WASHINGTON — Mayor Muriel Bowser says our neighbors are dying. More than 4,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the District, and more than 200 have died.
Perhaps no one knows more about the devastating toll this virus has taken than Reverend Graylan Haglar, pastor of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Ward 4.
“I got a funeral coming up tomorrow. I got a funeral coming up next Tuesday,” the reverend said. "A young man, 54 years old, passed Monday night, who was a beloved member of the church. He was a home health care worker. So, he was there on the front lines and got exposed to it.”
According to the city’s data, our D.C. neighbors most affected by the coronavirus live in Ward 4, which had 727 cases as of Wednesday.
“People wonder why? Well, one reason is because we have an elderly population and we have pockets of working-class people,” Haglar explained.
According to the Mayor’s Office, the District has a capacity to do 500 tests each day. Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, so Mayor Bowser has expanded the free testing to asymptomatic essential workers.
“I had a church member, for example, who had to basically quit her job because they refused to allow her to work remotely, even though she was a tax preparer, and could work remotely,” Haglar explained. “So she basically left the job rather than expose herself.”
So, while the city is preparing its reopening plan, Reverend Haglar said the crisis continues and must be addressed moving forward.
“One of the things that really sort of like bothered me is, this is the Mayor's ReOpen DC committee. When you look at it it’s all these high muckety-mucks,” he said, “they're not going through what we're going through, they're not facing what we have to face. So, in a sense, you know, people are playing games around this while people are still dying.”
Bowser did hold a virtual town hall Wednesday evening for the ReOpen DC advisory committee. She encouraged more D.C. residents to participate. You can learn more here.