As the total number of coronavirus infections in the Washington region topped 90,000 Sunday and fatalities hit 3,880, a one-day spike in the District of Columbia’s numbers raised questions about whether it can begin reopening as expected Friday. And social media images of a crowded Ocean City, Maryland, boardwalk and an unmasked Virginia governor mingling with beachgoers had many wondering whether safety guidelines meant to contain the disease were being taken seriously enough.
LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the D.C. Health Department, said in a call with reporters Sunday that data collected over the weekend shows that the number of cases linked to community spread – calculated by the date of symptom onset and excluding cases at confined facilities such as nursing homes – increased from a low of 68 on day 12 to 118 on day 13. This jump broke a 12-day streak of declines and meant the city had to “reset” to day 11, Nesbitt said.
She declined to say whether that means the city is reconsidering lifting restrictions on Friday, deferring questions to Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, who is expected to announce her decision Tuesday.
D.C. on Sunday recorded five deaths and 144 new infections, just above the seven-day average of 141.
“We’ll have to let the graph speak for itself,” Nesbitt said.
A high school pool party “everybody thought was harmless” has fueled a second peak of coronavirus cases in Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Saturday.
“A high school swim party that I’m sure everybody thought was harmless,” Hutchinson said at a press briefing, a video shows. “They’re young, they’re swimming, they’re just having activity, and positive cases resulted from that.”
Hutchinson did not say how many people attended the party or subsequently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
He called the incident “just an encouragement for us to be disciplined in our activities.”