News & Politics

A Bunch of High-Profile People in DC Are Getting Covid

Mayor Muriel Bowser, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and others test positive as cases in the District rise.

Bowser. Photo courtesy Street Sense via Flickr.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Thursday morning that she’s tested positive for Covid-19 after experiencing allergy-like symptoms. Both an at-home and PCR test confirmed the results. 

Bowser, who lost her sister, Mercia Bowser, to Covid-19 last year, added: “Prayerfully, my household will remain negative. I continue to experience mild cold-like/allergy-like symptoms. I’m grateful that I can work at home while following isolation protocols.”

Also on Thursday, Nancy Pelosi’s office announced that the Speaker of the House has tested positive but is “currently asymptomatic.”  Pelosi will delay leading a Congressional delegation to Asia, according to Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill, and will quarantine per CDC guidance. “The Speaker is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is thankful for the robust protection the vaccine has provided,” he added.

Pelosi and Bowser are the latest in a growing number of high-profile Washingtonians to test positive—almost all after reportedly experiencing mild symptoms. A dinner at the Gridiron Club on Saturday has been labeled a “super spreader” event after more than a dozen A-list guests tested positive—all of whom were asked to show proof of vaccination but not negative results, according to the Washington Post. Those infected include representatives Adam Schiff and Joaquin Castro, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Vice President Kamala Harris’s Communications Director, Jamal Simmons.

Late last month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who is fully vaccinated, tested positive for a second time. So did former President Obama after feeling “a scratchy throat for a few days.”

The boldface names are just a small, prominent portion of the population that’s newly infected. According to the Washington Post Covid tracker, new cases are up 57 percent from last week, with a daily average of 144 cases. Part of the change in the data could be the way it’s reported. In March, after nearly two years of reporting Covid-19 data daily, the DC Department of Health changed to reporting stats weekly on Wednesdays. A rise in Covid cases could also be pinpointed to changes in policy. After adopting some of the most rigorous Covid protocols in the country, DC dropped its mask and proof-of-vaccine mandates in February.

The rise in Covid cases comes in the midst of a busy spring event season in Washington, with many large gatherings planned this month, including the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 30.


Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.