Health officials are bracing for another deadly wave of cases after millions of people traveled for Thanksgiving.
Many of these travelers may be "silent carriers" who haven't seen COVID-19 impact their own family and may think the pandemic is less serious than it is, says Dr. Fabian Sandoval, CEO at Emerson Clinical Research Institute in D.C.
"Those people need to come to the hospitals and see what's happening," he says. "They need to see the people that are dying, of all ages."
There is further concern that those who became exposed to the virus around Thanksgiving are likely to get sick around Christmastime when people will be traveling again, compounding the problem further.
The concerns come as D.C. reported the 371 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, the highest 24-hour increase since the pandemic began.
D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs shut down locations of the fitness studio Solidcore on Friday and Saturday after the founder said she would keep them open in defiance of new COVID-19 restrictions.
Founder and CEO Anne Mahlum said clients had visited Solidcore gyms more than 340,000 times since late June without one instance of the virus spreading and argued that the studios were safe enough to remain open.
As the race to approve a coronavirus vaccine heats up, officials are warning that criminals and opportunists may also ramp up their efforts to take advantage of the American public.
“The FDA is particularly concerned that these deceptive and misleading products might cause Americans to delay or stop appropriate medical treatment, leading to serious and life-threatening harm,” the agency said in a recent statement.
Homeland Security investigators say they are working with Pfizer, Moderna and dozens of other drug companies to prepare for the scams that are coming.
"We're super excited about the fact that they'll all be able to experience the magic of the holiday season," said Emma Dockery, who started the Yellow Ribbons United non-profit with her husband Derrick Dockery seven years ago in honor of Emma's brother who passed away in Afghanistan.
What the Data Shows
Monday's data shows that while cases continue their upward surge in D.C. and Virginia, Maryland is showing encouraging signs that infections are slowing down.
D.C. reported an additional 104 coronavirus cases and no additional deaths Monday. The single-day increase is down from an all-time high of 371 reported on Saturday.
D.C.'s seven-day rolling average is currently at 180 cases, about double the city's average at the beginning of November.
As more residents seek testing for the virus, they'll have to wait longer than ever to get their results back. The average COVID-19 test turnaround time is now at 4.3 days.
D.C. hospitals are currently treating 158 residents with COVID-19.
Maryland reported 1,923 new coronavirus cases and 16 deaths. The state's seven-day rolling average is at 2,082, continuing a two-week leveling trend.
Although new infections in Maryland appears to be slowing, hospitalizations are still rising. Currently 1,527 Marylanders are in the hospital with COVID-19.
Virginia reported 1,471 new cases and four additional deaths Monday. The state's seven-day rolling average (1,873) is down from an all-time high (2,059) reported on Saturday.
Hospitalizations in Virginia are up to 1,331, the highest they've ever ben.
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- Fairfax County health officials released a list of holiday coronavirus guidelines, breaking up activities into varying risk categories.
- Some Fairfax County students have returned to all-virtual learning amid a rise in coronavirus cases.
- A total of 51,510 coronavirus tests were administered in Maryland last 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 ended earlier this month.
- 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 to close a budget gap by changing how often trains run.
- 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 how the state will allocate about $70 million in federal aid as the state braces for months of rising coronavirus cases.
- 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 tightened restrictions on businesses, bars and restaurants.
- All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo closed because of rising COVID-19 cases, officials announced.
- 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 partially shut down 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 tightened restrictions and required 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:
- 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.