After the deadliest 48-hour period to date during the coronavirus pandemic, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan today said he’s developing a plan to reopen the state.
Hogan said this week’s data gave reason for optimism despite 47 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday and 40 on Monday. He said hospital admission rates are stabilizing, and the number of known cases is growing more slowly.
“Everyone would like to know when we’re going to get back to a normal life,” he said. “Fortunately, we are now beginning to see that these initial [social distancing] actions are making a real difference. Our numbers are still rising and we’re still heading up that curve, so we’re not there yet.”
Hogan’s cautious optimism comes as many Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, push to reopen businesses, arguing the lasting damage to the economy by closures and stay-at-home orders outweighs the damage done by a greater number of sick people and lives lost.
Hogan, a Republican, said his recovery plan would consist of four “building blocks” – exponentially expanded COVID-19 testing, increased hospital surge capacity, more production of protective equipment, and improved tracing of the contacts of coronavirus carriers.
“I can assure you that those plans will be well thought out, gradual and safe,” he said. “Because if the recovery is not done in a thoughtful and responsible way, it would not only cost lives, but it would deepen the economic crisis, and actually prolong the problems and slow our recovery.”
Maryland today rolled past the 10,000 mark of known COVID-19 cases, according to the Maryland Department of Health. They include 1,060 confirmed cases in Baltimore City and 1,485 in Baltimore County.
Hogan said Maryland is about two weeks behind the curve of infection in New York, the state hardest hit so far by the pandemic.