Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Dec. 31

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

NBC Universal, Inc.

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises, President Donald Trump is blaming states for the delays in getting vaccines distributed around the country.

Currently, only about 2 million people have been vaccinated across the U.S. — far short from the 20 million promised by the end of the year.

West Virginia leads the country in vaccinations per capita, with Colorado close behind. West Virginia has received over 103,000 doses and administered 39,035.

That’s 2,178 vaccine doses administered per 100,000 residents.

For every 100,000 residents, D.C. has vaccinated 1,611; Virginia 737 and Maryland 583, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Health experts point to problems with the Trump administration's plan putting states in control.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told CBS that the federal government offered “no financial support and no real plan” for administering the vaccines.

Each of Maryland’s 23 counties is creating its own blueprint for distribution of doses. For the most part, hospitals, nursing homes and health offices already slammed due to the pandemic were put in charge of figuring out how to administer vaccines.

“While we’re trying to roll out vaccinations, we’re also continuing the pandemic response by supporting testing, contact tracing, disease control and all of those other aspects of the COVID response,” Montgomery County Health Officer Travis Gayles told the New York Times.

Other factors include lower vaccine allotments than initially planned and slower production, Hogan said.

“It’s not just sticking needles in arms. There’s a lot of moving parts,” Hogan said. “Nobody is quite performing at the top capacity and we’ve got to work to ramp it up.”

Studies show there is still a good deal of mistrust in the coronavirus vaccines as the first wave of shots is rolling out to millions of Americans across the country. Dr. Khalilah Gates and Dr. Melissa Simon, both of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, and who have both already received a first dose of the vaccine, talked to LX News about the importance of educating a skeptical public, rather than asking for faith.

Virginia expects to receive about 100,000 more vaccine doses by the end of this week, but even with this new shipment, the Commonwealth is still falling behind its original vaccination target.

The state health department says about 20% of its COVID-19 vaccines have been administered so far.

Still, one staff member involved in giving vaccinations in Fairfax County urged people to keep these numbers in perspective.

“We typically see vaccine development take years and the fact that we have a vaccine that we are administering here at the end of 2020 is really a testament to the scientists and logisticians who brought us here,” he said.

What the Data Shows

Virginia has reached a new peak in the number of residents hospitalized with COVID-19, hitting 2,388. Another 3,714 residents were diagnosed with the virus, which is a record-high number.

The holiday week may be impacting reporting, however. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is lower than it was one week ago.

Maryland counted 2,973 new cases on Thursday, which is higher than average. Hospitalizations have ticked upward this week, reaching 1,773 on Thursday.

D.C. diagnosed 225 more coronavirus cases on Thursday and reported 234 hospitalizations.

Local Coronavirus Headlines

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.
Contact Us