Patriots got a taste of the QB high life from Deshaun Watson and the Texans

The Patriots spent nearly two decades living the high life in the high-rent quarterback district of the NFL, the beneficiaries of an elite, difference-making passer who tipped the balance of close games in their favor. They no longer reside in that well-to-do NFL neighborhood without Tom Brady, but they got a reminder of what it looks like on Sunday in a demoralizing 27-20 loss to Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. Watson accounted for 380 of the Texans’ 399 yards of total offense and all three of Houston’s touchdowns. “He’s a really good quarterback and he had a really good day today,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “All the yards they gained weren’t in the passing game either. It was him running or him throwing. It was the entire offense.”The Patriots had no answer for No. 4 as their record dropped to 4-6, and the path to the playoffs narrowed to claustrophobic dimensions. Here are five Takeaways from the Patriots’ squandered chance at reaching .500 deep in the heart of Texas: 1. Not built for speed — The good news was that quarterback Cam Newton played well and finally threw a touchdown pass to a wide receiver, connecting with Damiere Byrd (six catches for a career-high 132 yards) on a 42-yard strike. It only took nine games. The bad news: It’s painfully obvious that the Patriots’ glacial offense is not built to play from behind. A 21-10 halftime deficit at NRG Stadium felt more insurmountable than the 28-3 deficit they faced in the same building in Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons. That’s because the Patriots’ passing attack runs at dial-up modem speed with a lot of safe and sideways throws for Newton. The Patriots’ deliberate approach shortens the game with lengthy drives. That’s ideal when you have a lead like the Patriots’ upset of Baltimore. It’s far less desirable when you’re playing from behind. The Patriots’ death knell was their own doing. Trailing 24-17, they uncorked a 16-play, 65-yard, 9-minute and 25-second drive that took longer than a Christopher Nolan movie to reach its conclusion — a field goal. The Patriots possessed the ball for 10 minutes and 30 seconds of the fourth quarter and scored 3 points.The Patriots actually generated explosive plays on Sunday — five pass plays of 20 yards or more — but they still don’t do it with enough regularity or ease. Taking a closer look, one of those plays was a season-long 52-yarder to Ryan Izzo, a gratuitous Fail Mary catch on the game’s final play. Another one came on a screen pass to James White for 34 yards. Another was manufactured with smoke and mirrors — a double pass in which Newton passed up an open Byrd deep for a 20-yard gain to Jakobi Meyers. The Patriots remain too methodical and mechanical for their own good.“With a defense that we played today with such a strong front, front seven, we just got to make sure that we sustain drives, keep them out …

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Social Isolation Tied to High Blood Pressure in Women

Women who are socially isolated have an increased risk for high blood pressure, researchers report. But men, not so much.

Scientists used data on 28,238 Canadian men and women aged 45 to 85 who are participating in a large continuing study on aging.

The researchers found that compared with married women, single women had a 28 percent higher risk of hypertension, divorced women a 21 percent higher risk, and widowed women a 33 percent higher risk.

Social connections were also significant. Compared with the one-quarter of women with the largest social networks — which ranged from 220 to 573 people — those in the lowest one-quarter, with fewer than 85 connections, were 15 percent more likely to have high blood pressure.

The associations were different, and generally weaker, in men. Men who lived alone had a lower risk of hypertension than men with partners, but the size of men’s social networks, or their participation in social activity, was not significantly associated with high blood pressure.

The study, in the Journal of Hypertension, controlled for many factors that affect blood pressure, including age, education, smoking, alcohol use and depression.

The senior author, Annalijn I. Conklin, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, said that the most important finding is that social ties seem to be more meaningful for women than for men. “Social ties matter for cardiovascular health,” she said, “and they matter more for women.”

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Virginia Coronavirus Case Average Reaches New High In Last Week

VIRGINIA — The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases has reached a new peak in Virginia as cases have been over 1,000 for six straight days.

Because the Virginia Department of Health coronavirus dashboard was down for maintenance for much of Saturday, we’re providing an update on the weekend. The month of October ended with 1,551 new cases on Saturday, and 1,202 were reported on Sunday. Cumulative cases total 182,392.

The seven-day case average is 1,289 and has been increasing in the last week. The highest new case count in October had been 1,844 on Oct. 8, but that was attributed to a backlog of cases from the previous day.

By region, the new cases on Sunday included 373 in the southwest region, 300 in the northern region, 186 in the central region, 180 in the northwest region and 163 in the eastern region. The southwest region also reported 582 new cases on Saturday, marking the highest daily cases to date for the region.

