March 1, 2021

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How the coronavirus tore through D.C., Maryland and Virginia

By Rebecca Tan, Antonio Olivo and John D. Harden

The boat motored up the Nile River, a capsule of gaiety beneath a spotless February sky.

Bonnie Lippe figured the aches and fever she and others in her tour group experienced were related to the rich food or the drinking water. A month later, she became the first person in the Washington region confirmed to have the coronavirus.

By December, hundreds of thousands would be infected in the region.

The march of the virus through the District, Maryland and Virginia has exposed cruel disparities influencing who gets sick and who survives. But at each stage of the pandemic, the virus has also shown that anyone — from the poor to the powerful — can become a victim.