Michelle Obama, Susan Rice, Michael Chertoff to Aid DC Coronavirus Efforts

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Three big-name national leaders will aid D.C.’s response to the coronavirus crisis. 

Former first lady Michelle Obama will record a robocall and radio public service announcement about testing, and former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice will lead a committee examining how to safely reopen the District. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the leaders’ help at a news conference Monday morning. She said that she approached Chertoff and Rice and that Obama volunteered her help.

“Early on in our response, the first lady’s office reached out to ask how she could help,” Bowser said. 

Chertoff and Rice will add expertise, experience and a global perspective to the ReOpen DC Advisory Group, the mayor said. 

“These are people who are used to getting things done,” she said. 

Other members of the advisory group include former mayors Adrian Fenty and Anthony Williams. 

The advisory group will weigh in on how to reopen D.C. but not when; that’s up to what the data shows and what the Health Department advises. 

The public will be able to submit input on reopening through an online survey and a community townhall on Wednesday. Information on the survey and townhall will be posted on the city’s coronavirus website, the site says

The advisory group will issue a report on May 11 with initial guidance on reopening D.C. once cases of the virus drop. 


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Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia

COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia

Source: DC, MD and VA Health Departments
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington

A 17-year-old boy who contracted the virus has died, the mayor's office announced Monday morning. The teen, who lived in D.C. but died in Pennsylvania, is the youngest person with the virus who is counted among D.C. deaths. His name was not released.

The mayor gave an update on how close D.C. is to having the over 3,600 hospital beds the city needs for the hospital surge that’s expected to hit D.C. in late May or early June. 

Hospitals already have added 1,000 beds. Another 600 will be added in hospitals by May 1, and another 500 will be added at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center by May 8. 

Bowser said last week that before D.C. can reopen in the wake of the pandemic, officials need to see a decrease in the number of new cases, an increase in the medical system’s capacity and an increase in the District’s contact tracing ability. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser outlined what it would take for the city to be ready to reopen. She also gave updates on the toll the virus is taking on the district. News4's Mark Segraves has the details.

For now, D.C. needs to stay shut down, she said Monday. 

“It continues to be critical that D.C. residents stay at home and practice social distancing, Bowser said. 

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