WYPR Coronavirus Coverage | WYPR

WYPR Coronavirus Coverage

Rachel Baye / WYPR

On Election Day this November, Marylanders will be able to cast ballots at their regular polling places, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday in a letter to the State Board of Elections. However, voters who want to vote by mail will have to submit ballot applications.


The plan is a departure from the June primary, ahead of which all registered voters were mailed ballots. Instead, the state will send all registered voters applications for mail-in ballots.

Phalinn Ooi / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a disruptive year for students. The school year dissolved into distance learning, then summer vacation, and now educators are bracing for a bigger than normal “summer slide” when classes resume.

The Daily Dose 7-7-20

Jul 7, 2020
Anne Ditmeyer / Flickr Creative Commons

A Maryland lawmaker from a predominately white county takes up the call for a ban on confederate flags. And with a wave of evictions caused by this pandemic on the horizon, Baltimore city funnels millions of dollars into a rent relief fund. Will it be enough?

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced Monday that he is allocating additional funds to support residents struggling to pay rent due to COVID-19. 

Last month, the county set aside $1 million of its federal and state emergency assistance funds to prevent evictions. After receiving 1500 applications, the county is now allocating an additional $1 million in federal CARES Act funding. 


The county is also allocating $2 million in grant funding for Phase 2 of its eviction prevention program.



The Daily Dose 7-6-20

Jul 6, 2020
Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

How are some local businesses managing to adapt to the pandemic while others struggle to stay afloat? Baltimore County is trying to help stave off evictions. Plus, a story about Black-run farms in Baltimore and the intersection of agriculture, politics, and community activism.

Anne Ditmeyer / Flickr Creative Commons

"There’s an extraordinary need out there, by any measure. Within the first 24 hours of launching the program on Wednesday we had 1700 applications either in progress or already submitted.” Baltimore Housing Commissioner Michael Braverman describes a need that reflects the desperation of renters.

Colin's Restaurant

The economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a deathknell for some businesses. But others are thriving.

Baltimore County is trying to figure out why some businesses are doing well, and how the others that are tanking might be helped.

from livestream

Baltimore community members and grassroots organizers gathered in front of City Hall Thursday afternoon to demand that the city and state do more to protect tenants and those experiencing homelessness. 

Speakers included residents who spoke of their experiences living in local homeless shelters amid the coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic). They also read original poems and presented artwork. 


Mayor Jack Young launched a $13 million pandemic rental assistance program on Wednesday, and Gov. Larry Hogan announced a $30 million fund to prevent evictions last Friday. But advocates say that this is not enough.

Baltimore City has cancelled its annual Fourth of July fireworks this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It pained me to cancel a tradition that has been a staple for decades in Baltimore City,” Mayor Jack Young said at a press conference Thursday. 

But Young said that the police will be on the lookout for illegal fireworks. City officials have been hearing complaints about illegal fireworks at night for weeks. 

The Daily Dose 7-2-20

Jul 2, 2020
Rachel Baye / WYPR

More than 400 million dollars have been cut from Maryland’s budget, and state officials say the fiscal crisis won’t end until the pandemic does. The Maryland Food Bank has received record-breaking donations at a moment of unprecedented demand. And Baltimore City announces pools will reopen, but not in time for the long holiday weekend.

image courtesy 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks

It's the July edition of Midday at the Movies, and Tom is joined again by two of our favorite movie mavens -- Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday and the Maryland Film Festival's founding director, Jed Dietz. 

As demonstrations for police reform and racial justice continue across the country, Ann and Jed discuss the ripple effects the national dialogue on race is having on film culture, from HBO's decision to add "context" to Gone with the Wind --  the classic (and racist) 1939 film about the Civil War-era South --  to director Spike Lee's latest joint, Da 5 Bloods, a film now streaming on NETFLIX that recaps the arc of the 1960s civil rights awakening as it follows four Black Vietnam War vets who return to Nam to recover the remains of a lost soldier. 

