As shipments of Moderna’s vaccine begin, local health officials are warning the public not to get complacent during the holiday season.
"My concern is that I don't want people to let their guard down thinking 'well there's a vaccine coming; I'm not going to bother wearing a mask, I'm not going to bother with social distancing,'" Dr. Fabian Sandoval, CEO and Research Director at the Emerson Clinical Research Center, said.
Sandoval is urging people not to travel for the holidays, even though things are looking up in terms of vaccine distribution.
For the first time since March, the TSA screened more than one million passengers three days in a row this weekend, a concerning trend that could lead to another surge in infections.
President-elect Joe Biden will receive his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on live television Monday as part of an effort to convince the American public the inoculations are safe.
“I don’t want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take," Biden has said of his decision.
The live broadcast coincides with another important milestone in the fight against COVID-19 – Moderna's vaccine, the second to be approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will start arriving in hospitals across the country.
Nearly six million doses are expected to go out to more than 3,000 locations around the U.S. this week, NBC Boston reported.
The U.S. has recorded nearly 18 million cases of COVID-19 and 319,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a tally by NBC News.
The District is set to receive 12,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine from the federal government this week, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday.
An additional 8,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine will come from Maryland this week. The Moderna shipments will be allocated among the following sites:
- Long-Term Care Facilitites (30+ sites, 4,500 doses)
- Bread for the City (1 site, 400 doses)
- Bridgepoint (2 sites, 600 doses per site)
- Community of Hope (2 sites, 200 doses per site)
- Giant Food and Pharmacy (5 sites, 600 doses per site)
- Kaiser Permanente (1 site, 3100 doses)
- Mary's Center (1 site, 600 doses)
- Safeway Pharmacy (10 sites, 500 doses per site)
- Saint Elizabeth's Hospital (1 site, 500 doses)
- United Medical Center (1 site, 500 doses)
- Unity Healthcare (2 sites, 700 doses per site)
The second and third shipments of the Pfizer vaccine are also expected to arrive this week – 8,775 doses from Virginia and 4,875 from the federal government.
The Pfizer vaccine shipments will be allocated as follows:
- Children's National Hospital (2,925 doses)
- The George Washington University Hospital (1,950, 975)
- Howard University Hospital (1,950 doses, 975 doses)
- MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (1,950 doses, 975 doses)
- MedStar Washington Hospital Center and the National Rehabilitation Hospital (2,925 doses, 975 doses)
- Sibley Memorial Hospital (1,950 doses, 975 doses)
This week, 36,075 additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 104,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine are set to arrive in Maryland, bringing the state's total allocation to 191,075 doses, which is enough to vaccinate 90% of front line hospital workers, according to a Monday update from the office of Gov. Larry Hogan.
“As laid out in our statewide vaccination plan, our earliest vaccinations are focused on our front line healthcare workers, the residents and staff of our nursing homes,” said Governor Hogan.
“We encourage our hospitals and local health departments to get our critical front line healthcare workers vaccinated as safely and quickly as possible.”
D.C. is preparing a slew of new restrictions to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases.
D.C. is suspending indoor dining effective Dec. 23 at 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. on Jan. 15, Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a press release.
Tents for outdoor dining will only be permitted to have up to two side flaps or walls, not full enclosures, Bowser clarified Monday.
Take-out and delivery will still be allowed, as it was during the previous indoor dining ban. Grocery stores are now exempt from capacity limits, but they've been given a mandate to implement social distancing measures.
Additionally, the order extends the state of emergency and public health emergency for Washington, D.C. through March 31, 2021.
The order prohibits restaurants from seating customers indoors over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Museums and libraries will also be shut down.
The District is following Prince George's and Montgomery counties, which already suspended indoor dining as coronavirus cases rise.
As of Sunday 10 students and 25 staff at several D.C. public schools have tested positive for COVID-19.
As a result, 77 students and 41 staff members have been asked to quarantine.
