WYPR Coronavirus Coverage | WYPR

WYPR Coronavirus Coverage

John Lee

Now that schools will remain closed through at least April 24, school systems across Maryland are scrambling to come up with ways to teach children from a distance.

Baltimore County School Superintendent Darryl Williams said instruction on line will begin for county students on Monday, April 6.


Yesterday, when both Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell expressed optimism about a stimulus deal in the Senate, the stock market responded enthusiastically.  The Dow jumped 2,100 points by the close of trading.   It opened up again this morning.

House and Senate lawmakers wrangled for nearly a week over the third tranche of the most expensive economic stimulus package in American history, and just before one a-m today, Democratic and Republican leaders, along with administration officials, announced a $2 trillion dollar deal had been reached.  It’s expected to be passed and signed into law within days.

Tom's first guest today is Senator Ben Cardin, the Democratic senior senator from Maryland.  Sen. Cardin is a Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Ranking Member of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. He joins us from his office on Capitol Hill.

John Lee

There have been at least 30 cases in Baltimore County over the past 10 days of people violating social distancing rules as authorities try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Statewide it is illegal for more than 10 people to gather together.

Baltimore Heritage/Wikimedia Commons

Public schools in Maryland will be closed for four more weeks, through April 24.

And school officials may, over the next four weeks, decide to extend the closure, Gov. Larry Hogan said at a press conference Wednesday. He called the idea that students will return to their classrooms in four weeks “somewhat aspirational.”

Harvard University

As the COVID-19 outbreak intensifies in America, concerns are being raised about how racial inequities in our healthcare system will exacerbate the risks for minority communities. 

African Americans are disproportionately affected by chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease, conditions the CDC has identified as “high-risk” for serious complications from coronavirus. 

For minorities who live in low income areas, those risks are further compounded by lack of access to healthy food and quality healthcare. 

Tom's next guest is a social scientist who has studied disparities in the health system.  Dr. David R. Williams is a professor of Public Health and African and African-American Studies at Harvard University. 

He joins us on the phone from Boston.

Cianna Greaves / WYPR

As the COVID-19 pandemic has rippled through the US economy, one of the sectors most severely disrupted is transportation, from airlines and inter-city rail and bus lines to mass transit systems and, to a lesser extent, the trucking industry.

For a perspective on how this vital sector of the economy is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and what relief it might expect from the latest economic stimulus package, we turn to Ian Duncan.  He covers transportation for the Washington Postand joins us on the phone.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Food insecure Baltimoreans can pick up healthy meals at more than 50 designated grab-and-go meal sites throughout the city, and no one will ask for identification or other personal information, city officials say.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan and Baltimore Mayor Jack Young got a preview on Tuesday of plans for a field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center. The site’s initial 250 beds are part of a larger plan to increase hospitals’ capacity in the face of rapidly rising coronavirus infection rates.


The goal is 6,000 beds more than Maryland hospitals already have. Hogan said he arrived at that number — a number he called “mind-boggling” — based on what doctors and other experts said could be the need in the worst-case scenario.


John Lee

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said President Trump could be putting lives at risk by saying he wants the country opened by Easter.

The president Tuesday said the U.S. economy is in jeopardy. During a Fox News town hall, the president said, “The faster we go back, the better it’s going to be.”

Rachel Baye

After confirmed cases of COVID-19 ballooned over the weekend, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses closed at 5 p.m. Monday. He said the measures are necessary to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and could potentially save thousands of lives.

Cris Jacobs

Cris Jacobs had just started streaming from his phone, duct taped to a music stand in his basement in Reisterstown.

“What’s up everybody,” Jacobs asked. Normally at a gig that would have been met by whoops and applause. This time, Jacobs heard nothing.

Steve Ruark / AP

Approximately 10,000 state employees who are required to work during Maryland’s COVID-19 state of emergency will no longer receive extra pay during this period.  

Jamyla Krempel

New policies and restrictions, updated case numbers, notifications about the presence, or absence, of resources: every day, every hour, new information is released about the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it's having on people's lives abroad, and here in Maryland. It can be overwhelming. 

We're providing answers to some of the most common questions being asked in our state. 

Alissa Eckert, Dan Higgins/CDC

A second Maryland resident has died from the novel coronavirus, Gov. Larry Hogan's office reported Friday.

The victim was a Baltimore County resident in his 60s who had an underlying medical condition.

