WYPR Coronavirus Coverage | WYPR

WYPR Coronavirus Coverage

Who needs camp when you can design a mosaic, carve a statue from soap or compose a song … all from home! The ‘Baltimore Summer Arts Passport’ offers alternatives to ‘a cancelled camp summer’ for thousands of city youth. We talk with Julia di Busolo, executive director of Arts Every Day, who spearheaded the project, and with Dana Carr, executive director of Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Center. She believes the project could set the stage for future instruction.

For more information about the Baltimore Summer Arts Passport, visit this link. To make a Baltimore Summer Arts Passport donation, visit this link.

The Daily Dose 7-30-20

Jul 30, 2020
Baltimore County

The head of Baltimore County’s Health Department tests positive for COVID-19. The Census Bureau urges residents to be counted in Baltimore City, where response rates are low. Coronavirus cases are spiking in Baltimore. And Governor Hogan puts the brakes on Maryland’s Road Map to Recovery.

Baltimore City Health Department handout

Baltimore city officials are urging residents to stay home and obey face masks requirements after an “alarming” increase in the rate of COVID-19 infections in Baltimore.

“The vast majority of you are heeding our pleas to continue to practice social distancing and wear your face coverings,” City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said at a news conference alongside Mayor Jack Young on Thursday. “But the case data indicates that not enough of us are.”


Baltimore County

Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement from the county health department, Dr. Branch was having a mild cough and a raspy voice and so he decided to get tested at a county clinic.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

In response to rising numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan is expanding the list of places Marylanders are required to wear masks. Beginning Friday, masks will be required statewide in all indoor public places and outdoors when it’s impossible to keep physically distant from other people.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

According to Charles Gischlar, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health, typical turnaround time for COVID-19 test results in Maryland averages between two to seven days. 

There are publicly and privately run sites - and the Maryland Department of Health says the state has been averaging approximately 20,000 tests per day at all test sites for the last five days.


Rebecca Wilson has been an election judge since 2004 -– but this November, you won’t find her assisting voters at the polls.  

“I consider serving in the polling place to be my patriotic duty, and I love doing it, but I will not volunteer for an unnecessary suicide mission,” Prince George's County’s chief election judge said.

The Daily Dose 7-29-20

Jul 29, 2020
Baltimore County Police Department

Governor Hogan hits pause on Maryland’s reopening plans. The call gets louder for an all mail-in ballot this November. Things got heated in debate over police reforms at a Baltimore County Council public. And environmental activists say a Baltimore City incinerator is a public health threat.

The Daily Dose 7-28-20

Jul 28, 2020
Patrick Semansky/AP

Police-reform legislation goes before the Baltimore County Council. Housing relief applications are due this week, and there are growing calls for Governor Hogan to stave off mass evictions. And Baltimore Mayor Jack Young rules on two pressing charter amendments.


Applications for Governor Larry Hogan’s $10 million assisted housing relief program are due this week. The program will use federal CARES Act funds to provide rental assistance to tenants affected by COVID-19. Property management companies will receive direct payment from the program for April through July rent. 

While the tentative deadline is currently noon on July 31, the program may close before that date. Gregory Hare, who is overseeing the program, says that the housing department will be accepting applications on a first come first serve basis. 

The Daily Dose 7-27-20

Jul 27, 2020

Why is the White House ordering hospitals to send COVID-19 data to a private contractor instead of the CDC? And how useful is increased testing if the results take two weeks to process? Health policy expert Dr. Leana Wen shares her concerns. Plus, the story of a doctor who’s merged his love for baseball with his passion for patient care.

Maryland GovPics via Flickr (CREATIVE COMMONS BY 2.0)

If you’re the type that makes a wager on such things, and you bet that one of the major team sports wouldn’t be able to make it through its first week back from the pandemic without a problem, well, consider yourself a winner.

It only took four days from Major League Baseball’s launch on Thursday for the sport to hurdle into a potential crisis, as 13 Miami Marlins players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports.

Rachel Baye/WYPR

The Orioles’ Monday night game against the Marlins was postponed Monday morning after a slew of Miami players tested positive for the coronavirus.

ESPN reports that at least 13 of the 33 Marlins players who have been traveling with the team, including two coaches, have tested positive. The outbreak is Major League Baseball’s first health crisis since games returned to empty stadiums last week after months of hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the Midday Healthwatch with Dr. Leana Wen, the former health commissioner of the City of Baltimore. She writes about public health issues as a columnist for The Washington Post, and she teaches public health policy at George Washington University. 

More than 4.2 million people have been infected with the Coronavirus in the United States. Worldwide, that number is more than 16 million. About 650,000 people around the globe have died of Coronavirus-related disease. Here in Maryland, more than 3,400 people have died due to virus-related illness. 

Last month, our state was one of 12 states in which the number of new cases was decreasing. That’s no longer the case. The number of people who test positive for COVID-19 in Maryland remains at just above 5%, which means that Maryland is one of the 34 states in the U.S. above the positivity rate recommended by the World Health Organization. Dr. Wen answers your questions about this and more on today’s Midday.

The Daily Dose 7-24-20

Jul 24, 2020
Allison Shelley/NPR

The top headlines of the day, plus the social and educational repercussions of a COVID-19 outbreak at The Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center. And a look at the changing stance of the Trump administration in the face of unavoidable realities.

