Virginia reported a seven-day average of 180 new cases on Tuesday; the number has been under 200 for about a month, since June 10. Maryland reported a seven-day average of 66 new cases on Tuesday, down from 114 one month ago. D.C. reported a seven-day average of 10 new cases, down from 24 a month ago.
But even as the total number of cases is down, the risk remains for those who are unvaccinated.
In addition to the more than 100 reported coronavirus deaths in June, Marylanders who haven’t gotten inoculated made up 95 percent of the 2,385 new coronavirus cases and 93 percent of the 6,707 new coronavirus hospitalizations the state saw that month.
The Virginia and D.C. health departments could not immediately provide similar data Tuesday.
The numbers continue what Maryland Health Secretary Dennis Schrader has called a “sobering” trend forming among unvaccinated people.
From May 10 to June 8, unvaccinated people made up 89 percent of new hospitalizations and 97 percent of new infections in Maryland, Schrader told a legislative panel last month.
“The governor’s message has been very clear: If for whatever reason any Marylander is unvaccinated, they should get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Schrader said.
William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said it is unusual to see a state tracking data on the vaccination status of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
But that data, he said, could be key to persuading the hesitant to get vaccinated.
“There are people who still doubt the severity of covid-19 and the effectiveness of the vaccine,” Moss said. “These data bring those two points together. Yes, this is still a serious illness. Yes, the vaccines are highly protective against these severe outcomes. This is real.”
He said the numbers are also useful to track breakthrough cases and potential upticks in variants, such as the highly contagious delta variant, which has been detected in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
As the pandemic stretches into its 16th month, the region is still grappling with pockets of low vaccination rates — even as local officials try to sweeten the deal with lotteries for cash, airline tickets and a car with vaccination.
In D.C., for example, most wards have a vaccination rate of more than 40 percent — except in majority-Black Wards 7 and 8, where as few as a quarter of residents have received shots, city data shows.
In Virginia, the lowest rates persist in parts of the southwest and Southside and pockets of the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia, according to state data.
And in Maryland, hesitancy is highest in western counties and in Worcester County on the Eastern Shore, as well as Cecil County, which borders Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Moss said there is “real irony” in the use of incentives to encourage vaccination in the United States.
“I think there are many people around the world who look at us or read about these things and think we must be mad,” he said. “Millions of people, if not billions, around the world are desperate for vaccines and we have an abundance.”
That’s where the data can play a key role, he said.
“I hope that this kind of information and getting this message out helps convince some of those who are still sitting on the fence about getting vaccinated about the real value of doing so,” he said.