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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

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Minneapolis and St. Paul to require vaccine or test for indoor dining

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

New vaccine-or-test requirements for indoor dining and drinking in Minneapolis and St. Paul take effect Wednesday.

The big picture: A growing number of major cities, including Boston, Chicago and New York, have instituted similar requirements in an effort to protect public health.

Yes, but: Questions about enforcement, logistics and effectiveness of the temporary measures here remain.

Updated 16 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.