Coronavirus updates for D.C., Maryland and Virginia for Saturday

Mar 28, 2020 10:15 PM ET

One veranda after another filled with residents along 3300 of 18th Street NW on Friday evening, and each newcomer offered a pair of clapping hands.

The ovation lasted only a few minutes and included only about a dozen people. For the residents of Mount Pleasant who came out of their homes, however, it was important to join in a worldwide gratitude to healthcare workers worldwide who are fighting the corona virus.

And in this block the applause was for one of her neighbors, a lifelong resident who had left her three-year-old daughter and husband in a district hospital a few days ago for her emergency room.

“Come on! You come out! The eighteenth street has it. Let it run! Yes, healthcare workers! Cried Aaron Myers, 36, on the porch of his home.

In the past few days, the 36-year-old jazz singer has noticed that hard-pressed healthcare workers have left work in a nursing home in his neighborhood and thought they might need encouragement, he said. So Myers posted a request on the neighborhood’s Nextdoor social network and asked his neighbors to come out to clap.

“We are here to encourage them while they continue to fight for us on the front line.

I wanted the neighborhood to say thank you, ”said Myers. “They are dog tired, they don’t get much thanks. I know that dealing with it has to be a scary thing.”

The Friday evening gesture reflected the nighttime greetings shown worldwide in countries hit hard by the deadly virus that has spread across continents. Just a few doors down from Myers, Jairo Valencia and his family lived the burden his neighbors had only read about in the news.

George Washington University nurse Rose Conklin worked her shifts in the emergency room, but just this week Valencia said the couple had decided to move into an apartment with colleagues instead of risking infection of their three-year-old daughter Dahlia.

“It was a difficult decision, but it was a wise decision,” said Valencia in an interview. His wife is now sleeping a few blocks away, but the family has not been together all week. They are considering taking her home to visit her in the back yard, but even a quick visit could be more painful and difficult to think about if Conklin can’t hug her daughter, her husband said.

“We had no personal contact. We have no contact person, ”said Valencia.

The victim of the family made it important for Maria Otero, 69, to step onto her porch to clap next to Myers.

Otero, a former Under Secretary of State in the State Department under Secretary Hillary Clinton, moved to the block in 1989 and has known Conklin since she was four. Otero said it was “heartwarming” and “empowering” to spend a few moments saying thank you, and she was proud to see young people who give everything they have in such an extraordinary time. “

I felt very moved when I joined everyone at a distance of two meters, ”said Otero. “I will be back tomorrow.”

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