An additional 190 D.C. residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the District’s count to over 20,000 infections. As of Sunday, 136 people are being treated for the virus in D.C. hospitals.
Infections continue to surge elsewhere in our region as D.C., Maryland and Virginia are on track to surpass a total of 400,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases by Monday.
The first COVID-19 immunizations could happen as soon as Dec. 12, according to the head of the U.S. effort to produce a coronavirus vaccine.
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee is set to meet Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer Inc.’s request for an emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, head of the Operation Warp Speed, says plans are to ship vaccines to states within 24 hours of expected FDA approval and for vaccinations to begin on the second day after approval, Dec. 12.
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In general, the vaccine will first become available for "high-priority" groups until production can meet demand.
High-priority groups generally include health care workers, first responders, the elderly or immunocompromised individuals, with some variation by state.
D.C.’s Health Department is asking residents to fill out a survey in order to determine how many people would be willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
The online survey also asks how concerned residents are about the pandemic and whether they’ve received a flu shot yet.
The Elaine Ellis Center of Health rolled COVID-19 testing into its annual tradition of handing out Thanksgiving dinners to families in need Saturday.
"Given the current rise and surge of the virus, we wanted to be as strategic as possible in offering COVID-19 testing while they wait for their turkeys and all their sides," said Timothy Walker, Chief Operating Officer.
"We want to maximize the opportunity to touch the lives of the patients we serve," Walker said.
The United States topped 12 million cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The country recorded more than 200,000 new infections over the last 24 hours. The total number of deaths is 255,567.
In some much needed positive news, data from the COVID-19 Tracking Project indicates that 10 states are reporting a downturn in cases compared to last week, a far cry from the unilateral increase reported in recent days.
The FDA has green-lit emergency authorization for Regeneron's COVID-19 antibody treatment, the experimental drug cocktail given to President Donald Trump when he contracted the coronavirus in October.
The drug has been shown to be effective in preventing severe illness in people infected with the coronavirus, NBC News reports.
Regeneron's drug was approved to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 cases for both adults and children over the age of 12 who are at risk of developing severe symptoms.
What the Data Shows
D.C. reported an additional 190 COVID-19 cases Sunday. No new deaths were recorded.
The seven-day average metric indicates that cases have leveled-off recently, with cases remaining in the mid 160s since Thursday. However, that’s still double the number of daily cases D.C. reported at the start of the month.
Cases continue to surge dramatically in Maryland where an additional 2,222 cases and 18 deaths were reported.
The state’s seven-day average is 2,323, nearly 1,500 cases higher than the start of November.
In Virginia, 1,745 new cases and no additional deaths were recorded Sunday. The state’s seven-day average (1,721) is more than 700 cases higher than it was on Nov. 1.
A total of 136 coronavirus patients are hospitalized in D.C.
Maryland reported 1,237 hospitalizations and Virginia has 1,118, a decrease from Saturday's reported 1,158 hospitalizations.
Although several key metrics have been headed in the wrong direction for weeks, representing thousands of sickened Marylanders, testing is increasing.
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- A total of 51,510 coronavirus tests were administered in Maryland on Friday, the highest-ever on a single day.
- The Smithsonian is shutting down its museums and the National Zoo once again due to recent spikes in COVID-19 cases.
- A program that provided extended unemployment benefits to out-of-work Virginians will end Saturday.
- 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.
- The Metro board voted Thursday to close a budget gap by changing how often trains run.
- The University of Maryland’s football game against Michigan State University scheduled for Saturday has been canceled as a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the Terrapins’ locker room.
- Officials have reversed a decision to cancel the annual Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery. The event, held in December, will happen after all.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday how the state will allocate about $70 million in federal aid as the state braces for months of rising coronavirus cases.
- Eight players on the University of Maryland football team tested positive for COVID-19. The game against Ohio State has been canceled.
- Maryland released a new contact tracing app, and has reduced indoor operations for bars and restaurants from 75% to 50% in response to rising coronavirus cases and increased hospitalizations.
- A review by the News4 I-Team has found concerns that Prince George’s County, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state, has received what some are calling an underwhelming share of the more than $165 million in aid thus far.
- D.C. now requires travelers from all but four states get tested for COVID-19, once before travel and again if they plan to stay in the District for more than three days. Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii and Vermont are the exceptions.
- Maryland will tighten restrictions on businesses, bars and restaurants starting Friday at 5 p.m.
- All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo will close because of rising COVID-19 cases, officials announced Thursday.
- Hours before some Fairfax County students were set to return to in-person learning on Tuesday, the school district said that they needed to delay the plan.
- Courts throughout Maryland partially shut down Monday due to the pandemic.
- Virginia announced new measures to fight COVID-19 as cases of the virus have spiked across the country.
- Prince George's County has tightened restrictions and requires masks to be worn outdoors.
- Montgomery County reduced capacity limits at many businesses, including for indoor dining, to 25%. The county previously stopped giving waivers for alcohol sales after 10 p.m.
- D.C.'s mayor extended the city's coronavirus state of emergency to last through the end of the year.
How to Stay Safe
There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:
- 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.