The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Northam orders Va. schools to close for at least two weeks; coronavirus reduces Metro service

Visitors ride an open air bus along the Mall. The Smithsonian announced that all museums and the National Zoo would close Saturday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
Please Note

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Updates to this file have ended for the day. See this story for the latest developments from Friday.

Here are some of the significant recent developments:

Known coronavirus cases in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Coronavirus in the DMV: What you need to know

  • Schools in Alexandria, Arlington and Falls Church will be closed until mid-April. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered all schools in the state to close a minimum of two weeks. D.C. Public Schools will close schools for at least two weeks beginning Monday.
  • Metro will reduce transit service starting Monday to help its workforce stay safe while it begins even more stringent disinfecting of its railcars and buses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The number of local coronavirus cases climbed overnight, with five new cases in Maryland and 12 new cases in Virginia. The District had no new cases.
  • The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in the District, originally scheduled for April 4, has been canceled.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

The latest: The CDC has loosened many of its recommendations for battling the coronavirus, a strategic shift that puts more of the onus on individuals, rather than on schools, businesses and other institutions, to limit viral spread.

Variants: BA.5 is the most recent omicron subvariant, and it’s quickly become the dominant strain in the U.S. Here’s what to know about it, and why vaccines may only offer limited protection.

Vaccines: Vaccines: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 12 and older get an updated coronavirus booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant circulating now. You’re eligible for the shot if it has been at least two months since your initial vaccine or your last booster. An initial vaccine series for children under 5, meanwhile, became available this summer. Here’s what to know about how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections and booster history.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. The omicron variant is behind much of the recent spread.

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