The statewide positive average is up to 5.7 percent with 2,647,659 PCR tests completed to date. Seven-day averages by region are 9.4 percent in the southwest region, 5.6 percent in the northern region, 5.4 percent in the central region, 4.3 percent in the eastern region, and 3.5 percent in the northwest region.

There was just one new death reported on Sunday and 11 on Saturday. Total deaths to date are up to 3,655. When looking at deaths by the date on death certificates, the highest seven-day average remains 40.1 deaths on May 5. Data may be incomplete for the last few weeks, but the average has been half of the May 5 peak or less in recent months.

Cumulative hospitalizations stand at 12,647, while the current patient count is 1,012. By region, that includes 284 in the southwest region, 242 in the northern region, 196 in the central region, 162 in the eastern region, and 128 in the northwest region.

The 1,012 statewide hospitalizations include 98 patients on ventilators and 228 in the intensive care units, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. Ventilator use among all hospital patients stands at 28 percent, and ICU occupancy is at 61 percent occupancy. No hospitals are reporting difficulty obtaining personal protective equipment or other medical supplies in the next 72 hours.

Outbreaks, defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases in a setting, account for 28,019 cases to date. There have been 12,608 cases and 1,782 deaths in long-term care facilities. K-12 settings account for 212 cases and no deaths, while colleges and universities have 2,466 outbreak-associated cases and no deaths.

Below are the latest coronavirus data updates for our coverage area from Friday to Sunday:

  • Alexandria: 4,349 cases, 325 hospitalizations, 74 deaths; increase of 46 cases and one hospitalization

  • Arlington County: 4,764 cases, 541 hospitalizations, 154 deaths; increase of 78 cases

  • Fairfax County: 24,233 cases, 2,287 hospitalizations, 605 deaths; increase of 289 cases and nine hospitalizations

  • Fairfax City: 164 cases, 14 hospitalizations, eight deaths;

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New Hampshire Reports Record High Positive COVID-19 Test Results

CONCORD, NH — Gov. Chris Sununu, R-NH, issued a weekend statement Saturday after state health officials reported the highest single day of new COVID-19 positive test results — 205, including 31 children.

The new test results were reported after 7,927 specimens were collected Friday and prior days of tests were updated slightly from previous reports. A little more than 1,100 test results are pending for a polymerase chain reaction test positivity rate of 1.6 percent.

“The situation here in New Hampshire remains very serious, the data shows that community transmission is increasing, and we expect cases to rise,” Sununu said. “We must all remain vigilant in our daily lives. As we enter these winter months, it will be more important than ever to wear your mask, practice social distancing, and maintain proper hand hygiene.”

Nearly a quarter of the new test results, 50, came from Rockingham County with 27 living in Hillsborough County outside of Manchester and Nashua, 19 residing in Nashua, and 13 living in Merrimack.

State officials are still investigating the residency of eight cases.

Fifty-three percent of the new positive test results were female.

The state reported that 42 people are currently hospitalizations while only one of the new cases has no identified risk factors.

Accumulatively, 11,084 people have contracted COVID-19 in New Hampshire with 1,338 currently infected and 9,263, 84 percent, having recovered from the virus.

The State Joint Information Center also announced the 483rd death in the New Hampshire — a woman who was 80 years of age or older and lived in a long-term care setting in Hillsborough County.

More than 345,000 people have been tested for the coronavirus with nearly 617,00 PCR tests being administered by the state and 4,400 people under public health monitoring.

More Possible Restaurant Exposures

Both state and Nashua health officials issued alerts during the past 24 hours about possible restaurant exposure to the public.

Nashua Public Health is investigating potential community exposure related to a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis at the Texas Roadhouse on 580 Amherst St. The potential community exposure occurred in the bar area between 3 and 10 p.m. on Oct. 22, and 11 a.m. to close on Oct. 23.

“The health and safety of our staff and customers is our top priority,” Eric Martin, the restaurant’s director of food safety. “We have been following CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting our facility. We follow all reopening guidance for food service establishments from the state.”

Public health is investigating the situation and notifying any known close contacts directly but if you were at the restaurant during those dates, you should self-quarantine, monitor for symptoms — sore throat, congestion, runny nose, headache, muscle ache, fatigue, new loss of taste or smell, fever, cough, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, and get tested.

