Dec 28, 2021 - Health

Report: D.C. has highest rate of COVID-19 infection in the U.S.

A healthcare worker administers a COVID-19 PCR test at a free test site in Farragut Square on December 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.
A health care worker administers a COVID-19 PCR test Dec. 28 at a free test site in Farragut Square in Washington, D.C. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

COVID-19 cases are spiking in Washington, D.C., which now has the highest rate for COVID-19 infection in the country, according to an NPR analysis based on data from Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Driving the news: The D.C. region saw an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations before the Christmas weekend, and cases have continued to rise as the Omicron variant continues to spread.

The big picture: D.C. saw an average of 1,192 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past week, per John Hopkins University.

  • One reason why D.C., which has an 85% vaccination rate, is experiencing a surge in cases is that nearly 50% of residents are from ages 20 to 49, per NPR. Younger people are more likely to spread the virus via in-person work, household transmission and socializing outside the house, per NPR.

Of note: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency on Dec. 20. The city introduced a number of policies to stop the spread of the virus, including reinstating its indoor mask mandate.

Go deeper