A COVID-19 Update From Commissioner Dzirasa | WYPR

A COVID-19 Update From Commissioner Dzirasa

Mar 12, 2020

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa.
Credit Baltimore City Health Department

We begin today with an update on the status of efforts to contain the new coronavirus that's causing COVID-19, a highly contagious and potentially lethal respiratory infection.  As of Thursday noon, there are 12 reported cases in Maryland.  At least one patient is being treated for COVID-19 at a Baltimore hospital.  There have been several cases reported in Montgomery County and Prince Georges County, and last night, officials announced the first case in Baltimore County.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared that the COVID19 outbreak is now officially a pandemic, citing the “alarming levels of severity, spread and infection,” and bemoaning the lack of response to the disease in some countries...

Wednesday night, President Trump made confusing pronouncements about restricting travel into the United States from Europe.  Tweets after his nationally televised, ten-minute Oval Office speech clarified who and what will be restricted, and from where.  His intention to calm financial markets had the opposite effect.  Soon after it opened this morning, the Dow fell 2,000 points, triggering a halt to trading for 15 minutes, the second such “circuit breaker” event this week. 

And the NCAA announced yesterday that the Division 1 Mens and Women’s college basketball tournaments, known as March Madness, will be played without spectators.  But the NBA, citing a positive diagnosis of one of its star players, canceled all of their games indefinitely.   The NHL followed suit and canceled its season Thursday afternoon, although no league player is yet known to have tested positive for the virus.

So, what’s going on here in Baltimore in response to the COVID19 outbreak?  Tom welcomes Dr. Letitia Dzirasa back to the program.  Dr. Dzirasa, a Hopkins-trained pediatrician, has been Commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department since March, 2019.