Hamil R. HarrisHealth

Region Ravaged by Post-Holiday COVID-19 Infection, Death Spike

More than 12,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, according to the latest data released Jan. 9 and more than 728,000 people have contracted COVID-19.

The United States has reported 21.8 million infections and 367,458 deaths since February of 2018 and last week more than 4,000 people died of COVID-19 in one single day.

National and state officials have expressed concerns about a spike in the coronavirus following the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays because many people refused to adhere to travel warnings.

The new spike, reported by John Hopkins University, came during a week when five out of the past 10 days, saw record-high numbers.

Top health officials — including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — said warning that the outbreak is likely to get worse before it gets better.

“We believe things will get worse as we get into January,” Fauci said Thursday in an interview with National Public Radio. He said Americans can still “blunt that acceleration” if they strictly adhere to public health protocols to control COVID, including handwashing, mask-wearing and social distancing.

Nearly 20,000 people in the country have died of COVID this month and that number could pass December as the deadliest month yet of the pandemic.

Top health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, are warning that the outbreak is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Experts expected a surge in COVID-19 because many people ignored medical advice and engaged in both commercial travel and gatherings during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in which social distance protocols were disregarded.

In the District 367,428 have been tested for COVID-19 and of that number, 31,107 have tested positive and 809 people have died while 21,851 have been cleared from isolation.

In Maryland, there are now more than 300,000 coronavirus cases and the state has set a new second-highest single-day increase of more than 1,000 cases in one day.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said on Jan. 5 that distributing vaccines to block COVID-19 “will be the largest peace time undertaking in American history.”

The state has recorded 303,364 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. Saturday morning, there were 3,758 new confirmed coronavirus cases — the second-highest daily total. The state set a new single-day highest record on Dec. 4 with 3,792 cases.

There were 28 more deaths reported Saturday for a total of 6,075. The MDH statewide positivity rate currently sits at 9.16%. The Johns Hopkins positivity rate is 7.2%.

Saturday’s numbers also show the number of hospitalizations down by eight for a total number of hospitalizations of 1,877.

In Virginia, there have been 393,715 cases since the pandemic began in March. Last Friday that number increased by 5,798. Since the start of the pandemic: 19,025 have been hospitalized and that number is up 107 since Friday.

Since the start of the pandemic 5,381 (up 69 from Friday) have died and those vaccinated with at least one dose is 148,909, which is up by 13,046 since Friday.

The highest cluster of COVID-19 cases is in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. Prince Georges County has 58,954 cases and Montgomery County has 50,428.

The District has partnered with Maryland and Virginia, to share vaccine doses. First responders and healthcare workers were the first to be inoculated.

“Having a vaccine is not the endgame,” Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of D.C. Department of Health, told Patch last month. “Getting vaccinated is the endgame.”

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Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the Greater Washington Area. Hamil has chronicled the Million Man March, the Clinton White House, the September 11 attack, the sniper attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the campaign of President Barack Obama and many other people and events. Hamil is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of the Washington Post where he writes a range of stories, shoots photos and produces videos for the print and online editions of the Post. In addition, he is often called upon to report on crime, natural disasters and other breaking issues. In 2006 Harris was part of a team of reporters that published the series “Being a Black Man.” He was also the reporter on the video project that accompanied the series that won two Emmy Awards, the Casey Medal and the Peabody Award. Hamil has lectured at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, the American University, the University of Maryland and the University of the District of Columbia. He also lectures several times a year to interns during their semester in the District as part of their matriculation at the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities.

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