WASHINGTON - D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser struck an optimistic tone on Tuesday, saying the city has made great strides in its fight to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, but cautioned that talk of fully reopening the economy is still in the distance.
The Mayor told FOX 5 that officials were encouraged by the success the city has had in slowing COVID-19, and praised the District’s residents for their part in the effort.
“Today the number of positive cases that we have in D.C. is far less than we thought it could be on this day based on our models. We think that we have flattened the curve in an amazing way, which has given our doctors and nurses in our hospitals more time to make sure that we have the surge capacity that we need. So D.C. residents have done an amazing job by staying at home and flattening the curve,” Bowser said.
As of Monday, the District had 2,927 cases of the novel coronavirus, and 105 deaths had been attributed to it.
The mayor noted, however, that the next challenge the District will face is restoring its once thriving economy in the wake of the pandemic.
“Where nobody could have thought we would be is having just totally shut down our economy,” she said.
Nevertheless, Bowser believes it’s still to soon to say the District is on the verge of putting people completely back to work.
“We think that the framework that was released by the White House task force is a good one. Looking at two weeks of decreases in hospitalizations and infections, we think that’s a good marker. And also having as system of watching and seeing who’s being infected and making sure they can be isolated and contact traced – those are all very important things,” Bowser said.
The mayor said they’re currently in the process of putting together a team to put the District back on track.
The time table is two weeks of decreased infections – and we’re not there yet. We’re not there in the region, and to get open and do it safely and not lose all of the gains that we’ve made by this tremendous sacrifice of staying at home, we have to be smart about how we turn on our economy,” she said.
The mayor noted that – like cities across the country – the African-American community in D.C. has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In the District, 70 percent of the deaths attributed to the virus have occurred among African-Americans.
She also noted that elevating the amount of testing healthcare officials in the District can accomplish is still hampered by the lack of supplies.