A troubling spike in coronavirus deaths in the D.C. area comes as a local school is put into the national conversation over reopening schools in the fall.
Forty-eight people died from coronavirus in a single day across D.C., Maryland and Virginia, health officials said Thursday, the largest single-day increase in deaths since June 16.
But Prince George's County, which has had the highest infection numbers in Maryland, shows some encouraging signs: About 10,000 are being tested every week, and a lower percentage of results are coming back positive.
The Trump administration at a press conference Wednesday pushed the idea that students should return to school full-time in fall, saying it's necessary for their physical health, mental wellbeing and educational progress.
Fairfax County schools said officials are considering changes to its reopening plan after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the district's springtime attempt at distance learning was a disaster.
What the Data Shows
Infections are trending upward in Maryland and Virginia. Maryland recorded 586 new cases Thursday, the largest single-day increase since June 13.
Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks touted positive signs for the county on Thursday: The number of positive tests has fallen to about 6%, down from a high of 43% in April.
"This is astonishing," Alsobrooks said, praising residents for staying home and wearing masks. "Prince Georgians have made sure that we have cared for each other."
D.C. reported 37 new cases. After a troubling jump of 74 cases reported on Wednesday, the decline brings the number of new cases back in line with levels reported during late June and early July.
It could indicate that Wednesday's spike was due to a lag in reporting.
More than 8,400 coronavirus tests were administered last week by the city, up from just about 1,500 at the beginning of June.
Following the holiday weekend, long lines have been reported at free testing sites at firehouses: On Wednesday, the line to get tested at a Chevy Chase-area firehouse wrapped around the block 90 minutes after the site opened.
Those who died Wednesday include four D.C. residents, aged between 58 and 71; 11 Marylanders and 33 Virginians, according to official health data. Wednesday was the deadliest day for coronavirus patients since June 16, when 60 lives were recorded lost.
The map below shows the number of coronavirus cases diagnosed per 1,000 residents.
Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia
COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- D.C. is seeing up to a 7-day wait for individuals' coronavirus test results to come back as demand increases. Read more.
- Prince Geoge's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks bit back at the idea that the area bore a high case burden because it's a majority-black county with a high Latino population.
"What we know is that our county is dense and urban. We house one of the largest segments of the federal workforce. Along with a good number of our residents are essential workers," she said.
- More than 1.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a historically high pace that shows that many employers are still laying people off in the face of a resurgent coronavirus. Read more.
- After problems in Maryland's mostly mail-in primary last month, Gov. Larry Hogan has directed all polling locations and early voting centers to open for November's election. He also directed absentee ballot request applications to be mailed for every eligible Maryland voter. Read more.
- D.C. is concerned there may be "excess deaths" not attributed to coronavirus because residents are avoiding hospitals. Read more.
- More than 5,000 Washington, D.C.-area child care centers remain closed, some of which will never reopen, according to a review of state records by the News4 I-Team. Read more.
- Some dealers at MGM National Harbor say they do not feel safe after a fellow dealer tested positive for COVID-19. Learn more.
- Novavax Inc., a biotechnology company based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, has received $1.6 billion from the federal government to develop, test and manufacture its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Read more.
- At least 120 nursing homes and 1,000 deaths have been removed from a public list of coronavirus outbreaks in Maryland. Read more.
- Virginia entered phase three reopening on July 1, loosening restrictions on restaurants, stores, gyms and pools.
- Prince George's County entered full phase two on June 23, allowing the MGM Casino and gyms to reopen.
- Washington, D.C., entered phase two on June 22, allowing indoor dining, gyms, libraries and houses of worship to reopen with restrictions.
- Montgomery County entered phase two on June 19, reopening with restrictions gyms, houses of worship, indoor dining and retail.
- Maryland entered phase two of reopening on June 10, permitting indoor dining, outdoor pools and outside amusements to reopen.
How to Stay Safe
There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are the CDC guidelines.
- Anyone over the age of 2 should wear a mask or face covering. Keep it over your nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands often. When you do, scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. As a backup, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who lives outside your home. That means staying six feet away from anyone outside your circle, even if you're wearing masks.
- Always cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Sophia Barnes, Andrea Swalec and Anisa Holmes contributed to this report