Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

The DC region is preparing for the Omicron variant

A group of people are waiting outside in line for COVID vaccines.
Photo: Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images

Omicron has not yet been identified in DC, but most experts believe it is only a matter of time before the new variant is found throughout the United States.

  • Last week, three people in the Baltimore area were reported to be the first in Maryland with the variant.

Why it’s important: Preliminary Omicron research shows that previous COVID infection may not protect well against the new variant, writes Axios’ Caitlin Owens.

  • This early information underscores the importance of getting vaccinated, even if you have already had COVID.

By the numbers: According to CDC data, DC lags behind Maryland and Virginia in the percentage of residents with COVID booster shots.

  • Maryland is slightly ahead both in the percentage of fully vaccinated residents and the percentage of residents with booster shots.
Data: CDC; Diagram: Will Chase / Axios

Status: DC issued a masquerade advisory last Thursday, stopping reinstating an indoor mandate that was lifted on November 22nd.

  • According to DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, the council has the authority to revive the city’s mandate, but has no current plans to do so.
  • “Do I wish the city had a mask mandate? Yes,” he said, noting that he and nine lawmakers signed a letter on Nov. 17 criticizing the mayor for announcing the end of the mandate.
  • DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said last Thursday that the counseling was intended to underscore her recommendation that “people should wear a mask indoors regardless of their vaccination status given the level of transmission we have.”


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