Eight elementary schools – Langley, HD Cooke, Dorothy Height, Powell, Key, Garrison and Ludlow-Taylor Elementary schools and Leckie Education Campus – have had cases and have switched to online learning.
Officials in D.C., Maryland and Virginia announced on Monday 5,600 additional cases of the virus. Thirty-one more people with COVID-19 died.
The seven-day average of new cases was about steady in D.C. and Maryland on Monday but jumped in Virginia, from 2,667 on Sunday to 2,746 on Monday.
What the Data Shows
D.C. reported 139 more cases of the virus and five more deaths. Health officials flagged the daily case rate (35.1) as high, as well as the percentage of COVID-19 patients out of all patients in hospitals, which is nearly 12 percent.
Maryland reported 2,265 more cases, and another 23 people died. Virginia reported 3,196 cases, and another three people died.
The percentage of COVID-19 patients in D.C. hospitals has more than doubled in past month – from 5.5% on Nov. 21 to 11.7% Dec. 20. As of Monday, 238 D.C. residents are being hospitalized for the virus.
Virginia set a record high Monday with 2,113 patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Hospitalizations in Maryland have fallen from the 1,700s to the 1,600s over the weekend. As of Monday, 1,676 Marylanders are hospitalized with coronavirus.
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- The stress of the pandemic is a grind. A data analysis from the American Dental Association shows a surge in cases of teeth grinding, clenching and cracking during the COVID-19 crisis. The increases are striking and potentially costly and painful for sufferers.
- All Maryland hospitals are expected to receive some COVID-19 vaccines in the next two weeks to begin vaccinating critical frontline staff, a state health official said Tuesday.
- A professor is using the trust Black Americans have in barbers to make them more comfortable with taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Meet "The First Five," the group of D.C. emergency responders who will be the first members of the D.C. Fire and EMS Department to get the COVID-19 vaccine this coming week.
- A rapid antigen test might seem like a great idea when you're in a hurry and don't have time to wait a few days for results, but those tests are really designed for people with COVID-19 symptoms and in asymptomatic patients can deliver false positive results.
- News4 has obtained a list of two dozen Maryland hospitals expected to receive the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines once it receives emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
- Health officials in Virginia say they'll likely have to scale back on contact tracing because coronavirus transmission levels are rising so high.
- Help is available for thousands of D.C. residents who have fallen behind on rent payments.
- D.C. Public Schools is preparing for an ambitious pilot program in which it will regularly test some students and staff for the coronavirus.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced measures to boost the number of available health care workers and plan for more hospital beds.
- COVID-19 numbers continue to paint a dire picture for Black Americans, and there is an ongoing effort in the Black community to increase testing.
- D.C. is set to suspend indoor dining starting Dec. 23 at 10 p.m. and continuing until 5 a.m. on Jan. 15, Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a press release.
- Virginia instituted a curfew and a stricter mask mandate.
- Montgomery County's executive has proposed suspending indoor dining, tighter capacity limits at religious institutions and other new restrictions that would take effect 5 p.m. Tuesday, if approved by the county council.
- Maryland tightened restrictions on businesses, bars and restaurants.
- All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo closed because of rising COVID-19 cases, officials announced.
- Hours before some Fairfax County students were set to return to in-person learning, the school district said that they needed to delay the plan.
- Courts throughout Maryland partially shut down due to the pandemic.
- Virginia announced new measures to fight COVID-19 as cases of the virus have spiked across the country.
- Prince George's County tightened restrictions and required masks to be worn outdoors.
- Montgomery County reduced capacity limits at many businesses, including for indoor dining, to 25%. The county previously stopped giving waivers for alcohol sales after 10 p.m.
- D.C.'s mayor extended the city's coronavirus state of emergency to last through the end of the year.
How to Stay Safe
Anyone can get COVID-19. Here are three simple ways the CDC says you can lower your risk:
- Wear a snug-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth.
- Avoid being indoors with people who are not members of your household. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19. If you are indoors with people you don’t live with, stay at least six feet apart and keep your mask on.
- Wash your hands often, especially after you have been in a public place.