Cases have increased recently and are very high. The number of hospitalized Covid patients has also risen in the Washington, D.C. area. Deaths have remained at about the same level. The test positivity rate in Washington, D.C. is relatively low, suggesting that testing capacity is adequate for evaluating Covid-19 spread in the area.
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5% of vaccinations statewide did not specify the person’s home county.
About this dataSources: State and local health agencies (cases, deaths, vaccinations); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (hospitalizations, test positivity); Centers for Disease Control and state governments (vaccinations). Risk calculated with 14-day averages. Cases and deaths charts show 7-day averages. Test positivity chart shows 14-day averages. Hospitalization data is a weekly average of Covid-19 patients in hospital service areas that intersect with Washington, D.C.. County-level testing data from Maine and Ohio may underestimate the total number of tests. The calculated test positivity may be unreliable in some counties in these states. No vaccination data was available for Hawaii and some other places. Counties in some other states were excluded because more than a quarter of vaccination data is missing.
How to protect yourself and others from Covid-19
Getting vaccinated is an important way to protect yourself and others from getting Covid. Because of very high Covid-19 transmission in Washington, D.C. right now, unvaccinated people are at a very high risk. Vaccinated people are at lower risk. Here’s how to lower your personal risk of getting sick and protect your community, based on the current local transmission rate, according to public health experts.
We developed this advice with experts at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. People who have immunocompromising conditions should consult the C.D.C. or their health care provider for possible additional precautions.
If you’re fully vaccinated
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving either the second dose of a two-dose vaccine series like those by Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine. If you are fully vaccinated, your risk of infection is lower and your risk of severe disease is much lower than if you are unvaccinated.,The C.D.C. also recommends additional booster vaccine doses for adults.
Indoor activities could be risky right now.
Avoid large indoor events with more than fifty people, especially if some participants may be unvaccinated. Consider choosing outdoor activities instead, such as outdoor dining, outdoor team sports or meeting friends outside.
It’s better to socialize inside the home with only one or two other vaccinated households. Consider wearing a mask if there is a chance some attendees may be unvaccinated or if people in your own household are in a high-risk category.
You can lower your risk during grocery shopping or other public indoor activities by choosing places where people wear masks. If others are not wearing masks, consider choosing a close-fitting mask with good filtration, or wearing two close-fitting cloth masks.
You can travel more freely.
Traveling domestically is safer after you are fully vaccinated. You may want to check the level of transmission at departure and arrival destinations before traveling. Keep in mind that receiving medical care, even for unrelated conditions, may become difficult if hospitals at your travel destination are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.
You don’t need to get tested or quarantine after traveling domestically unless you develop Covid-19 symptoms.
Take these important precautions all the time.
The C.D.C. has recommended that even vaccinated people should wear a mask in all public indoor places in Washington, D.C.. This helps protect people who may be particularly vulnerable to the virus and also to prevent spread.
If you feel sick, you should stay home and get tested. If you were in close contact with someone with Covid-19, you should get tested three to five days after exposure. Until you get a negative test result, you can take extra precautions by wearing a mask in indoor public spaces and staying at least six feet apart from other people. If possible, consider also taking these precautions inside your home. If you cannot get tested, it’s safer to take these extra precautions for 14 days after exposure.
If you or someone in your household is older or has other risk factors for severe Covid-19, you may choose to wear a mask in public indoor spaces even when Covid transmission in your area is low. You may also consider upgrading to a close-fitting mask with good filtration, or wearing two close-fitting cloth masks. Regular handwashing also helps prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
Here’s how you can reduce the risk of getting Covid-19 if you haven’t yet completed your vaccination series.
Indoor activities are very dangerous right now.
Avoid indoor dining, bars, gyms, movie theaters and nonessential shopping, as well as having friends over to your home, and indoor personal care services like haircuts and manicures. Given the severity of the outbreak in Washington, D.C., spending time inside with people from other households puts you at risk for getting the coronavirus or spreading it to others.
You can lower your risk while grocery shopping and during other essential trips by keeping your visits as short as possible, but consider using delivery or curbside pickup instead.
Avoid nonessential travel.
