbitt to resign

After nearly eight years as the director of DC Health, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt is stepping down. Mayor Muriel Bowser praised her longest-serving cabinet member with the announced departure and said she will select a replacement soon.

Nesbitt was one of the key public figures who shaped the District’s response to COVID-19, and Bowser often deferred to her for answers during public briefings over the past two years. By some measures, the District’s response was among the most effective in the country at reducing the number of cases and deaths.

But Nesbitt’s legacy also includes an inequitable response, especially early in the pandemic, that disproportionately impacted Black residents. DC Health may also have played around with COVID data in order to push toward the second phase of reopening, and Nesbitt and Bowser were consistently light on providing data to explain decisions to roll back restrictions.

And before the pandemic, Nesbitt’s DC Health contributed to D.C.’s failure to mitigate the opioid crisis. The city misspent millions in federal grants and ignored “lifesaving strategies that have been widely adopted elsewhere,” the Washington Post reported in 2018. Most of D.C. opioid victims are Black men.

In an interview with NBC’s Mark Segraves, Nesbitt says she’s “extraordinarily proud” of her work on the city’s COVID-19 response and “we undoubtedly saved many lives.” She also did an extensive interview with WTOP, which you can listen to here.

Bowser has acknowledged to NBC4 that she was aware of Nesbitt’s decision to resign before the June primary, but held off making the announcement until after the election. Nesbitt does not have a job lined up for when she leaves at the end of the month, but has said she wants to continue addressing public health—just from outside of local government. 

Pharmacists can prescribe COVID pill

The FDA said this week that pharmacists can prescribe Pfizer’s COVID pill, which treats the worst symptoms of the coronavirus. Only physicians could previously prescribe the drug Paxlovid.

BA.5

A new omicron subvariant, known as BA.5, is now the dominant version circulating in the U.S., according to federal tracking data. It’s the most transmissible subvariant of the virus yet, and along with BA.4 can be resistant to immunity from past infections and vaccines due to mutations in their spike proteins. For now, community spread in the District is still considered “low,” but hospitalizations due to COVID are increasing, according to the Post and New York Times’ trackers.

Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • To see today’s COVID-19 data, visit our coronavirus tracker.
  • D.C. is the most expensive place to find childcare: $855 per week for a nanny and $419 per week for daycare. [Axios]
  • Another slow weekend for Metro with closures on the Orange Line and single-tracking on the Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow lines. [DCist]
  • Dulles International Airport will receive $49.6 million to build a 14-gate commuter concourse. [WTOP]
  • Park Police radio and telephone communications were not recorded, as required, for about two years. The issue came to light after Park Police officers attempted to clear protesters from Lafayette Park in the summer of 2020, and the radio communications had not been recorded. [WTOP]

By Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Erin Palmer Gave Phil Mendelson His Closest Race in Many Years. What Does That Mean for the Future?

Coming into the June primary, Loose Lips must admit that he didn’t think Erin Palmer […]

  • D.C.’s Department of Employment Services says it hopes to start handing out paid family leave benefits again within the next day or two, after a cyberattack affected the agency’s contractor and delayed payments. [WTOP]
  • A new investigation found that many of the Metropolitan Police Department’s 318 surveillance cameras have experienced malfunctions in recent years. [WJLA]
  • The daughter of a man who died after jumping into the Washington Channel is still pressing for answers from D.C.’s 911 call center. The Office of Unified Communications appears to have sent first responders to the wrong place during that incident, an increasingly common occurrence for the troubled agency. [Informer]

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

  • In its final episode of the season, Dish City takes on bottomless brunch. [WAMU]
  • Even for inclusive queer bars in D.C., accessibility is elusive. [DCist]
  • The folks behind Shaw’s All Souls are opening an alley pizza spot on H Street NE. Little Grand is serving “New York-ish” rounds and Sicilian-ish” squares. [Washingtonian]
  • Pick your own peaches at these Maryland and Virginia orchards and farms. [Washingtonian]

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

Credit: Joan Marcus
  • Michael Schaffer and Bridget Todd discuss the problematic side effects of making go-go the official music of D.C. for City Cast DC. [City Cast DC, Twitter]
  • Inside or out, DuPont Brass knows how to start—and maintain—a party. [Post]

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

  • Commanders owner Dan Snyder’s attorney says he is available to testify via video conference in front of a House committee investigating a toxic and abusive internal workplace culture. The earliest he could appear is July 28 or 29, attorney Karen Patton Seymour says in a letter to the House oversight committee. [AP]
  • Billionaire Michael B. Kim met last week with Nationals officials to discuss buying the team. He’s one of five or six potential buyers. [Post
  • The Caps select left wing Ivan Miroshnichenko with their first-round pick in the 2022 draft. [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

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

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