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.
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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.
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.
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- The high level of coronavirus cases is putting stress on Northern Virginia hospitals — and the health care professionals who work there.
- 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.
- 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.
- Help is available for thousands of D.C. residents who have fallen behind on rent payments.
- 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.
- A judge upheld Montgomery County, Maryland's ban on indoor dining.
- D.C. has suspended indoor dining until 5 a.m. on Jan. 15, Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a press release.
- Virginia instituted a curfew and a stricter mask mandate.
- 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%.
- 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.