State’s new virus cases remain high
Maryland reported more than 1,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus Friday for the third time in a week.
The state’s caseload has continued to climb over the past several weeks, with more than 500 new cases reported each day since July 13.
Maryland reported1,169 new coronavirus cases and five new deaths from the virus Friday. The numbers come as new regulations on face mask use are set to take effect. Starting at 5 p.m., Marylanders over the age of 5 are required to wear masks in all public buildings, whereas before masks were only required by the state in grocery stores, pharmacies and aboard public transit.
Hogan set the new requirements on Wednesday, and said that the state has paused its reopening efforts, but he has thus far resisted calls to close down restaurants, bars and other facilities once more.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations from the virus have also started to tick up. The state reported 590 people were hospitalized as of Friday, five more than on Thursday. About 22% of those hospitalized are in intensive care units.
There haven’t been more than 20 deaths reported in a single day, though, since last month.
The state has reported a total of 88,346 cases and 3,362 deaths from the virus since it started tracking COVID-19 in March.
The coronavirus testing positivity rate, as reported by the state, remains below 5%, a key World Health Organization metric, and was at 4.54% as of Friday. The WHO recommends that there be a positivity rate below 5% for two weeks before governments reopen. Maryland started reopening before its positivity rate fell below 5%, but it’s remained there for weeks.
But Johns Hopkins University, which tabulates the rate differently, gave Maryland a 6.04% positivity rate. Hopkins calculates its rate based on the number of individuals who have been tested, whereas the state uses the number of tests that have been conducted.
The state has conducted more than 28,000 coronavirus tests over the past 24 hours, behind its record of 34,874 tests conducted in one day. The state has conducted a total of 1.2 million tests, about 68% of which have come back negative.
The largest number of new cases Friday was reported in Prince George’s County, with 233. Baltimore County was right behind it with 203, followed by Baltimore City and Montgomery County.
The testing positivity rates in those jurisdictions are among the highest in the state. The rate is above 5% in each of those jurisdictions, with the exception of Montgomery County, which has a rate of 3.66%.
Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, the state’s two most populous jurisdictions, according to census data, still have the most total cases of the virus.
Younger people are driving the state’s caseload higher. About 21% of Friday’s newly announced coronavirus cases came from people in their 20s, even though this cohort represents about 13% of Maryland’s population. Roughly 58% of Friday’s new cases came from people younger than 40. This group represents about 52% of the state population.
Meanwhile, the virus continues to disproportionately affect the state’s Black and Hispanic residents. Black people, who represent about 31% of the state population, account for nearly 37% of the coronavirus cases in Maryland for which race is reported. Hispanic people, who represent about 10% of Maryland’s population, make up 29% of the coronavirus cases where race is reported.
White people, who make up about half of Maryland’s population, account for little more than a quarter of the COVID-19 cases. White people do, however, make up the largest share of deaths from the virus in Maryland at 42%.