Thursday marks one year since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic and the landscapes of our lives began to change forever.
COVID-19 has affected lives in the Washington, D.C., area in more ways than we can count, changing our workdays, schooldays, commutes, how we’re able to be together, who we have lost and much more.
This is the story of the past year — what we’ve lost and what we’ve found. Read more here.
What the Data Shows
D.C. reported 122 new cases and one additional death. In Maryland, 924 new cases were reported and 12 people died. Virginia recorded 879 new cases and 57 deaths.
The seven-day average in our region appears to be leveling off. D.C. is currently at 159 cases, Maryland is at an average of 818 and Virginia is reporting an average of 1,127 cases.
Hospitalizations continue to fall. There are 925 Virginians hospitalized for COVID-19, the lowest count reported since November.
In Maryland, 788 people are hospitalized – down 13 from Wednesday. D.C.'s hospitalization count is up by three cases to 165.
Local Coronavirus Headlines
Prince George's County to Reopen at 50% Capacity
Prince George's County will reopen at 50% starting on Friday at 5 p.m., Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced at a press conference Thursday.
Establishments including movie theaters, gyms, indoor dining, restaurants, banquet halls, receptions, meeting rooms and houses of worship will all be affected.
Indoor private gatherings are limited to a maximum of 20 people and outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 50 people.
Mask wearing and other safety protocols will continue to be required in public places and public transportation.
Maryland will also lift capacity restrictions on restaurants, bars, religious facilities and gyms on Friday – however at 100% capacity.
Individual counties remain empowered to reopen or maintain restrictions based on their own metrics. Being one of the counties hardest hit by the pandemic, Alsobrooks chose not to fully reopen with the rest of the state.
“While we are not ready open as far as the rest of the state at this point, we are pleased by the information the health department is seeing, and our metrics tell us that we can safely do more than we are currently doing,” Alsobrooks said.
Alsobrooks expressed her optimism that the county is heading in the right direction, highlighting the declining case rate, infection rate and positivity rate.
Vaccinations are also up in the county. The county can now administer up to 15,000 vaccines per week. The health department is currently operating five vaccination clinics around the county.
"I'm happy to be able to say that the future of Prince George's County is beginning to look much brighter," Alsobrooks said.
We will not “throw caution to the wind,” she said, noting that all Prince Georgians should continue following best practices and safety protocols.
DC Vaccine Preregistration System Working, Mayor Says
Nearly 80,000 people preregistered to receive COVID-19 vaccines within the city’s first day-and-a-half of using the system, Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday.
D.C. has partially and fully vaccinated nearly 20,000 residents, the majority of which are senior citizens.
The new preregistration portal launched Wednesday and has worked without issues as of Thursday morning, the mayor said.
As of Wednesday night, 77,141 people had preregistered. More than 33,000 people, though, were not eligible to receive the vaccine.
D.C. will send out more than 13,500 appointment notices Friday morning. Once residents receive those notices, they will have 48 hours to sign up for vaccine appointments.
More Local Headlines
- Amid concerns that Maryland isn't distributing vaccines equitably, Gov. Larry Hogan and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced that more shots will be set aside at a mass vaccination site for county residents.
- D.C. launched a new vaccine pre-registration system. Here are your questions about it, answered.
- Maryland will lift capacity restrictions on restaurants, bars, religious facilities and gyms starting Friday at 5 p.m., but several safety precautions will remain in place, the governor announced.
- Other than supply, equity continues to be one of the biggest issues plaguing the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Maryland.
- A story to make you smile: A Maryland EMT reunited with his grandmother after a year by giving her the COVID-19 vaccine.
- The District’s high-capacity COVID-19 vaccination clinics received rave reviews from many residents who showed up for their one-shot dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
- A year after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency following the state’s first three confirmed cases of COVID-19, one of those patients says she's still traumatized by social media's reaction to her diagnosis.
- In the next few weeks, many more Virginians will be heading to pharmacies for their shots. But there's still one problem — not all the pharmacies can coordinate with the state's vaccine waiting list.
- D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser lost her only sister and oldest sibling to COVID-19.
- More than 1,000 Washington, D.C., residents have now died of COVID-19.
- NBC News is making finding information on when, how and where to obtain your coronavirus vaccination easier with its Plan Your Vaccine website.
- Medical schools across the country report a spike in applications, especially from students of color. At Georgetown University’s medical school, applications are up 24% overall and 40% from underrepresented minorities. The University of Maryland along with Howard University have also seen a rising number of applicants.
Key Charts and Graphs
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.
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
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.