A citywide moment of silence and prayer was held in Washington, D.C., Friday morning to honor those on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis and mourn victims.
Mayor Muriel Bowser led the moment of silence at Gonzaga College High School. Musicians played "Taps" and "Amazing Grace," and Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders delivered messages of hope on Good Friday and during Passover.
“Stay strong, stay hopeful, stay working together, stay respectful and caring for one another, because we are a city of champions and we will get through this together," said Rev. Dr. Christopher L. Zacharias of John Wesley AMEZ Church.
The mayor urged residents to stay home this weekend as they celebrate religious holidays, including Easter.
“This year, many of our traditions are on hold but our faith is not. By staying home, we save lives,” she said.
In a mayoral proclamation, Bowser ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff until Sunday.
Gonzaga President Rev. Stephen W. Planning spoke about his own battle with the virus. He spent 18 days alone in quarantine after being diagnosed on March 15. He thanked the city health department for their “extraordinary” work, including careful tracing of anyone with whom he had contact and multiple calls to check on him.
“We are all incredibly impressed and grateful for their wonderful care,” Planning said.
Here’s where we are Friday in the fight against coronavirus in the D.C. area.
As of Friday morning, 13,137 cases of coronavirus had been diagnosed in the D.C. area. D.C. had 1,660 cases, Maryland had 6,968 and Virginia had 4,509. At least 330 people died. Go here for details.
Officials in Prince George’s County are preparing for a surge in hospital visits in the coming weeks. The county has the highest number of confirmed cases in the state. Montgomery County, the most populous county in the state, has the second-highest number. The number of critical care beds available is a concern.
Grocery store shoppers must wear masks in D.C. now and in Montgomery County starting Monday. Several other social distancing rules are in place. Go here for details.
Some people of color fear that wearing a mask in public will endanger their safety, News4 reported.
“The bandana on the face represents a crime in progress or we’re going out there to commit some crimes. But we’re just trying to protect ourselves like anyone else,” said delivery driver Marcus Tamialis. He chose to get a neon green mask.
A judge in southwest Virginia ejected a lawsuit that sought to carve out a religious exemption to Gov. Ralph Northam's executive order requiring people to stay at home. A resident said the stay-at-home order infringed on his religious freedom and sought, at a minimum, an exception that would allow attendance at Easter services this Sunday.
And something to lift you up: An anonymous donor gave a music therapy nonprofit in Loudoun County enough money to make free sessions available to any family in the public school system. The director said music helps soothe people during anxious times.
“Through music you can guide them into something much more beautiful," he said.
Maryland’s governor will address the public at 12:30 p.m. Virginia’s governor will speak at 2 p.m. You can watch live on NBCWashington.com and in the NBC Washington app.