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COVID Blog: Tuesday was the worst day of the pandemic in the DMV

D.C. reported a new record high day for cases. Maryland saw its highest death count since May. More than 5,000 Virginians a day are now getting the virus.

WASHINGTON — It’s Tuesday, January 12, and today is the worst day of the pandemic in the DMV.

It’s the single-worst day of cases in D.C. – 430 new infections – since the pandemic began. It’s a day when 67 Marylanders died and an all-time high average of 3,228 were infected. In Virginia, a record high 5,148 people are being infected on average each day, and 84 more Virginians – the commonwealth’s second-highest daily toll yet – have died from the virus since I wrote Monday’s blog.

The pandemic’s toll in the DMV has literally gone off the scale, as I today had to increase the maximum values shown on my coronavirus charts. The vaccine is certainly good news, but if it has engendered in you a sense of complacency, it is not deserved.

To add insult to injury, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the even-more-contagious UK variant of the coronavirus has now been found in Anne Arundel County. Fortunately, while more likely to lead to new infections, the UK variant does not seem more likely to cause more severe sickness or to be resistant to the available vaccines.

If you’re just here for the numbers, here’s how things look today:

  • D.C. reported 430 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday – an all-time high – and 4 new deaths from the virus. The city is now averaging 43% more new cases each day than it was two weeks ago.
  • Maryland reported 2,665 new cases of the coronavirus and 67 new deaths. That’s the state’s highest single-day death count since May 12.
  • Virginia reported 4,561 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday and 84 new deaths. That’s the commonwealth’s second-highest daily death count since the pandemic began. More than 40 Virginians a day are now dying from the virus.

How are things in the DMV?

I tend to be conservative about these things, but I think it’s safe to say today we’re starting to see the effects of the largely maskless pro-Trump crowd’s presence last week in D.C. on the city’s case numbers.

Cases were already rising sharply prior to the rallies thanks to a post-holiday travel bump, but the widespread exposures that are now already baked-in cases in the city could mean Tuesday’s record high ends up being a plateau, not a spike. That is to say – don’t be surprised if case counts stay this elevated for a while to come.

In the good news department, Maryland has now administered enough doses of the vaccine to account for more than half of its health care workforce – with the same caveat as always, which is that we don’t know all of those doses *have* gone to health care workers. Still, the state has nearly 140,000 more doses to go to finish up that population, which, at its current rate of about 12,000 vaccinations a day, would mean another 12 days just to get the first shot into most health care workers.

Finally, in the good data department, the Centers for Disease Control are now publishing more of the raw vaccine data states are reporting to them. That means you can now check out my new table below to see how D.C., Maryland and Virginia are doing on the vaccination front compared to the rest of the country.