Avoid all nonessential travel. If you must take a taxi, open the windows and sit far away from others in the vehicle. If you need to take public transit, try to avoid rush hours and crowds so you can keep your distance from others. If you fly, choose less crowded flights or airlines that keep middle seats empty.
Avoid events with more than a handful of people.
Weddings, funerals, concerts, sporting events and other gatherings that bring multiple households together are places where Covid can spread easily. Consider postponing. Religious services are safest when conducted outdoors and without singing.
Outdoor activities can be a good substitute.
Meeting a handful of friends outdoors - all wearing masks - or going to an uncrowded beach can be good options.
Because of the very high risk of exposure to Covid in Washington, D.C., you should avoid outdoor bars. Outdoor dining is safest if those at your table are from your household, the space is not enclosed on the sides, and there is at least six feet of distance between your party and other parties.
Walking, cycling, running and other outdoor individual workouts are the safest kinds of exercise. Low-contact outdoor sports like singles tennis, skateboarding and golf may be enjoyed safely. Contact sports like basketball and soccer should be avoided.
Protect yourself at work and school.
Work remotely when possible and avoid in-person meetings. In the workplace, less crowded hours are the safest to be on the job.
Children tend to have less-severe symptoms but can still spread the coronavirus, so consider the health risks of everyone in your household when making decisions about your child’s activities.
Learning environments where students stay in small groups at all times make it safer for unvaccinated younger students to go to school. Unvaccinated older students should choose online instruction if possible. Avoid play dates and extracurricular activities.
Get medical care if you need it.
Do not skip or delay medical care, including mental health care. Talk to your doctors about postponing any nonessential appointments. If you have an appointment, call before your visit to find out if you need to take special precautions, and ask if telehealth is a good option for you.
Take these important precautions all the time.
You should stay at least six feet away from people who live in other households. Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when you are outside your home and whenever you are around people who do not live with you, including any visitors to your home.
If you feel sick or have been exposed to someone with Covid, you should stay home and get tested. If someone in your household feels sick or has been diagnosed with Covid-19, everyone should wear a mask, wash their hands often and stay at least six feet apart from one another, even inside your home.
Avoid crowds, and limit the number of people you meet and the amount of time you spend with them. Avoid indoor spaces with poor airflow. Wash your hands often, especially after visiting a public place or blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
Cases have increased recently and are very high.
About this dataNote: The 7-day average is the average of a day and the previous 6 days of data.
An average of 175 cases per day were reported in Washington, D.C., a 68 percent increase from the average two weeks ago. Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 1 in 10 residents have been infected, a total of 68,134 reported cases. Right now, Washington, D.C. is at a very high risk for unvaccinated people. Read more about risk below.
January 2021 was the month with the most reported cases in Washington, D.C..
The number of hospitalized Covid patients has also risen in the Washington, D.C. area. Deaths have remained at about the same level.
About this dataSource: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Hospitalization data is a weekly average of Covid-19 patients in hospital service areas that intersect with Washington, D.C..
The trend in deaths tends to lag weeks behind the trend in reported cases: Cases have recently increased in Washington, D.C., which could mean a rise in deaths will follow.
About this dataNote: The 7-day average is the average of a day and the previous 6 days of data.
The Covid-19 risk for unvaccinated people is lower in some nearby areas.
About the data
In data for the District of Columbia, The Times primarily relies on reports from the district. The District of Columbia does not update its data on weekends. Prior to May 29, 2021, it released new data daily. The district reports cases and deaths based on a person’s permanent or usual residence.
The Times has identified reporting anomalies or methodology changes in the data.
More about reporting anomalies or changes
- Sept. 6, 2021: The daily count could be artificially low because many jurisdictions did not announce new data on Labor Day.
- May 11, 2021: The District of Columbia announced a backlog of cases from previous days after resolving a technical issue.
- Dec. 27, 2020: The District of Columbia reported data for two days after reporting no data on Christmas.
The tallies on this page include only laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.
Confirmed cases and deaths, which are widely considered to be an undercount of the true toll, are counts of individuals whose coronavirus infections were confirmed by a molecular laboratory test. Probable cases and deaths count individuals who meet criteria for other types of testing, symptoms and exposure, as developed by national and local governments.
