COVID-19 Update: D.C. Deaths Hit 24; Emergency Measures Planned

Mayor Muriel Bowser and District Council Chairman Phil Mendelson held a morning press conference on April 6 to discuss “tough choices” in light of the coronavirus pandemic, such as a hiring and pay freeze for most of D.C. government as well as more than $600-million cut to this year’s and next year’s budget.

Meanwhile, D.C. government gave an update, as of April 5, on deaths from the coronavirus — 24 — sorted by race: Asian, 2 (8 percent); African American, 14 (58 percent); Hispanic, 2 (8 percent); Non-Hispanic White, 4 (17 percent); Other, 2 (8 percent).

Mendelson announced that the Council will vote on a bill with emergency provisions on Tuesday — all while allowing for a virtual meeting through the Council’s website. A rent freeze has been endorsed. “This is a consensus bill,” he said. “It’s important for everyone to be on the same page.”

The Council is expected to extend the D.C. health emergency, which began on March 17, for an additional 45 days. The bill would also allow for $500 million in short-term borrowing by the District.

Bowser was asked about D.C. shutting down the fish market at the Wharf over the weekend because people were not practicing social distancing. She agreed to it, but said that access to food was essential. If the management of the fish market set up workable guidelines for its customers, the businesses might be reopened, she stated.

The mayor called for individual responsibility regarding the social-distancing guidelines: “It’s everybody’s individual responsibility to do what they know they need to do for themselves, their family and this community.”

Bowser did not say how long D.C. schools would remain closed, but added, “I hope kids can come back this year.” Parents say that DC Public Schools has sent out bills for graduation and prom.

Following an extension, next year’s District budget is set to be submitted on June 6.



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