State health officials said contact tracers were investigating another possible community exposure in Merrill’s Tavern and Stagecoach Grille at the Atkinson Resort & Country Club between 11 a.m. and 11:30

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Covid cases in the U.S. are ‘extremely high and quite unacceptable’ ahead of the winter, Fauci says

  • The U.S. is reporting an “extremely high and quite unacceptable” daily number of new coronavirus cases ahead of the winter season, Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview that aired Friday.
  • The country is still facing its original wave of coronavirus infections that “just resurges up, comes down a little, and resurges up again,” he said.
  • Unlike previous outbreaks the nation has faced so far, the most recent surge appears to be spreading in nearly every corner of the country.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The U.S. is reporting an “extremely high and quite unacceptable” daily number of Covid-19 cases ahead of the winter season when people will be spending more time indoors and threatening to spread the virus even more, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said.


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The U.S. reported a record-breaking 88,521 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, continuing its upward climb on what’s now the pandemic’s third peak. Although some have referred to the latest surge in cases as a “third wave,” Fauci said the country is still grappling with its original wave of coronavirus infections.

As the outbreak that originally ripped through New York and the Northeast began to decline in the spring, America’s Sun Belt states began reporting swelling outbreaks and infections rose again over the summer, Fauci told SiriusXM’s “Doctor Radio Reports” in an interview that aired Friday. The country was never able to report below 20,000 daily Covid-19 cases on average like other parts of the globe, Fauci said.

“We never got out of the real wave. We kind of went up and down within a wave,” Fauci said. “When I hear people talk about second and third waves, it really is the original wave that just resurges up, comes down a little, and resurges up again.”

chart, histogram

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Unlike previous outbreaks the nation has faced so far, the most recent surge appears to be spreading in nearly every corner of the country. Covid-19 cases were growing by 5% or more in 45 states over the week as of Thursday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The positivity rate, or the percentage of tests that are positive, is increasing in over 30 states, and roughly 13 states are in the “red zone,” which means they have a positivity rate above 10%, Fauci said. A high positivity rate is a sign that “there’s more infection out there that we’re not turning over,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, told CNBC on Friday.

“That’s something that you wish you did not have as you enter into the colder months because out of necessity, a lot more things are going to have to be done indoors because of the weather,” Fauci said.

On Friday, the U.S. surpassed 9 million total Covid-19 cases reported since the beginning of the pandemic, adding an additional 1 million cases since mid-October alone, according to

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Daily Cases Hit New High; 100,000 A Day Looms


  • Authorities reported 87,164 new coronavirus cases on Thursday
  • It is the third time in a week that the single-day high was broken
  • A CDC ensemble forecast suggests the US may see 6,000 weekly deaths before Thanksgiving

The U.S. is less than 50,000 cases away from logging 9 million coronavirus infections after officials reported more than 87,000 new COVID-19 cases Thursday night. 

Authorities recorded a new single-day high of 87,164 coronavirus cases, breaking the previous record of 83,731 set six days ago. The large number came as the U.S. inches closer to recording 9 million coronavirus cases just nine months after the pandemic began. It is also the third time in a week that the single-day record was broken, NBC News reported. 

Health officials also reported 996 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total death toll to 228,636, according to Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard. 

The coronavirus death toll could hit 256,000 over the next four weeks. An ensemble forecast by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also indicated that the number of new weekly deaths might even exceed 6,000 by Nov. 15. 

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the Trump-appointed former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said the 100,000 new cases per day is looming, CNN reported. 

“We’ll cross 100,000 infections at some point in the next couple of weeks, probably. We might do it this week if all the states report on time,” he said. 

The alarming numbers come less than a week away from Election Day on Nov. 3. Across the nation, 41 states have reported a 10% increase in new COVID-19 cases this past week, including New York City. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio and public health officials said the city’s coronavirus seven-day average positivity rate reached 1.92%. It was the highest number reported in weeks. The one-day positivity rate also saw a spike, reaching 2.7%. 

Authorities have also reported an increase in new cases across the city. Previously, the spikes due to outbreaks in certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens, Politico reported.

Ten percent of the new cases were connected to domestic and international travel. Workplaces and indoor gatherings were also linked to the surge of coronavirus cases in New York City. 

“The growth is what worries me. And we cannot allow that number to keep growing. We’re really going to have to double down,” de Blasio said. “This is a dangerous time, and we have to take it really, really seriously.”

As coronavirus cases spiral, some hospitals have been left no choice but to start transferring patients to less-crowded facilities As coronavirus cases spiral, some hospitals have been left no choice but to start transferring patients to less-crowded facilities Photo: AFP / PHILIPPE DESMAZES

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Daily new cases reached a all-time high on Thursday with more than 83,700 cases

There have been 83,757 Covid-19 cases reported in the United States as of Thursday evening, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the most new cases in a single day since the pandemic began.

a group of people sitting in a chair: AUSTIN, TEXAS - AUGUST 04: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a man with potential COVID-19 symptoms to a hospital on August 04, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Texas has had the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the United States, following Florida and California. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN, TEXAS – AUGUST 04: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a man with potential COVID-19 symptoms to a hospital on August 04, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Texas has had the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the United States, following Florida and California. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The previous high was just six days ago, when there were 83,731 new cases reported.

