Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Dec. 4

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

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More dire statements are coming from the country's top infectious disease experts after the U.S. on Thursday say set another record for COVID-19 deaths.

The data is clear: D.C., Maryland and Virginia haven’t been spared from the massive surge and worsening pandemic. Diagnoses and hospitalizations are up, as are the percent of tests coming back positive.

The region broke its record for most coronavirus cases diagnosed in a single day Friday, hitting 5,928. Most of those diagnoses were in Maryland, which also broke a record in diagnosing 3,792 cases.

Seven-day averages of new cases grew again Friday after a slowdown.

A total of 32 people in D.C., Maryland and Virginia died in the past day from COVID-19.

Amid the surge, the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is telling Americans to avoid travel at all costs, even though it’s difficult to stay apart during the holiday season.

“Don’t travel, don’t congregate together. I know how difficult that is,” Fauci said. “Right now, that just should not be done.”

Separately, President-elect Joe Biden has asked Fauci to stay on in his administration, “in the exact same role he's had for the past several presidents,” as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the nation's top infectious-disease expert.

Biden said he asked Fauci to be a chief medical adviser as well as part of his COVID-19 advisory team. Fauci told NBC's “Today” show on Friday, “I said yes right on the spot.”

The district will not get enough COVID-19 vaccines in the first round of distribution to cover even 10 percent of the health care workers. The federal government is allocating the doses based on population. News4's Mark Segraves explains what this means and how it’s impacting our region.

As cases surge in the District, officials say the city will not get enough COVID-19 vaccines in the first round to cover even 10% percent of healthcare workers.

That's because the number of doses is based on the city's population and does not account for anyone who commutes from Maryland or Virginia.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to federal officials Thursday, calling this "woefully insufficient."

DC Health Director, Doctor LaQuandra Nesbitt, warns that if this calculation is used in the future the problem for D.C. will only get worse.

Virginia Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger is among the bipartisan group of lawmakers working to get a relief bill passed before the new year.

She says failing to pass a bill is not an option.

“To do anything else is an absolute abdication of the responsibility of every single person who works in this building,” she said while standing outside the Capitol.

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.

The Montgomery County School Board discussed reopening plans at Thursday’s meeting.

Some board members say they're concerned about the negative impact distance learning could be posing for some students.

They ultimately voted to delay deciding on whether to bring students back until later this month, but Superintendent Jack Smith laid out a tentative timeline.

Small groups of students could come back in January, then schools would start phasing in more groups of students at the start of the second semester on Feb. 1, Smith said.

Delaware's governor announced a new stay-at-home advisory in hopes of slowing the surge.

It strongly advises all people in the state to avoid gathering indoors with anyone outside their household from Dec. 14 to Jan. 11.

People must also wear a mask anytime they are indoors with anyone outside their immediate household.

What the Data Shows

Maryland reported its largest-ever one day increase in coronavirus cases on Friday, counting 3,792 new infections.

Another 24 Marylanders died from the disease.

Hospitalizations are also up and now 1,594 Marylanders are being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals.

The positivity rate has hit 8%, above the goal of 5%.

Virginia ended a dayslong streak of declining coronavirus cases. On Friday, 1,820 new cases were reported.

Another seven Virginians died of the disease. Hospitalizations continue to rise, with 1,486 patients on Friday.

The positivity rate is the highest in the region at 9.8%.

D.C. reported 316 new coronavirus cases on Friday, which pulled the seven-day average upward to 220.

It’s the third time this month and fourth time ever that D.C. reported more than 300 cases in a single day.

One resident died, a 76-year-old man.

D.C.’s daily case rate has hit 29.04 cases per 100,000 residents daily. In phase two, officials’ goal is to have the rate at under 15. Mean test turnaround time is also growing, hitting 3.9 on average.

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How to Stay Safe

There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:

  • 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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