The D.C. area is heading into a bleak holiday weekend when it comes to coronavirus cases.
According to the numbers, the coronavirus is strengthening its grip across D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Things are bad and getting worse. Public health leaders are pleading for people to do what they can to try to stop it from getting there.
On the day before Thanksgiving, the total number of new coronavirus cases in Maryland, Virginia and the District topped 5,500 — more than any other day of the pandemic.
“Keep the gatherings, the indoor gatherings, as small as you possibly can,” begged Dr. Anthony Fauci on Good Morning America during a Wednesday broadcast. “A sacrifice now can save lives and illness and make the future much brighter as we get through this.”
As the total number of cases rise, so do the number of people in the hospital.
Hospitalizations are up in Maryland (1,406) and Virginia (1,549) at levels the D.C. region has not seen since back in May.
In the District, hospitalizations have also been creeping up, as has the positivity rate, though not at levels seen in Maryland and Virginia. Maryland also reported more deaths Wednesday — 37 — than any other day since June. Deaths are also up in Virginia.
The rise in coronavirus cases is happening in all parts of those states too.
A majority of the new coronavirus cases reported Wednesday in Maryland were centered along the Interstate 95 corridor from D.C.’s suburbs to the Baltimore suburbs. Prince George’s County alone reported nearly 500 new cases, while Montgomery County reported almost 400 new cases.
In Virginia, Fairfax and Prince William counties ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in new coronavirus cases by county in the commonwealth. Nearly 400 new cases were reported in Fairfax County. Loudoun County added more than 200 on Wednesday.
And yet there are some indications that coronavirus-fatigue has settled in and people are willing to take risks to be with friends and family for Thanksgiving after months of reduced social interaction.
“They seem numb to the fact that we lose 15, 18, 24, 25 people a day,” lamented Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan earlier this week.
While the number of people permitted at indoor gatherings has been reduced around the D.C. region, with authorities running increased compliance checks at businesses, area leaders also concede it will take buy-in from everyone to truly make a difference.
“These important safety measures and public health orders are only effective if they’re being followed and enforced,” Hogan said.
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