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DC surpasses 1,000 COVID-19 deaths

DC surpasses 1,000 COVID-19 deaths
© Bonnie Cash

Washington, D.C.'s mayor proclaimed a day of remembrance Wednesday for residents who have died from COVID-19 as the city's death toll passed 1,000.

Muriel BowserMuriel BowserPence pleaded with military officials to 'clear the Capitol' on Jan. 6: AP The Hill's Morning Report - Biden, McConnell agree on vaccines, clash over infrastructure Washington, D.C. to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to those ages 16 and older MORE (D) called on houses of worship in the District to observe the tragic milestone with a period of mourning at 6 p.m., while encouraging the city's residents to continue following masking and social distancing guidelines.

"This tragic milestone is a reminder that this pandemic has forever changed families and communities. Even when the pandemic ends, for many, the pain and loss will still be there. We will never know just how many lives have been saved through our shared commitment to wearing masks and social distancing, but we continue to make these efforts because we know that every single life saved is precious," Bowser said in a statement.

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"I encourage them to continue wearing their masks, maintaining social distancing, getting tested, staying home if sick, and getting vaccinated when eligible to help keep us all stay healthy, safe and strong," she added.

Bowser also announced in a separate statement that her sister Mercia had died "due to complications related to COVID-19" on Wednesday morning.

"Mercia was loved immensely and will be missed greatly, as the joins the legion of angels who have gone home too soon due to the pandemic," she said.

The nation's capital has seen its rate of new COVID-19 cases drop following a surge over the holiday season; it currently sits at just under 40,000 total confirmed cases since the pandemic began. D.C. recently allowed in-person dining and other aspects of public life to resume after implementing new restrictions in December to slow the virus's spread.

On Monday, the mayor said at a press conference that she was proud of her administration's response to the pandemic.

"I'm very proud of our team, I'm proud of our response and I'm proud of D.C. residents and businesses who have sacrificed a lot to help us make sure that our health care system can accommodate people who need help because they have been impacted by COVID," Bowser said, "So when I look at those numbers, I know we have been able to do that, that we've been able to make sure anybody impacted has a doctor and all of the professionals and equipment that they need."