Along with the optimism that has come with the recent news of vaccine development for COVID-19, the numbers of new infections and deaths across the country have been increasingly troubling. Cases are rising across the country and daily case averages are continuing to rise; Virginia recorded its highest daily total of new cases on December 9, with Maryland and Washington, D.C., recording their highest daily totals on December 4 and 5, respectively. On December 9 the daily death toll from the virus in the U.S. surpassed 3,000 for the first time, and on December 10 the total deaths from COVID-19 in D.C., Maryland and Virginia since the onset of the pandemic passed 10,000.
In light of the new surge in numbers, new restrictions are being implemented across the U.S. As of Thursday, December 10, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. have added their own new sets of restrictions in hopes of containing the virus’ spread. A detailed update on the latest restrictions in both states and the District can be found here.
This past week, Pfizer’s vaccine was approved for emergency rollout by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This paves the way for healthcare workers and nursing home residents, the two groups deemed highest priority for the vaccine, to begin receiving doses this week. The Washington, D.C., advisory panel has designated six sites for the vaccine to be shipped and readied for distribution. More details on those testing sites can be found here.
The consistent flow of updates to numbers and policy are as much out of our control as they are yours. COVID-19 has sped up significantly in recent weeks, and we are hopeful that the vaccines will be distributed soon and get us on the road to recovery and safety. In the meantime, Mb asks that you please continue to take extreme caution, not only for your own sake but for the sake of your families, friends and colleagues. The virus is taking its toll on people of all backgrounds and political views, and while the policies pursued by many states have made a difference, they ultimately cannot do as much to protect from the virus as all of us.
We can continue to keep ourselves safe by doing the work that policy cannot by taking responsibility for ourselves. We need to recognize the limitations of policy: restrictions on indoor capacity for bars and restaurants do not mean it is perfectly safe to sit indoors with friends at a bar or restaurant, with or without a mask; just because a retail business may mandate the wearing of masks by employees and customers that does not automatically give us immunity while we shop or get a haircut; plexiglass barriers, 6-foot markers and ever-present bottles of hand sanitizer are helpful indicators of the restrictions that we need to follow, but their presence does not magically guarantee our safety; Policies and safety precautions out in the world are there to point us in the direction we need to go, and they are only effective if we follow through on our own.
We at Mb Staffing urge you to stay informed from reliable sources of news and information regarding the virus’ spread, risks and the policies surrounding it. We ask that you not only look at national news sources but local ones as well, so that you can identify distinctions in policy from the national level all the way down to the level of your home cities, towns or neighborhoods. We ask that you look past partisan political narratives that do more to obscure the reality of the pandemic than illuminate the way forward, and focus instead on grounded, practical information you can use to best make decisions for yourselves and families. Furthermore, we ask that you please continue to keep an eye on your inboxes for further COVID-related notifications from us.
There are many reasons to be proud of our successes and hopeful for the future, and we aren’t asking you to lose sight of them. In getting there, however, we need your help, and we pledge to continue helping you get there as well.