This afternoon, a 74-year old Covid-19 patient who lives a mile and a half from my home has invited 2,000 guests to mingle on his lawn. There is no indication he will require masks or social distancing at this event. This man had a similar event on September 26, followed by a smaller indoor reception. A number of attendees tested positive for Covid-19 soon after the event. It is unclear if this man already had Covid-19 on that day, or if he contracted it at that event. This same man has spent much of the past week posting bizarre conspiracies to social media in all caps with many exclamation points.
The D.C. department of health and Mayor Muriel Bowser are powerless to shut down the event because this man’s house is on Federal property. The authorities who act as the department of health and the chief of facilities management for Federal land are equally powerless, because their boss is the man in question.
Mayor Bowser might have the city health department or the Metropolitan Police stand at the gate to this man’ s house wearing biohazard suits and handing out cautionary flyers to people entering or exiting the event, letting them know that the D.C. department of health considers the event a dangerous violation of Covid-19 precautions, and that they should be tested regularly in the days to come, that they should quarantine and avoid sharing indoor air with loved ones for fourteen days. But anyone attending the event has probably already heard these recommendations and dismissed them as theatrical and meaningless. Surely the man who invited them wouldn’t put them at risk! Surely he knows what he’s doing!
I don’t know if there are 2,000 people who will accept such an invitation on short notice, but some of them will spread out this afternoon in the direction of my neighborhood and share space with Uber drivers and friends and family. Those event attendees, Uber drivers, friends, and family are sure to cross paths with my neighborhood grocery store workers, postal workers, restaurant workers, bus drivers, baristas, writing buddies, neighbors, friends.