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

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

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AstraZeneca's vaccine may be the first proven to prevent people from spreading the virus.

The new study from Oxford University still needs to be peer reviewed, but the results indicate the vaccine reduces transmission by 67% and is 76% effective at preventing disease after one dose.

The vaccine hasn't been cleared by the FDA for use in the United States.

Officials say the Biden administration is on track to meet the president’s goal of giving out 100 million shots within their first 100 days in office.

Maryland Vaccination Sites

A former testing site at Six Flags has now been transformed into a mass vaccination clinic. News 4's Cory Smith explains how you can get a shot.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in his State of the State address Wednesday that the vaccine shortage is one of the top pressing issues.

“Unfortunately, right now the amount of vaccines being allocated by the federal government is just a tiny fraction of what we need. That is the hard truth not just for us in Maryland, but for every state in America,” Hogan said.

Two mass vaccination sites will open Friday in Maryland, including at Six Flags America in Prince George’s County. The county has contacted those eligible for first-round appointments.

The view from chopper 4 on Thursday shows the work the state’s national guard has done to get the Six Flags America site ready, but less than 24 hours before it opens questions and concerns remain.

With supplies limited, nine congressional Maryland democrats have called for a course correction on vaccination distribution and demanded answers to a series of questions, among them – how will the state-run mass vaccination sites coordinate with county health departments to avoid confusion?

The governor has said the sites are being setup now so there’s no delay when more vaccine is available.

The first batch of appointments are being given to individuals already on the county’s pre-registration list.

Appointments will be made available to all Marylanders after the county pre-registers those eligible for vaccinates on Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan's office said in a statement.

1 in 5 Virginians Don’t Plan to Get Vaccinated: Poll

Demand for the vaccine far outpaces supply, but many people aren’t eager to get the shot.

A new Wason Center poll found that 19% of Virginians said they would never get a COVID-19 vaccine. The number is higher among Black Virginians, at 26%.

Residents of Virginia who are Black are also less likely to rush to get the vaccine, the poll indicates. About half of white residents would get a shot as soon as one is available to them, compared to 29% of Black residents.

“This is consistent with concerns within the Black community that stem from historical mistreatment in medical research and health care,” Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, research director of the Wason Center, said in a press release.

Differences are also evident among different political groups. More than half of Democrats say they would get a shot right away (56%) compared to 37% of Republicans surveyed.

The vaccinated population in D.C. may be overestimated in this map because some non-residents who work in D.C. are included in the totals.

Montgomery County, DC Target Vaccinations in High-Risk Communities

Montgomery County is planning to fight a disparity in who’s getting vaccines by targeting high-impact ZIP codes.

While the county's COVID-19 numbers are steadily improving, officials say the racial disparities in vaccine registration are concerning.

The majority of county residents who’ve signed up for a vaccination appointment are white.

News4's Juliana Valencia has the update on Montgomery County's fight against coronavirus.

Health officials will now dedicate a portion of the county’s doses to people in high-impact ZIP codes.

“The county doses will be based on case rates and death rates by race and ethnicity for folks living in those ZIP codes,” Dr. Raymond Crowel, Director of the Montgomery County Health Department, said.

Like Montgomery County, D.C. is also prioritizing residents in areas considered high-risk. At 9 a.m., 1,800 vaccine appointments opened for D.C. residents who are living in priority ZIP codes in Wards 5, 7 and 8.

At 9 a.m. Friday, nearly 2,000 appointments will open for residents citywide. Groups currently eligible for a vaccine in D.C. include people over 65 and those who work in health care settings.

Amid complaints that seniors were struggling to access vaccine appointments online, D.C. launched a "senior vaccine buddy" program that will connect those needing help with volunteers from the mayor's office staff. Seniors will be contacted about potential participation.

The District opened its newest shelter for homeless families Wednesday. It's the last part of a system of shelters that replaced the old D.C. General shelter. News4’s Mark Segraves reports it's opening just as the District begins vaccinating its homeless population for COVID-19.

D.C. is also working to give COVID vaccines to residents who are experiencing homelessness. So far, 115 members of the community have received their first shot.

“We’re all safer when people are vaccinated,” Director of the D.C. Department of Human Services Laura Zeilinger said. At least 24 residents experiencing homelessness have died from COVID-19 and more than 460 have tested positive for the virus.

D.C. residents who are over age 65 and veterans can contact the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center for appointments at 202-745-8000.

Capitol Police Says It Has Secured Vaccines for All Employees

U.S. Capitol Police have secured enough doses of COVID-19 vaccine to give shots to all employees, Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a press release Thursday.

The department expects vaccines will be delivered in the near future and is working with the Office of Attending Physician to administer the shots.

Pittman thanked House Speaker Nancy and the Biden administration for helping to acquire the vaccines.

What the Data Shows

Low case increases and hospitalizations were reported around the capital region today.

D.C. reported 166 new cases and six additional deaths. Maryland had 1,554 new cases and 31 deaths. Virginia recorded 1,998 new cases and 43 lives lost.

Seven-day averages fell sharply across the board. D.C. had a five-day streak of declining cases – average cases dropped to 176 on Thursday.

Maryland’s seven-day average is now at 1,470, with cases falling for a week straight. Virginia is down to 2,301 average cases, following six consecutive days of decline.

Nearly 2.5 million doses of vaccine have been distributed throughout D.C., Maryland and Virginia, according to CDC data. About 1.51% of the population in Maryland and 1.62% in Virginia have now been fully vaccinated.

When D.C. last reported a figure, almost 1% of the city's residents had been vaccinated. Nesbitt said Thursday that 70-80% of the population needs to be for herd immunity, which is when the general population is protected from a disease's spread.

A recent poll conducted by the Wason Center found that 67% of Virginians personally know at least one person who has been infected with COVID-19. Almost one-third of the poll’s respondents also knew someone who had died of complications related to COVID-19.

Vaccination Portals by County

As vaccinations in our region ramp up, here's a look at local portals residents can use to sign up for vaccination appointments or sign up to receive alerts.

To get a better idea of when you'll be eligible to receive a vaccine, use our tool below.

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.
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