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

While many Marylanders are social distancing or self-isolating during this time of the novel coronavirus outbreak, hospital healthcare workers are testing and treating patients at an accelerated rate, under utterly stressful circumstances. 

Towson University

The University System of Maryland has announced that all undergraduate classes at its 12 institutions will be online-only for the rest of the semester.

Towson University is part of the University System of Maryland. Last week, coronavirus fears prompted its students to be sent home days before spring break began. Those students are trying to figure out what’s coming next…and grapple with the new normal.


Gov. Larry Hogan discussed Maryland’s first death from the novel coronavirus and handed down additional emergency orders that are effective immediately during a Thursday morning news conference. 

Hogan first announced the death of a Prince George’s County man in a tweet Wednesday night. The man was in his 60s and had an unspecified underlying health condition and no known travel history.


“This man was infected by community transmission,” Hogan said Thursday. “Unfortunately, we are only at the beginning of this crisis. While this is the first death in Maryland, it won’t be the last.”

Rachel Baye/WYPR

 The Maryland General Assembly adjourned its annual 90-day legislative session on Wednesday, 19 days early as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time since the Civil War that the legislature cut its time in Annapolis short.

John Lee

Schools across Maryland were to be closed this week and next to slow the spread of coronavirus. Now, system administrators are preparing for the real possibility they might be closed even longer. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

There are five cases of the novel coronavirus and the first evidence of community transmission in Baltimore, city officials said Wednesday. 

“Baltimore is moving to a new phase of response,” said Mayor Jack Young, who announced during a news conference he was placing the city under a state of emergency.  

Governor Larry Hogan announced Tuesday several new measures to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Maryland.

Last week, Hogan ordered schools in Maryland closed. Monday, he ordered bars restaurants, movies and gyms to close and Tuesday he said he would cut MARC train commuter service by 50 percent and reduce local bus, light rail, Metro and commuter bus services.

He also said the state would switch to cashless tolls and that he has asked that the deadline for the federal real ID be extended.

AP/Patrick Semansky

Gov. Larry Hogan issued a proclamation Tuesday that moves the April 28 Maryland primary elections to June 2 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 


The decision affects both Maryland’s presidential and local primaries, including primaries for mayor, city council president and other offices in Baltimore City.  Early voting will begin May 21 and run through May 28.


The 7th congressional district special election to fill the remainder of the late Elijah Cummings’ term will still be held in April, using solely mail-in ballots.

Rachel Baye

The state Senate voted Monday to pass a bill that aims to provide some relief to residents from some of the effects of the current COVID-19 outbreak.


Gov. Larry Hogan took unprecedented action by closing all bars, eat-in restaurants, movie theatres and gyms starting at 5 p.m. Monday in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and protect public health.

“We should continue to expect the number of cases to dramatically and rapidly rise. We have never faced anything like this before,” Hogan said. “This is going to be worse than almost anyone is currently understanding.”


Rachel Baye/WYPR

  Gov. Larry Hogan has announced several drastic actions aimed at mitigating what experts say is the inevitable spread of the novel Coronavirus in Maryland. Among these, the state is closing public schools for two weeks, activating the National Guard, and closing the Port of Baltimore to cruise ships.


The measures were prompted by the news that Maryland has its first confirmed case of community-transmitted COVID-19, the disease caused by the new Coronavirus. The infected person, a Prince George’s County resident, has no known exposure to the virus through travel or another infected person.

Rachel Baye

The novel Coronavirus is having the most severe effects on older populations. After a nursing home in Washington State experienced 18 deaths as a result of the virus, the Maryland Department of Health issued new guidance to nursing homes here, Gov. Larry Hogan announced at the beginning of a cabinet meeting Tuesday.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan has created a Coronavirus response team, made up of public health and emergency management experts, he announced at a press conference Monday. The group will meet for the first time Tuesday.

Johns Hopkins University

And now, it’s Midday on Ethics.

The coronavirus doesn’t only pose epidemiological challenges. It poses ethical dilemmas as well, particularly as governments grapple with containing the epidemic.

Whenever science and health news raises potential ethical concerns, we turn to Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, who joins me now in Studio A.

Dr. Kahn is the director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He is one of the co-editors of The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics.  And he has a recurring role in “Unnatural Selection” — a four-part series on Netflix about the possible uses of gene editing.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch.