Northern Virginia COVID cases 2021 vs. 2020

The trailing seven-day average of new daily COVD-19 cases reported since May 15 of this year for Northern Virginia (green line), compared with the same time frame in 2020 (orange line), shows that cases in the region are now worse than they were last summer, before vaccines were available.  (Northern Virginia consists of the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, plus the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park.)

In both Northern Virginia and the state as a whole, the COVID-19 pandemic is now worse than it was on the same date in 2020, based on the number of new cases reported. 

Data from the Virginia Department of Health updated Monday morning show that in Northern Virginia, the seven-day average of new daily cases reported has climbed to 224.  That's 8.9% above the seven-day average on Aug. 2, 2020, of 205.7.  It's also the highest the average has been since May 1 of this year.

Statewide, the seven-day average as of Monday stood at 1,108, which is 7.5% above the average on the same day last year and the highest since April 26 of this year.  The state has reported over 1,000 new cases each of the past six days, the first time that's happened since April 13-18 of this year. 

The higher numbers in 2021 come even though vaccines are now available for everyone over the age of 12 and over 70% of Virginia adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine.  Data compiled by the health department show that only about 3% of all new cases since June 1 have been among fully vaccinated Virginians.

Health officials have attributed the recent rise in cases to the Delta variant, which is significantly more contagious than earlier forms of the virus and appears to be causing more cases in vaccinated individuals. 

Hospitalizations for treatment of COVID-19 have also been on the rise in recent weeks, although they remain significantly below prior-year levels. As of Monday, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported 534 patients confirmed or suspected of having coronavirus, compared with 1,172 on Aug. 2, 2020.  The number of hospitalizations has doubled since mid-July, however.

Deaths from COVID-19 likewise are running well below prior-year numbers, with the state reported fewer than four a day, compared with an average of 18.6 per day this time last year. 

However, throughout the pandemic, both the number of hospitalizations and reports of deaths have lagged behind reports of new cases, sometimes by several weeks. 

In response to the recent surge in cases, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam last week recommended that all Virginians -- regardless of vaccination status -- wear masks indoors.  And on Monday, the Prince William County Public Schools joined other school systems across the region in announcing that masks will be required this fall for all students, teachers and staff in school buildings.

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(1) comment

John Dutko

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