The staggering total comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States nears 9 million in the first nine months of the health crisis.

Across the country, 41 states had at least 10% more new Covid-19 cases this past week compared to the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins. No states saw a decline of cases that was 10% or more.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said he believes 100,000 new cases per day in the US is imminent.

“We’ll cross 100,000 infections at some point in the next couple of weeks, probably. We might do it this week, if all the states report on time,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb, who was appointed by President Donald Trump to lead the FDA in 2017, said this surge is due to the public’s behavior and lack of caution.

“The reality is that I think we’re not going to start to see a slowdown in the pandemic until you see consumer behavior change, and until you see mobility data start to decline,” he said.

“That’s been the lesson of the past surges in the virus.”

Deaths from the virus are also on the rise and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecast the death toll from Covid-19 could rise to as high as 256,000 just before Thanksgiving.

The ensemble forecast, published by the CDC Thursday, projects the best-case scenario is 243,000 deaths — and the worst-case is 256,000 deaths — by November 21.

At least 228,143 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

There have been 8.94 million cases reported, the university says.

States continue to see Covid-19 cases at all-time highs

These days, many Covid-19 high marks are short-lived as states grapple with skyrocketing infections and hospitalizations.

For the second time in five days, Ohio set a new high for most new Covid-19 cases in one day — 3,590, Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday.

Ohio also saw its third-highest day of Covid-19 hospitalizations in the past 24 hours.

“The virus is raging throughout the state, and there is no place to hide,” DeWine said.

“We must face this virus head-on with the tools that we know can beat this virus back: masks, social distancing, washing hands frequently, and good ventilation when

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Diets high in sugar bad for gut health, study suggests

A high-sugar diet is bad for gut health and possibly increases the risk of colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), concluded the authors of a new study published in Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday. 

Researchers with UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, studied the effects of dietary sugars, namely glucose, fructose and sucrose, in mice for seven days. 

As of 2015, an estimated 1.3% of US adults — about 3 million people — were diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease, an increase from 0.9% or 2 million adults in 1999, per federal health data.

As of 2015, an estimated 1.3% of US adults — about 3 million people — were diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease, an increase from 0.9% or 2 million adults in 1999, per federal health data.

Prior to feeding the animals a solution of water with a 10% concentration of dietary sugars, the researchers used “gene-sequencing techniques to identify the types and prevalence of bacteria found in the large intestines.” They repeated this step seven days later after feeding the mice the sugary solution. 

By the end, the researchers found that mice that were either genetically predisposed to develop the colitis, or those that were given a chemical to induce the condition, “developed more severe symptoms if they were first given sugar,” per a news release regarding the findings. 


More specifically, after seven days, the mice fed sucrose, fructose and “especially glucose,” the researchers said, “showed significant changes in the microbial population inside the gut.” The researchers also noted that the mucus layer that protects the lining of the large intestine was thinning after the mice were fed a high-sugar diet. 

“Bacteria known to produce mucus-degrading enzymes, such as Akkermansia, were found in greater numbers, while some other types of bugs considered good bacteria and commonly found in the gut, such as Lactobacillus, became less abundant,” per the news release. 


Though the research only looked at the effects of sugar on gut health in mice, the study “clearly shows that you really have to mind your food,” Dr. Hasan Zaki, who led the effort, said in a statement, noting that this is especially true in Western countries, where diets are often higher in fat, sugar and animal protein. There is also a greater prevalence of colitis – which can cause “persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain and rectal bleeding” –  in Western countries, the researchers noted. 

Indeed: As of 2015, an estimated 1.3% of U.S. adults – about 3 million people – were diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease, an increase from 0.9% or 2 million adults in 1999, per federal health data. 


“Colitis is a major public health problem in the U.S. and in other Western countries,”  added Zaki. “This is very important from a public health point of view.”

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D.C. region hits 11-week high in coronavirus infections, but avoids spikes seen elsewhere

New coronavirus infections across the greater Washington region hit an 11-week high Wednesday, mirroring a rise seen across large swaths of the country as the pandemic’s spread worsens ahead of the cold winter months.

