WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - The District's stay-at-home order will now run until June 8. It was due to expire this Friday.
Mayor Muriel Bowser today warned of a coronavirus surge if reopening is rushed, but her decision comes as questions mount over D.C.’s changing predictions on when it will hit peak cases.
Now, a study finding D.C. is far below where it should be on testing.
The mayor explained the extension claiming it’s based on benchmarks not being met, and the advice of health experts — but at the same time, the mayor and D.C.’s health director downplayed a survey by health experts at Harvard University Global Health Institute that says D.C. is “far below” where it needs to be on testing.
The Harvard survey shows D.C. is averaging 822 tests a day. Harvard says D.C. should be giving 5,857 tests a day by May 11.
FOX 5 asked Mayor Bowser if Dr. Anthony Fauci says the ‘road to re-opening’ runs through more testing. Why isn’t more testing being made available to more people in dc?
The mayor answered, “A person who needs to get one can absolutely get it.”
But can everyone get it? The answer to that question appears to be no.
Dr. Laquandra S. Nesbitt, the D.C. health director added, “We would take great umbrage to any recommendation that squarely suggests have these goals of just simply testing a 'certain number of individuals for the purposes of just meeting some per-capita goal.’”
Is limiting its testing to people like at-risk health care workers, symptomatic people, and those in close contact with COVID-19 positive individuals. So if you don’t fall into those groups, D.C. may deem you don’t “need” a test.
Harvard’s Global Health Institute’s national survey found more than half of states – including D.C. – aren’t doing enough testing. The director says that is critical, because in order to reopen, dc needs to test at a much higher capacity than it is.
Dr.Ashish Jha, director of Harvard Global Health Institute, tells FOX 5:
“In order to curtail the disease you have to be testing lots and lots of people, and then identifying everyone who’s got a positive test and then isolating them” Dr. Jha added “ That’s the strategy it’s kind of “public health 101”. But when you don’t have enough testing you can’t do that, and that’s where we’re stuck.”
CORONAVIRUS IN DC, MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA
Experts say not having wide-scale testing can trigger inconsistencies when it comes to predicting when jurisdictions like D.C. will hit the COVID-19 peak.
Originally, Mayor Bower said the peak would hit June into July. Now that prediction is May into June.
Early on in the outbreak, the District rejected using same model the White House Task Force, even though the White House model has proved consistent.