The number of COVID-19 cases reported in the United States since the start of the pandemic surpassed 25 million this weekend, according to a tally by NBC News.
The nation has also reported more than 419,000 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began more than a year ago.
In the Washington, D.C., area, seven-day rolling averages of new cases have leveled off as of Monday, indicating the spread of the virus is slowing.
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A variant of the COVID-19 virus first found in the United Kingdom last year has been found in Virginia, in the state’s first case, officials say.
A Northern Virginia resident with no reported recent travel history tested positive for the variant, the Virginia Department of Health announced in a statement Monday afternoon.
The variant is “associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19,” the statement said.
Public school teachers in D.C. can begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations starting this week, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced at a press conference Monday.
A total of 3,900 appointments have been made available for DCPS teachers. Already, 70% of those appointments have been filled, Bowser said.
Bowser emphasized the importance of reopening both public schools and charter schools.
D.C. children have “suffered,” she said. “We need our buildings to get open.”
The District is currently in Phase 1B – Tier 2, which includes teachers, essential government workers, and other essential workers.
Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt explained that the tiered rollout of vaccinations within larger phases was implemented in order to adjust to the low quantity of vaccine doses available from the federal government.
But even with this adjustment, the District is unable to fully vaccinate a tier due to the “dismal amount of vaccines we are receiving,” Nesbitt said. “We simply do not have enough vaccine.”
Mayor Bowser also received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday, joining a group of about 50 D.C. officials included in the current phase and tier.
“I hate needles, I’ve gotta tell you,” Bowser said. “But it's important to get the vaccine when it's our turn so we can get our lives back to normal.”
She also encouraged residents to check in with family members and friends that are 65 or older to see if they need any assistance with making a vaccination appointment.
“This vaccine is the key to ending the pandemic and getting our lives back,” Bowser said.
More than 51,421 doses of the vaccine have been administered in D.C. as of Monday. The CDC ranked Washington, D.C., as number one in the nation for efficiency in administering the COVID-19 vaccine, Bowser said.
This week, D.C, is receiving 8,775 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 5,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine with the following breakdown:
- 3,900 doses to Children’s for DCPS in-person staff
- 1,950 doses to Once Medical for public charter school in-person staff
- 1,950 doses to Kaiser for MPD and their eligible patients
- 975 doses to Sibley and Johns Hopkins for the Senior Housing-DCHA initiative and their patients
- 2,975 for appointments made available last week through D.C.’s portal
- 1,500 doses for previously booked appointments
- 300 doses to vaccinated residents of Intermediate Care Facilities
- 100 doses to vaccinate residents of community residential facilities and group homes
- 400 doses to Unity Healthcare to vaccinate patients and individuals experiencing homelessness
- 200 doses to United Medical Center for patients
- 125 doses for pharmacy or provider staff
Maryland has expanded its vaccine rollout to Phase 1C Monday.
Phase 1C includes adults aged 65 to 74, essential workers including postal workers, grocery store workers and other workers in the food industry.
Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks apologized for an error in their coronavirus vaccination portal that allowed people from outside the county to sign up for a shot.
"When we realized, we made adjustments," Alsobrooks said at a press conference Monday.
Alsobrooks said they are now ensuring that only residents – especially senior residents – and people working in Prince George's will be prioritized.
All vaccination appointments for people who don't live and work in the county will be canceled, however second doses for non-residents people who got their first dose in Prince George’s will still be honored.
She congratulated her county's seniors for taking their vaccination appointments seriously saying, "the seniors of Prince George's county do not play." They often showed up at their appointments two to three hours early, Alsobrooks said.
Residents can preregister for their appointment now.
Prince George's County is also preparing to move reopen indoor dining at 25% capacity effective Friday, Jan 29, Alsobrooks announced Monday.
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.
- Washington, D.C. signups– vaccinate.dc.gov
- Maryland signups – www.marylandvax.org/ and covidvax.maryland.gov
- Virginia information – www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/
- Montgomery County – www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/vaccine/
- Prince George's County – www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/3730/COVID-19-Vaccination
- Howard County – www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Health/MM-Alerts-and-Recalls/COVID-19-Vaccine
- Anne Arundel County – aahealth.org/covid-19-vaccine-faq/
- Fairfax County – www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/vaccine
- City of Alexandria – www.alexandriava.gov/health/info/default.aspx?id=119270
- Loudoun County – www.loudoun.gov/covid19vaccine
- Prince William County – coronavirus.pwcgov.org/vaccine-information/ & VDH
To get a better idea of when you'll be eligible to receive a vaccine, use our tool below.
On Friday, the Virginia Health Department said it is changing how it doles out vaccines.
Instead of sending vials directly to hospitals or medical offices, vaccines will now be given out to health departments based on the number of people living in each area.
The change is leaving some people in limbo, including patients at Virginia Hospital Center's Walter Reed Community Center clinic, which has been one of the main vaccine providers in Arlington.
But under the change, the hospital doesn't know how many doses it will receive going forward. The hospital has canceled 10,000 first dose appointments.
Virginia Hospital Center is only canceling appointments for first-time vaccinations.
If you've received the first dose already, your appointment for your second dose still stands.
Those who receive a cancellation notice from VHC will be rescheduled by Arlington County.
On Monday, President Joe Biden is set to reinstate travel restrictions on travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the U.K., South Africa and 26 other European countries to help slow the spread of COVID-19, particularly as concerns about new variants are put under an international spotlight.
Moderna said Monday it is working on a COVID-19 booster shot to protect against a new variant in South Africa.
Moderna’s current vaccine appears to work against the two new strains found in the U.K. and South Africa, although it looks like it may be less effective against the latter, researchers say.
Meanwhile, Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s vaccine, despite trials indicating it is safe. A Chinese government spokesperson has also raised the unsubstantiated theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab.
What the Data Shows
D.C. reported an additional 204 cases and seven deaths on Monday. Maryland had 1,686 new cases and 36 deaths. Virginia reported 4,451 cases and two lives lost.
The seven-day rolling average in the region continued its leveling trend. Average cases rose slightly in D.C. to 210 (up 3 cases from Sunday).
In Maryland, the seven-day average fell to 2,132. In Virginia it decreased by more than 134 cases to 3,309.
Hospitalizations rose slightly in Virginia to 2,572. In Maryland, 1,669 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized. In D.C., hospitalizations fell to 248.
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says school districts should resume in-person learning by March 1 or face legal action, which the state teacher's union says is a threat to educators.
- Police officers who risked their lives during the deadly riots inside the U.S. Capitol have been hailed as heroes. On Friday, Chief Robert Contee said some of those heroes have since tested positive for COVID-19.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's proposed economic relief package would provide $750 for qualifying families if approved by state legislators.
- Maryland reported its first two confirmed cases of the U.K. variant of COVID-19.
- Two D.C. friends got a lucky break while in Giant Food in D.C.: When someone didn't show up for their vaccination appointment, the pharmacist asked a man and his friend if they wanted to get the Moderna shot.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 lifted its ban on indoor dining, but libraries and recreation centers are still closed.
- Virginia instituted a curfew and a stricter mask mandate.
- Maryland tightened restrictions on businesses, bars and restaurants.
- All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed because of rising COVID-19 cases.
- 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 remain partially shut down due to the pandemic.
- Prince George's County tightened restrictions and required masks to be worn outdoors.
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.