DC Mayor Urges ‘Individual Responsibility' to Prevent Virus Spread

Other updates Monday: At least $600 million will need to be cut from D.C.’s budget for the year, data on the race of patients was released and the mayor told residents to wear masks

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A day after D.C. officials shut down businesses at The Wharf because customers defied social distancing orders, the mayor urged residents to take “individual responsibility” for staying safe. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called it “impractical” to expect police and public officials to enforce all violations of social distancing policies. 

“It’s everybody’s individual responsibility to do what they know they need to do for themselves, their family and this community,” she said at a news conference Monday morning. “If we expect the police department to make every single person do what they know they’re supposed to do, we’re going to be disappointed.” 

The mayor warned businesses, though, that they would get shut down if they were lax in enforcing the rules. 

As of Monday morning, 1,097 people had been diagnosed with the virus and 24 people had died.

Here are other top updates Monday from the mayor and D.C. officials. 

Case Data by Race: For the first time on Monday, D.C. released data on the races and ethnicities of people confirmed to have the virus.

The majority of people to die from the virus thus far, 14 people, were black or African American. Four were “non-Hispanic white,” two were Asian, two were Hispanic or Latino and two were classified as “other.” 

Of the 1,087 people who have tested positive so far, people identified as black or African American made up the largest known group, at 303. The races of 349 patients were unknown, 135 were white and 210 were not interviewed about their race. Ninety-eight of the patients were Hispanic or Latino. 

Budget Cuts: At least $600 million will need to be cut from the District’s budget for the year. Additionally, a freeze for most city hiring, salary increases and travel is now in place. 

“Just as residents and businesses are making tough choices, we are making tough choices too,” Bowser said. 

She estimated that D.C. spending would be at about the same level it was in 2017.

Wear a Mask: The mayor told residents to wear masks when leaving home, as the Centers for Disease Control recommended Friday. 

Aid for Undocumented Residents: The D.C. Council is looking at ways to offer coronavirus-related aid to residents living in the United States illegally, Chair Phil Mendelson said. 

“We recognize the need is urgent,” he said. 

School Calendar: There’s still no update on when school will be back in session. 

"Our great hope is that kids can come back to school this school year,” the mayor said. “If the data on the ground indicate that would be safe to do, we will announce that. But we are not close to doing that at this point.” 

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