Zhili Sun of China practices Tai Chi surrounded by blooming cherry blossoms near the Tidal Basin on Sunday. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post) Washington’s cherry blossoms are expected to burst toward peak bloom Thursday and Friday as temperatures soar into the toasty 70s and 80s. In a normal year, huge mobs would pack the Tidal Basin. But this year, with the novel coronavirus crisis, local agencies and officials are discouraging crowds while recommending any visitors maintain a safe distance from others. In a typical year, 1.5 million visitors congregate at the Tidal Basin to view the blossoms. The cherry blossoms have already reached their puffy white stage, meaning the flowers are opening up and are forecast to be in full bloom by the weekend, if not sooner. [Cherry blossoms reach penultimate stage, ‘puffy white,’ with peak bloom likely in a few days] “[W]e are aware that many people will visit the Tidal Basin to view the trees,” wrote Mike Litterst, the National Park Service spokesman for the Mall and Memorial Parks. “Although the park is not closed, we encourage all visitors, particularly the most vulnerable, including the elderly and people with underlying conditions, to make smart decisions and to follow CDC

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