Mayor Bowser’s Wednesday Briefing on COVID-19 Vaccinations & Inaugural Security
by Larry Janezich
Posted January 14, 2021
Mayor Bowser held a briefing on Wednesday along with Director of the DC Health Department Nesbitt and Acting Chief of Police Contee.
Here are some of the highlights from the briefing:
- The 6700 appointments available on Monday were gone by mid-day. A new round of appointments will be made available as soon as DC receives more vaccine from the federal government.
- The office of the Chief Information Officer is working to correct glitches in the rollout of the vaccination program.
- The system should have shut down access to registration for an appointment once no appointments were available. It did not and that is being addressed.
- If you filled out the registration form on line and did not get an appointment you have to re-register.
- DC Health has doubled the number of operators in call centers to help register those who do not have access to the internet. Those call centers access the registration portal and fill out registration documents for those who call in.
- The decision to vaccinate those over 65 instead of the CDC recommended 75 plus was made locally because of the disproportionate number of cases in racial and ethnic groups.
- Health care systems like Kaiser, George Washington, Johns Hopkins, and Sibley are distributing the vaccine to their members within those health care system.
- It will not be possible to deliver vaccine to individuals who are home bound owning to storage requirements.
- Vaccine can be delivered to those homebound in large venues.
- It’s premature to say that last week’s public gathering and insurrection at the Capitol contributed to the record number of new cases announced on January 11. That elevated figure may be related to holiday travel.
- Maryland has reported two cases of the variant strain of the COVID – 19 virus. It has a higher rate of transmission; it is not a question of if it will get to DC, but when. New restrictions may have to be imposed to control spread of the variant.
- Nesbitt knocked down the perception that those vaccinated can stop wearing masks after completing the vaccination regimen. She said, “We don’t know a lot about an individual’s ability to acquire or transmit in a post-vaccination situation“.
- Acting Chief Contee said the main security concern is through this weekend and beyond. (There have been press reports of a march of militants on Sunday, a protest demonstration on Inaugural day, and a demonstration in support of the female insurrectionist who was shot while storming the Capitol on January 6.)
- There are two additional demonstration planned for this month. A March for Reparations is being planned for January 20 – 21, and a Right to Life March on January 29.
- The final number of National Guard in DC will be determined by the Secret Service, but will be “upwards of 20,000”.
- There will be signification impacts to travel including closure of Metro stations, roads, and hotels. There will be a lot of security personnel in the city and officials are trying to balance their housing needs with the need to discourage people from travelling to DC for the Inaugural.
- Air B&B has cancelled reservations for Inaugural week.
- DC can refuse to issue permits for public gatherings based on a health emergency, but can’t stop public gatherings. Bowser said that permits were not issued for the BLM demonstrations last summer.
- The Inaugural falls into a National Special Event category and that brings in an entirely different command and control operation.