coronavirus DMV Daily Update

Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Jan. 29

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

Thousands of D.C.-area teachers are scheduled to get vaccinated this weekend, as districts including Fairfax and Prince William start thinking about returning kids to classrooms.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan launched a grassroots vaccine confidence campaign Friday, urging all Marylanders to get the shot when it's their turn.

"One particular area of focus for this GoVAX campaign and our statewide vaccination plan will be tackling the initial vaccine hesitancy we see in minority populations and underserved communities," Hogan said.

As more people get vaccinated, there’s also news Friday that gives hope for more vaccines in the near future.

Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine is 66% effective, according to newly released data. That’s less effective than the vaccines currently being administered, but it could still be a game-changer.

The Johnson & Johnson shot only requires one dose and can be stored for three months without ultra-cold storage. It’s also proven effective at protecting against severe disease, which meant fewer hospital stays, and intensive care unit admissions and deaths, the company said.

NIAID Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci explains why the results of a study into the efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are encouraging even when comparing them to Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines which had a higher efficacy rate.

Montgomery County Delays School Reopening

Montgomery County Public Schools are trying to figure out how to get kids back in the classroom.

The school board had originally planned to have students return Monday, but because of a surge in COVID-19 cases, the board pushed reopening back to March 15.

Last week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he wanted schools reopened by March 1st.

The MCPS board is still exploring having some kids back by then, then the majority would come back two weeks later.

Even in normal, non-pandemic times, marriages are hard. So is dating. But the events of the past year have added even more stress to all our relationships. We took a closer look at marriage, divorce, sex and dating in the age of COVID-19.

Maryland-Based Novavax's Shot Shows Promise

Gaithersburg, Maryland-based, Novavax has shown promising results in United Kingdom clinical trials for its coronavirus vaccine.

Novavax announced results from multiple trials this week. A phase three trial in the U.K. found the vaccine to be 89% effective. Against a U.K. variant of the virus, it was still 85% effective.

However, it was not as effective against the South African variant: A smaller trial showed less than 50% efficacy.

A larger study in the U.S. and Mexico has enrolled slightly over half of the needed 30,000 volunteers, the Associated Press reported. Novavax said it’s not clear if the Food and Drug Administration will need data from that study, too, before deciding whether to allow U.S. use.

Metro Employee Dies of COVID-19

Metro lost a fourth employee to the coronavirus as a bus operator passed away after being hospitalized.

Metro has several safety measures in place, including asking riders to wear masks. But during a virtual meeting Thursday, some board members said they continue to get complaints about riders note wearing masks.

Officials say more policing may be needed.

What the Data Shows

Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the D.C. area appear to be working: Seven-day averages of new cases and hospitalizations are trending downward.

Maryland’s average increased to 1,959 new cases on Friday. The state counted 1,616 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, the lowest number since Dec. 8.

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.

Correction (January 30, 2020 12:43 p.m.) A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that Maryland’s average increased to 3,524 new cases on Friday. Virginia reported 3,524 new cases on Friday, not Maryland.

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