AP Photo/Noah Berger

It's another edition of the Midday Newswrap, and this week we spotlight the simmering civil rights street protests in Portland, Oregon, and the forceful and controversial actions taken against demonstrators by teams of camouflaged federal Border Patrol agents, tactical units the Trump Administration deployed to the city against the wishes of the Portland mayor and Oregon's governor and legislators. 

Tom talks first with Washington Post reporter Marissa Lang who's in Portland covering the unrest. She gives us an eyewitness update on this tense and developing situation.  Lang connects with Midday via Zoom.

Then we broaden the focus to other Trump Administration-related news developments, as Tom is joined by Ayesha Rascoe, a White House reporter for NPR.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak among both staff and the youth incarcerated there. As of Thursday, at least four of the facility’s 31 youth residents and at least three staff had confirmed cases of COVID-19.


As a result, the youth at the detention center have limited opportunities for education, and many have no interaction with their teachers.

The Daily Dose 7-23-20

Jul 23, 2020
Maryland Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit

A COVID-19 outbreak hits the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center. Senator Chris Van Hollen calls for more federal eviction protections. And an oncologist speaks about the high stakes of cancer treatment during a pandemic.

Johns Hopkins University

Today,  it’s Midday on Ethics. We'll explore the ethical issues surrounding digital contact tracing and the clinical trials for a vaccine to combat the Coronavirus. 

Public health experts have long said that testing and contact tracing are key to contain the spread of the virus. Congress has allocated nearly $12 billion in grants to states to support contact tracing efforts. By some estimates, the US will need an army of more than 100,000 investigators tracking down people who have come into contact with others who are infected with COVID-19. Apple and Google have introduced digital tools for contact tracing. 

Tom's guest today has considered the ethical challenges of using digital technology in this sensitive area. Dr. Jeffrey Kahn is the director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He also oversaw a project that led to a new book with recommendations to ensure that contact tracing is not only effective, but ethical. Dr. Kahn joins us via Skype.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Gov. Larry Hogan used a wide-ranging press conference Wednesday to respond to a barrage of criticism from local leaders about rising COVID-19 case numbers and the state’s plan for the upcoming election. WYPR’s Rachel Baye walks through what he said with Matt Tacka.

Maryland Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit

At least three staff members and four youth residents are confirmed to have COVID-19 at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, a state detention center whose current residents range from 13 to 18 years old. As a result, many of the youth are either quarantined in their housing units or, if they are confirmed to have the virus, isolated in their rooms.

The Daily Dose 7-22-20

Jul 22, 2020
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Governor Hogan praises Maryland’s testing positivity rate, but says the under-35 crowd needs to do better. Baltimore's mayor requires residents to wear masks and halts indoor dining. And Baltimore County joins other districts in opting to start the school year with virtual instruction.

Wikimedia Commons

Sen. Chris Van Hollen joined Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren Wednesday to call for more federal eviction protections. A federal moratorium on evictions ends on Friday, after which courts can resume hearing eviction cases. 

“The Aspen Institute projects that over 330,000 Marylanders are at risk of eviction by the end for this year. That’s a staggering number. And that’s just Maryland,” Van Hollen said at an afternoon press conference. 

AP Photo/Susan Walsh


Baltimore Mayor Jack Young issued executive orders Wednesday that suspend indoor dining services and require residents to wear masks whenever they leave their homes and cannot engage in social distancing. They take effect at 5 p.m. Friday.

Since Baltimore entered its phase 2 of reopening just over a month ago, the city has seen a near-double increase in new coronavirus cases, a dramatic rise of cases in people under the age of 40 and a disproportionately high positivity rate in southeast neighborhoods like Canton and Patterson Park. 

Mary Rose Madden

Baltimore County Public School students will be receiving their instruction online for the first semester of the school year that begins in September.

That’s what the county school board decided Tuesday after some members sought flexibility in the draft reopening plan School Superintendent Darryl Williams presented to the board.

The Daily Dose 7-21-20

Jul 21, 2020
Drew Morris/Flickr

Baltimore City Schools delay in-person classes until later this fall. The City Council passes a charter amendment for a new watchdog role over city government. A spike in COVID-19 cases prompts a new mask order in Baltimore County. And Baltimore County elections workers say the governor’s order to open all polling places in November is going to be a problem.

Courtesy the Olszewski Campaign

Alarmed by a surge in new COVID-19 cases, the executives of Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties took different approaches Tuesday to the problem.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski issued an order requiring residents two and older to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. He said that order, which goes into effect at 9 a.m. Thursday goes beyond an earlier public health order from Gov. Larry Hogan requiring masks in food service and retail establishment.

The Daily Dose 7-20-20

Jul 20, 2020
Seth Sawyers/flickr

City schools announce a virtual reopening, and Baltimore County school employees are calling for the same. Maryland is officially into phase two of its COVID-19 recovery plan, but residents aren’t all so quick to embrace the relaxed restrictions. Plus, an update on Baltimore’s rental assistance program.


More than 5,500 households have begun or completed applications for Baltimore City’s $13 million rental assistance program, according to Tammy Hawley, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Housing.

Applications for the program, which aims to prevent mass evictions by paying April, May and June rent for renters who have lost income due to COVID-19, were due at 7 p.m. Sunday. The payments go directly to landlords. 

The department sought to help at least 6,000 households and may have leftover funds. 

Seth Sawyers/flickr

The unions that represent teachers, administrators and other school employees in Baltimore County are calling for students to begin the school year at home, doing online learning. 

The unions said Monday at a news conference that school buildings are unsafe.