1,000 Days of the Pandemic

The first COVID case in D.C. was announced exactly 1,000 days ago. There’s been so much tragedy and so many changes in daily life since then. Here are some of the things we’ve seen:

Recognition of essential workers

The public gained a new appreciation for the workers in jobs that are necessary even during the height of a pandemic.

Pharmacy tech. ©Rob Klug
Bus depot, May 2020 ©Victoria Pickering
©Rob Klug
©Rob Klug

Many buildings were lit in blue in the first few weeks to thank essential workers.


Masks were ubiquitous in the pre-vaccine days, and while mask requirements have largely been dropped, they remain common.

©Miki Jourdan
©Rob Klug
Masks in honor of George Floyd ©Miki Jourdan
©Rob Klug
©Rob Klug
©Miki Jourdan
©Miki Jourdan


Much of the mourning has been private, but there have been several public recognitions as the death count rose.

When deaths hit 100,000, flags were lowered to half-staff.

Flags at Washington Monument, May 2020. ©Victoria Pickering

There were several displays as the death count went above 200,000:

September 2020, Washington Monument grounds. ©Victoria Pickering
Flags at the National Armory, by Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, October 2020. ©Victoria Pickering
Sign on the Ellipse facing the White House, November 2020. ©Victoria Pickering

The biggest project was by Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg last fall, as deaths reached 700,000 during the period of the project:

October 2021 ©Angela N.
October 2021 ©Rob Klug
October 2021 ©Angela N.

A “hope quilt” was displayed at the Lincoln Memorial, with blocks created both in honor of essential workers and to memorialize individual lives lost in the pandemic.

October 2020 ©Victoria Pickering

Changes in business and housing

In the first few months of the pandemic, most offices were closed and the buildings stood empty.

17th Street office building, July 2020. ©Victoria Pickering

With business and personal travel greatly reduced, the once-busy cab line at Union Station fell empty and the income of cab drivers plummeted.

March 2021, ©Victoria Pickering

Evictions were temporarily paused during the first year of the pandemic, in an attempt to keep people safer. But when the eviction moratorium was about to expire, Representative Cori Bush and dozens of her supporters slept on the steps of the Capitol for three nights to plead for an extension of the benefit.

August 2021 at the Capitol. ©Miki Jourdan


Once vaccines became available, there were efforts to offer free vaccines at many large events.

Vaccine stand at Pride Festival, 2021. ©Angela N.

Living outside

The streets were restructured to give more room for separation:

April 2020. ©Angela N.

Hand-washing stations were put up in public locations:

April 2020. ©Angela N.

Playgrounds were closed during the initial shutdown:

March 21, 2020 ©Angela N.

Even on a nice spring day, the Mall was almost deserted in the weeks after the pandemic began:

April 2020. ©Angela N.

With no large indoor events in the first year of the pandemic, people started creating informal music gatherings outside.

©Rob Klug

The District’s Open Streets program became a popular way to enjoy the relative safety of outdoor activities.

Georgia Avenue, 2021. ©Angela N.

People got married outside in public places, with few guests and often curious onlookers.

At the Lincoln Memorial ©Rob Klug

Restaurants adapted by creating outdoor seating with tables spread apart.

©Angela N.

Dining igloos became a popular alternative for the more expensive restaurants.

Thanksgiving 2020, Fiola Mare ©Victoria Pickering

With gyms closed in the early months, people turned to using the steps of public buildings for alternatives.

Watergate steps by the Lincoln Memorial, ©Rob Klug

Traditional public celebrations and festivals were cancelled, but people found ways to evoke some of the spirit:

Creating a sign for Pride, Lafayette Park, June 2020. ©Rob Klug

Bird watching

Bird watching became much more popular during the period when indoor activities were closed, as people tried to focus more on the environment around them.

©Miki Jourdan
©Angela N.
©Rob Klug

Wishing the best for our city and its residents as the pandemic continues to impact our lives.

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