A COVID-19 vaccine could be ready for review as early as November, according to the head of Operation Warp Speed.
"We are on the verge of knowing in the next few weeks whether these vaccines work," said Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Chief Advisor of Operation Warp Speed, who spoke Wednesday at the Moderna Clinical Trial site at George Washington University.
Moderna, which developed a vaccine in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, started its phase three trials in July with a plan to enroll 30,000 volunteers to test the shots.
Participants received two doses of the experimental treatment while others were given a placebo. The participants' immune responses were tracked after each dose.
Moderna will review the treatment's efficacy once 53 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed among all trial participants, which could be as soon as November, due to the size of the trial and the average rate of COVID-19 infection among the general population.
The trial could be considered a success if the treatment at that point is determined to be at least 74% effective, according to Moderna's clinical study protocol.
Virtual learning resumes Thursday for Arlington Public Schools after an internet outage led to the cancellation of classes for more than 25,000 students on Wednesday.
D.C. Public Schools' plan to return elementary school students to classrooms on Nov. 9 will prioritize students who are experiencing homelessness, have special education needs, are at risk or are learning the English language.
Families who will be offered a spot in an in-person learning classroom will be notified by Friday, Oct. 23, school officials said.
Members of the Washington Teachers' Union have protested for several months over returning to the classroom due to health and safety concerns amid the pandemic.
Looking ahead to spring, the 2021 National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade has already been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organizers announced.
“The health and safety of our festival staff and the attendees, sponsors and other stakeholders remain the Festival’s top priority,” National Cherry Blossom Festival President and CEO Diana Mayhew said in a statement.
The festival is working with the D.C. mayor’s office, the National Park Service and others to plan safe programming for next year’s festival, scheduled for March 20 through April.
Here's where we stand as the coronavirus continues to change our lives in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
What the Data Shows
D.C. reported 39 new cases of coronavirus and no new deaths for the second day in a row. Maryland reported 743 new cases and 12 deaths. Virginia reported 1,062 new cases and eight deaths.
Seven-day averages in D.C. (53), Maryland (633) and Virginia (849), are remaining in line with levels seen over the past week.
D.C. reported 95 hospitalizations, Maryland reported 458 and Virginia reported 685 on Thursday.
D.C., Maryland and Virginia reported positivity rates of 1.8%, 3.1% and 5%, respectively, on Thursday.
The map below shows the number of coronavirus cases diagnosed per 100,000 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
- Maryland and Virginia released their plans for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, but D.C. is staying mum for now.
- Mayor Muriel Bowser is urging D.C. residents who use iPhone or Android smartphones to opt-in to a new COVID-19 contact-tracing app.
- Most new COVID-19 cases in D.C. come from social events, according to data presented Wednesday by the District's health department.
- Montgomery County could roll back reopening after seeing an increase in infections.
- Five employees of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration tested positive for COVID-19 and one of them has died, officials say.
- The Fauquier County School Board expects 71% of its students back in classrooms as part of a hybrid learning plan starting Nov. 9.
- Child care capacity is expanding in Maryland under phase three, although Montgomery and Prince George's counties opted to remain at current operating levels.
- Gym goers in Arlington, Virginia, will soon take spin classes on an open air training terrace instead of peddling away indoors. Take a look at how it works.
- D.C. updated its list of states subject to travel restrictions because they're considered high risk due to coronavirus. The next updated list is set to be released Monday, Oct. 19.
- D.C. plans to have high school sports return in January.
- D.C. granted permission for six indoor venues to host performances. D.C. also granted permission for the Adams Morgan business improvement district to host outdoor movies.
- D.C.'s mayor extended the city's coronavirus state of emergency to last through the end of the year.
- Maryland child care providers can return to the full teacher-to-child ratios for which they are licensed, state officials said, and some nursing homes will be able to resume indoor visits.
- Montgomery and Prince George's counties are among those that did not enter phase three with the state of Maryland. Here's a roundup of counties in our area.
- Prince George's County will allow tanning salons, banquet halls and other businesses to open with restrictions. Officials recently adjusted some other rules too. Read more.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan authorized all public schools in the state to begin “safely” reopening because state metrics on the coronavirus show improvements. The state “strongly suggests” that local school districts bring students back into schools but cannot force them to do so, Hogan said. Montgomery and Prince George's schools both affirmed that they were not altering plans to hold classes online throughout the first half of the school year.
- Prince George's County revisited its phase two reopening executive order due to an uptick in coronavirus cases, according to the county executive's office.
- Virginia entered phase three reopening July 1, loosening restrictions on restaurants, stores, gyms and pools. Northam has said more restrictions could be implemented if cases continue to grow.
- D.C. entered phase two June 22, allowing indoor dining, gyms, libraries and houses of worship to reopen with restrictions.
- Montgomery County entered phase two June 19, reopening with restrictions gyms, houses of worship, indoor dining and retail.
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.