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.
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.
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.
There were several displays as the death count went above 200,000:
The biggest project was by Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg last fall, as deaths reached 700,000 during the period of the project:
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.
Changes in business and housing
In the first few months of the pandemic, most offices were closed and the buildings stood empty.
With business and personal travel greatly reduced, the once-busy cab line at Union Station fell empty and the income of cab drivers plummeted.
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.
Once vaccines became available, there were efforts to offer free vaccines at many large events.
The streets were restructured to give more room for separation:
Hand-washing stations were put up in public locations:
Playgrounds were closed during the initial shutdown:
Even on a nice spring day, the Mall was almost deserted in the weeks after the pandemic began:
With no large indoor events in the first year of the pandemic, people started creating informal music gatherings outside.
The District’s Open Streets program became a popular way to enjoy the relative safety of outdoor activities.
People got married outside in public places, with few guests and often curious onlookers.
Restaurants adapted by creating outdoor seating with tables spread apart.
Dining igloos became a popular alternative for the more expensive restaurants.
With gyms closed in the early months, people turned to using the steps of public buildings for alternatives.
Traditional public celebrations and festivals were cancelled, but people found ways to evoke some of the spirit:
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.
Wishing the best for our city and its residents as the pandemic continues to impact our lives.