Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Sept. 29

Here's what to know about the coronavirus data, resources and reopenings across the D.C. area

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The coronavirus pandemic is set to be a major topic in 2020's first presidential debate Tuesday night when President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden meet for the first time.

Because of the pandemic, there won't be a handshake or even an elbow bump.

But as we get further into fall, many people are trying to bring back favorite activities — with precautions against coronavirus.

D.C. nightclub HEIST is taking a run at a socially-distanced event on the roof of the Kennedy Center.

Those who attend the “socially responsible experiment” are meant to be seated at one of 60 tables that each have a limit of six people. Organizers also promise a DJ-curated playlist — although dance floors aren't allowed because D.C. law currently only allows seated service.

There’s clearly an appetite for the return of nightlife: HEIST says the event sold out in 15 minutes.

Local airports are also preparing for people to leave home. If you fly out of Reagan National or Dulles airports, you’ll soon see some new acrylic barriers separating security staff from passengers.

United Airlines will soon become the first U.S. airline to offer rapid Covid-19 testing, starting next month with a pilot program for passengers flying to Hawaii from San Francisco International Airport before gradually rolling out more widely.

TSA plans to purchase and install 1,230 acrylic barriers at airports across the country.

D.C. Public Schools are also getting ready to bring students back to classrooms. Ballou STAY has already brought back barbering and cosmetology students, and twelve more schools will open in the ”coming days and weeks,” the city says:

  • Bancroft ES
  • Cardozo EC
  • Eastern HS
  • Kimball ES
  • Kramer MS
  • Ludlow-Taylor ES
  • Mann ES
  • Noyes ES
  • Tyler ES
  • Phelps ACE HS
  • Roosevelt HS
  • Roosevelt STAY

Here's where we stand as the coronavirus continues to change our lives in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

What the Data Shows

There’s good news in the capital region’s fight against coronavirus. D.C., Maryland and Virginia all have lower seven-day average new case numbers than they did one and two weeks ago.

Overall, the number of people impacted by coronavirus grows everyday, even though the pace is slowing in some areas.

West Virginia surpassed D.C. in the number of COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

West Virginia has reported 15,692 cases while D.C. has 15,300. About twice as many D.C. residents have died, however.

A local Virginia mom gave birth to a baby boy without an immune system at the peak of the pandemic. News4’s Doreen Gentzler spoke with the mom about how the extra pandemic precautions have actually been a blessing in disguise for her and her family.

West Virginia, which has a population of 1.8 million compared to D.C.’s 706,000, contains a lot of rural land. It was the last state to report a confirmed coronavirus case as the outbreak grew in March.

But the growth of West Virginia’s cases highlights how outbreaks haven’t been confined to densely populated cities.

West Virginia has far more active cases (currently 4,014) than in D.C. (currently 2,559).

West Virginia also had a sizable single-day increase of 180 new cases on Tuesday.

Despite all this, the state’s daily positivity rate is still fairly low at 3.45%.

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

Source: DC, MD and VA Health Departments
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington

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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.
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