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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- Bars and restaurants in Maryland will be able to remain open past 10 p.m. starting Monday, Feb. 1, the governor announced. Restaurants will still be capped at half-capacity indoors.
- Nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities in the D.C. region are still working to convince some of their employees that it's safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
- There are growing concerns the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was also a superspreader event for the men and women defending the building.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan outlined plans to put the infrastructure in place to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations when a higher volume of doses becomes available. Six mass vaccination sites are planned, including one at Six Flags America.
- Georgetown University says it will discipline medical students who received COVID-19 vaccines though they were not eligible to receive them.
- Just as millions of Americans are rolling up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine, the News4 I-Team has learned the outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services made it much harder to get compensated for the most common vaccine injury.
- COVID-19 vaccine supply shortages forced Inova Health System to cancel first-dose appointments for people in Northern Virginia’s Group 1B, a group that includes employees of Fairfax County Public Schools.
- D.C.’s child care workers are asking officials not to push back their COVID-19 vaccinations.
- 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.
- 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.
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.