Governments often revise data or report a single-day large increase in cases or deaths from unspecified days without historical revisions, which can cause an irregular pattern in the daily reported figures. The Times is excluding these anomalies from seven-day averages when possible. For agencies that do not report data every day, variation in the schedule on which cases or deaths are reported, such as around holidays, can also cause an irregular pattern in averages. The Times uses an adjustment method to vary the number of days included in an average to remove these irregularities.
About the Covid-19 risk levels
Washington, D.C. is at a very high risk level for unvaccinated people because there was an average of 17 daily cases per 100,000 people reported in the past two weeks. The risk in Washington, D.C. will decrease to high risk if the daily case rate drops to less than about 11.4 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks and the test positivity stays low. The case charts on this page show 7-day averages, while risk levels are assessed based on 14-day case averages, which may be different.
More about the risk levels
The New York Times worked with public health experts at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, to develop guidance on how individuals may reduce their risk of exposure to Covid. There is specific guidance for each risk level.
A county’s Covid-19 risk is determined based on the number of reported cases and testing data. Although county risk levels are assigned based on expert guidance and careful analysis, it is possible that the risk level in a specific county may be over or underestimated because of a lack of reliable data.
A county is at an extremely high risk for unvaccinated people if it reported an average daily rate of more than 45 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. Small counties with a population of less than 5,000 people are in this category if they reported more than 32 cases over the past two weeks. A county with fewer cases may also be in this category if more than 10 percent of tests had a positive result over the past two weeks. This can mean that the county is not testing enough, and that the number of cases may be significantly undercounted.
A county is at a very high risk for unvaccinated people if it reported an average daily rate of more than 11 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. Small counties with a population of less than 5,000 people are in this category if they reported more than 8 cases over the past two weeks. A county with fewer cases may also be in this category if more than 10 percent of tests had a positive result over the past two weeks. This can mean that the county is not testing enough, and that the number of cases may be significantly undercounted.
A county is at a high risk for unvaccinated people if it reported an average daily rate of about 3 or more cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. Small counties with a population of less than 5,000 people are in this category if they reported more than 2 cases over the past two weeks. A county with fewer cases may also be in this category if more than 10 percent of tests had a positive result over the past two weeks. This can mean that the county is not testing enough, and that the number of cases may be significantly undercounted.
A county is at a moderate risk for unvaccinated people if it reported an average daily rate of about 2 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. Small counties with a population of less than 5,000 people are in this category if they reported 1 or more cases over the past two weeks.
A county is at a low risk for unvaccinated people if it reported an average daily rate of less than 1 case per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. Small counties with a population of less than 5,000 people are in this category if they reported no cases over the past two weeks.
In some cases, a county might not have a risk level if not enough recent data was available, or if inconsistencies were found in the data. If a county’s recent testing data was not available, the rate of positive tests in the state was used, along with recent cases, to calculate the risk level.
Since the risk levels were first published in January 2021, The Times has made the following methodology changes:
- October 20, 2021: The guidance for vaccinated people was edited to reflect the most recent C.D.C. recommendations.
- August 26, 2021: The guidance for unvaccinated people was edited to reflect recent scientific advances in understanding the Delta variant.
- August 19, 2021: The overall risk for vaccinated individuals was changed from “minimal risk” to “lower risk” to reflect recent findings of increased transmission of the Delta variant in vaccinated people.
- July 27, 2021: The guidance was edited to reflect the updated advice for vaccinated people published by the C.D.C.
- June 15, 2021: The threshold between low and moderate risk levels was increased from 10 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks to 20 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. This change was made to better reflect the Level of Community Transmission metric published by the C.D.C.
- May 18, 2021: New guidance was added for vaccinated individuals to reflect recent advice published by the C.D.C.
- May 6, 2021: The description of the risk levels and guidance was changed to specify more clearly that they apply to unvaccinated individuals.
- March 31, 2021: The description of the risk levels was changed to the risk of exposure to Covid-19, rather than the risk of getting Covid-19. This change was made to more accurately describe the risk situation of the growing number of vaccinated people.