The rolling seven-day average of new infections across D.C., Virginia and Maryland stands at 1,949 cases, the most since the average reached 2,001 new cases on Aug. 9. Health experts said adherence to health precautions will limit further spread, but warned that residents might want to reconsider travel during the busy holiday season.

Despite the rise, caseloads in the capital region are far below those in many other states. Virginia is recording 14 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, a number that drops to 12 in Maryland and 10 in D.C. — about half the national average of 22.

By comparison, the state with the lowest rate is Vermont, at three new cases per 100,000 residents, while new daily infections have surged to 104 per 100,000 in North Dakota and South Dakota — more than 10 times the rate as the nation’s capital.

[Places in the U.S. with highest daily reported cases per capita]

Health experts said Wednesday that while the Washington region’s number of infections might rise further, they don’t expect large spikes like those in other parts of the country — assuming residents continue to follow standard guidelines of wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and not traveling for nonessential reasons.

Costi Sifri, director of hospital epidemiology at UVA Health in Charlottesville, said “virus fatigue” has started to set in, with some people opting out of precautions they took earlier in the pandemic. Cold weather is another factor, prompting residents to spend more time indoors and in closer proximity, creating an ideal environmental for the virus to spread.

“We are starting to see an uptick in the DMV of cases,” Sifri said. “But we’re fortunate that we’re one of a handful of states — Maryland, D.C. and Virginia — that are not seeing surges.”

[Coronavirus cases and metrics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia]

He credited the region’s success with the widespread following of health guidelines, which he said were accompanied by less political tension than in other parts of the country.

Sifri said that as Halloween and Thanksgiving approach, actions taken now will help to determine how the virus is spreading as the December holidays and New Year’s get closer. Combating any virus is generally more difficult during the fall and winter months, he said, and the coronavirus is no exception.

“If we don’t do things well now, it could lead to a very bad holiday season,” he said.

In Virginia, Sifri said rural parts of the state continue to see a rise in infections, a shift from more densely populated areas hit early in the pandemic.

Virginia Department of Health data shows Northern Virginia saw its average number of new daily cases rise Wednesday to 271 — the highest in that region since mid-June. But much of the state’s rise is coming

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Coronavirus tally in D.C. region hits two-month high; Maryland’s Hogan says earlier restrictions unlikely

The seven-day average of new infections across the region stands at 1,874 cases, the highest since Aug. 13, when it stood at 1,916. The number of new cases reported Tuesday in D.C., Maryland and Virginia surpassed 2,000 for the fourth time this month, mirroring a rise seen across much of the country.

Hogan said Tuesday during a WBAL radio interview that the pandemic will probably get worse before it gets better but that it’s unlikely that restrictions imposed during the height of the pandemic will return to Maryland.

“I don’t anticipate going back to some of the measures we took before,” he said.

In March, hoping to stop the spread of the virus, Hogan issued a stay-at-home order that prohibited residents from leaving their houses unless they worked at an essential job or were buying groceries or medicine. Six weeks later, he began lifting some of those restrictions.

His gradual reopening of the state did not sit well with many members of the state’s Republican Party, some of whom wanted it to occur more quickly. ReOpen Maryland held rallies across the state and in Annapolis demanding an end to coronavirus-
related restrictions.

A poll conducted by Gonzales Research & Media Strategies, released Tuesday, shows more than a quarter of Republicans say the governor has done a fair or poor job handling the crisis, while 66 percent think he has handled it well. Meanwhile, 82 percent of Democrats give Hogan high marks for his handling of the virus.

Hogan said the state is “ready” for another wave.

“We do anticipate it getting worse in the fall, having a hospital surge, which is why we built 6,000 new hospital beds,” Hogan said of preparations taken earlier this year.

He said Marylanders should also brace themselves for the effect a second wave could have on the state’s economy as people become less comfortable with going to large gatherings and entertainment venues and eating inside restaurants.

The Gonzales poll found that 41 percent of Marylanders feel comfortable returning to their regular routine, while 57 percent say they do not feel comfortable resuming their pre-pandemic lives.

“Maryland has been one of the few that has kind of avoided [a big uptick in metrics] so far, but we don’t have any magic wall that’s going to keep the virus out of our state,” Hogan said.

The 897 new cases reported Tuesday in Maryland were the most in a single day since 922 cases were reported Aug. 9, while hospitalizations and test positivity rates have also ticked upward. The state also reported nine new fatalities.

The greater Washington region Tuesday recorded 2,125 new cases and 30 additional deaths. Virginia added 1,134 cases and 19 deaths, while D.C. added 94 cases and two deaths.

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

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