Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Dec. 28

Here's what to know about the coronavirus data, resources and reopenings across the D.C. area

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President Donald Trump on Sunday signed a $900 billion coronavirus relief package that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals.

The package includes a $600 payment to most Americans, increases food stamp benefits and allocates $1.4 trillion for government agencies.

The U.S. has recorded more than 19 million coronavirus cases and over 333,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a tally by NBC News.

Over the weekend, the U.S. surpassed 19 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to a tally by NBC News. December has been the deadliest month of the pandemic in the U.S. so far, with more than 5.6 million cases and 65,212 deaths as of Monday.

British officials are investigating reports that two people who received the Pfizer vaccine had allergic reactions. Medical experts say that while reactions are rare, they aren’t unheard of for vaccines of any kind and are usually short-lived.

The first wave of Moderna vaccines are reaching more essential personnel in D.C. In the first two weeks, D.C. received 30,000 doses of the vaccine; almost half of these came from Maryland and Virginia. 

Community-based providers such as the nonprofit Bread for the City are now giving the vaccine to their front line workers. The group is expecting to receive 400 doses. CEO George Jones got the vaccine publicly on Monday in what he said was an effort to show others that it’s necessary and safe. 

Designated essential workers will be vaccinated at afternoon clinics from 1–4 p.m. through January at Bread for the City. Then, the nonprofit expects to receive a second shipment.

D.C. health officials say the District is getting far fewer doses than needed because the federal government is allocating vaccines based on the population of a jurisdiction, rather than the size of its workforce. Many people who work in D.C. live in Maryland or Virginia. 

Essential workers now included in the first wave to get the vaccine are: staff and residents at assisted living facilities; urgent care workers; pharmacy staff and home health aides. 

Chris Geldart, director of operations for the city’s COVID-19 response, said Monday that he hopes distribution will be wider in January and February. 

“We are doing well here as a city, but we are beholden to the federal government in moving along the supply chain,” he said. 

As of Monday, 20,812 people have been vaccinated in Maryland and 41,709 have been vaccinated in Virginia during phase 1 of inoculations. The majority of those vaccinated have been healthcare workers, front line workers, and in some cases, nursing home staff and residents.

Maryland’s total allotment from the federal government for this week will include 140,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 133,575 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, according to a news release from the office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

A Walter Reed physician who publicly criticized President Donald Trump's decision to drive with Secret Service agents and wave to supporters while he was hospitalized with COVID-19 in October, has been removed from the hospital's schedule, according to NBC News.

Dr. James Phillips was the chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University. He was reportedly removed after sending a tweet saying Trump acted "irresponsibly." The tweet has since been deleted.

On being removed from the staff, Dr. Phillips wrote in a tweet Sunday night, “I stand by my words, and I regret nothing."

What the Data Shows

D.C reported 140 more COVID-19 infections Monday. Three more residents died.

Maryland reported 1,985 more cases of the virus and 28 lives lost. Virginia reported 1,937 new cases and 16 additional deaths Monday.

The region has amassed a total of more than 581,000 COVID-19 cases, but the data shows signs that infections are slowing down.

D.C.'s seven-day average has remained stable for the past week, with averages ranging around the 230 mark. The seven-day average in Maryland has also leveled off around 2,300 new cases daily. In Virginia, cases decreased to 2,651 on Sunday.

Hospitalizations in the region are still high, but no new records were broken Monday. In Virginia, 2,231 residents are currently hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19. In Maryland, the tally is at 1,738. D.C. reports that 232 people were hospitalized as of Sunday.

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Reopening Tracker

Although COVID-19 treatments have improved and a vaccine is on the way, even a mild case of the virus can cause long-term complications — including the possibility of erectile dysfunction. Infectious disease expert Dr. Dena Grayson joined LX News with a warning not to let our guards down as we wait for a vaccine.

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.
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