- March 23, 2021: The risk calculation method was adjusted to use the total number of reported cases, rather than the per capita number, in small counties with fewer than 5,000 people. This change was made in order to estimate risk more precisely in areas where a single case may account for a large percentage of the population.
By Jordan Allen, Sarah Almukhtar, Aliza Aufrichtig, Anne Barnard, Matthew Bloch, Sarah Cahalan, Weiyi Cai, Julia Calderone, Keith Collins, Matthew Conlen, Lindsey Cook, Gabriel Gianordoli, Amy Harmon, Rich Harris, Adeel Hassan, Jon Huang, Danya Issawi, Danielle Ivory, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Alex Lemonides, Eleanor Lutz, Allison McCann, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Jugal K. Patel, Alison Saldanha, Kirk Semple, Shelly Seroussi, Julie Walton Shaver, Amy Schoenfeld Walker, Anjali Singhvi, Charlie Smart, Mitch Smith, Albert Sun, Rumsey Taylor, Lisa Waananen Jones, Derek Watkins, Timothy Williams, Jin Wu and Karen Yourish. · Reporting was contributed by Jeff Arnold, Ian Austen, Mike Baker, Brillian Bao, Ellen Barry, Shashank Bengali, Samone Blair, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Aurelien Breeden, Elisha Brown, Emma Bubola, Maddie Burakoff, Alyssa Burr, Christopher Calabrese, Julia Carmel, Zak Cassel, Robert Chiarito, Izzy Colón, Matt Craig, Yves De Jesus, Brendon Derr, Brandon Dupré, Melissa Eddy, John Eligon, Timmy Facciola, Bianca Fortis, Jake Frankenfield, Matt Furber, Robert Gebeloff, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Matthew Goldstein, Grace Gorenflo, Rebecca Griesbach, Benjamin Guggenheim, Barbara Harvey, Lauryn Higgins, Josh Holder, Jake Holland, Anna Joyce, John Keefe, Ann Hinga Klein, Jacob LaGesse, Alex Lim, Alex Matthews, Patricia Mazzei, Jesse McKinley, Miles McKinley, K.B. Mensah, Sarah Mervosh, Jacob Meschke, Lauren Messman, Andrea Michelson, Jaylynn Moffat-Mowatt, Steven Moity, Paul Moon, Derek M. Norman, Anahad O’Connor, Ashlyn O’Hara, Azi Paybarah, Elian Peltier, Richard Pérez-Peña, Sean Plambeck, Laney Pope, Elisabetta Povoledo, Cierra S. Queen, Savannah Redl, Scott Reinhard, Chloe Reynolds, Thomas Rivas, Frances Robles, Natasha Rodriguez, Jess Ruderman, Kai Schultz, Alex Schwartz, Emily Schwing, Libby Seline, Rachel Sherman, Sarena Snider, Brandon Thorp, Alex Traub, Maura Turcotte, Tracey Tully, Jeremy White, Kristine White, Bonnie G. Wong, Tiffany Wong, Sameer Yasir and John Yoon. · Data acquisition and additional work contributed by Will Houp, Andrew Chavez, Michael Strickland, Tiff Fehr, Miles Watkins, Josh Williams, Nina Pavlich, Carmen Cincotti, Ben Smithgall, Andrew Fischer, Rachel Shorey, Blacki Migliozzi, Alastair Coote, Jaymin Patel, John-Michael Murphy, Isaac White, Steven Speicher, Hugh Mandeville, Robin Berjon, Thu Trinh, Carolyn Price, James G. Robinson, Phil Wells, Yanxing Yang, Michael Beswetherick, Michael Robles, Nikhil Baradwaj, Ariana Giorgi, Bella Virgilio, Dylan Momplaisir, Avery Dews, Bea Malsky, Ilana Marcus and Jason Kao.
Additional contributions to Covid-19 risk assessments and guidance by Eleanor Peters Bergquist, Aaron Bochner, Shama Cash-Goldwasser, Sydney Jones and Sheri Kardooni of Resolve to Save Lives.