Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the city’s state of emergency into 2022 even though there have been fewer than a dozen coronavirus deaths over the past month and local transmission remains at a seven-day average rate of 20 new daily cases per 100,000 people. The vaccination rates in the district are also well above average, with more than 70% of residents either partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The data are clear: The pandemic is no longer an emergency here. It hasn’t been for quite some time. Indeed, Washington residents are now more likely to die from gunshots than from COVID-19. Yet city officials are dragging this out as long as they can, with prolonged mask mandates and now an extended emergency order that allows Bowser to implement new restrictions whenever she wants.
But here’s the kicker: Bowser’s state of emergency allows the city to continue receiving federal reimbursement funds and additional federal coronavirus relief, according to local news outlet WTOP. None of this has anything to do with health and safety — it’s about power and money.
As long as there is money to rake in, the coronavirus “state of emergency” will never end — city officials have made that clear. They refuse to set specific parameters for lifting restrictions, and now we understand why. The pandemic theater must go on.
Businesses have started refusing to comply. Bowser doesn’t even bother to follow her own mask mandates half the time — why should anyone else? Flu season is approaching, and soon they’ll use that to justify prolonged mask mandates and school closures. The sooner we stop listening, the sooner this will all be over.