As COVID-19 continues to threaten the nation and to keep most movie theaters dark, Ann and Jed note the success of recent virtual film festivals and the return of drive-in movies. They also spotlight some other summer streamers, including Shirleya tour-de-force performance by Elizabeth Moss, in a dark, quirky portrayal of horror-genre writer Shirley Jackson, now streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime; and the Friday, July 3 streaming debut of Hamilton, a film of the multi-award-winning 2016 Broadway stage production, featuring the show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, in the title role.  Hamilton will stream exclusively to paid subscribers on the Disney Plus channel.

Martin Falbisoner/wikimedia.org

People aren’t working as much or buying as many things--which hurts not only their individual economic lives, but the state’s revenues also. The state board with the job of balancing the budget has started reducing spending. We speak with the only member of the board who voted ‘’no”-- State Treasurer Nancy Kopp -- about why she thinks it’s worth taking another month before locking in budget cuts. Plus Sen. Guy Guzzone and Del. Maggie McIntosh, the chairs of two important legislative committees, explain how they’ll approach rewriting next year’s budget.

Here's how The Baltimore Sun and the news site Maryland Matters covered the vote by the Board of Public Works.

Rachel Baye / WYPR


The Maryland Board of Public Works cut $413 million from the state budget during its meeting Wednesday. Gov. Larry Hogan — one of the board’s three members — said the cuts are necessary because the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on state revenues. It's part of his plan to cut $1.45 billion from the budget overall. 

WYPR’s Rachel Baye joins Nathan Sterner to discuss what the budget cuts mean.

The Daily Dose 7-1-20

Jul 1, 2020
Courtesy of MD Dept of Health

A rental assistance program launched today for Baltimore residents affected by the pandemic. Contact tracers are doing critical work, but does Maryland have enough of them? Plus, some good news for Maryland crab lovers.


Renters in Baltimore City who lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic can receive financial assistance under a $13 million renter relief program launched Wednesday.

Baltimore has a moratorium on evictions scheduled to expire on July 25. The program aims to prevent a wave of evictions by getting residents up to date on rent from April, May and June by sending rental payments directly to landlords. 

Victoria Pickering / Flickr Creative Commons

The Supreme Court recently blocked President Trump’s attempt to end DACA--a program that protects some immigrants who arrived in the US as children from deportation.

Courtesy of MD Dept of Health

During this pandemic, contact tracers have been doing the critical job of tracking down people who might have come in contact with those who tested positive for COVID-19.

While the program has been expanding, there is a debate over how many tracers are needed and whether Maryland has enough.

The Daily Dose 6-30-20

Jun 30, 2020

Hundreds of millions of dollars are on the chopping block as Maryland’s Board of Public Works prepares for a major budget-cutting vote tomorrow. And Dr. Leana Wen looks at the wisdom of reopening the country as COVID-19 infection rates climb nationwide.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Maryland’s Board of Public Works plans to vote Wednesday on more than $672 million in budget cuts. The proposed cuts would affect nearly every part of state government, from schools to healthcare to public safety.


Gov. Larry Hogan called for the cuts to deal with a massive drop in revenues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday that he is putting $30 million in a fund available through the federal CARES act to help prevent evictions. But members of a House of Delegates committee questioned whether that would be enough in a virtual briefing Monday. 

Ten million dollars of the fund will provide rent relief for tenants by paying eligible property management companies. The remaining $20 million will go to all of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions to help prevent evictions.

The Daily Dose 6-29-20

Jun 29, 2020

The MD Department of Health bans a local lab from collecting and processing COVID-19 tests. State leaders look at how to prevent a possible wave of evictions. And Maryland’s child-care centers cautiously reopen as parents head back to work.


While the COVID-19 data for Maryland are good in comparison with many other states, more than 3,000 people have died, and the pandemic is still having a profound impact on the lives and livelihoods of Marylanders.  Even as Governor Hogan’s Stage Two re-opening plan allows businesses to resume limited operations, one of the pillars of the state’s economy – child care services for working parents – is in crisis. 

State-wide there are more than 8,000 child care programs licensed to care for over 213,000 children. A little under half of them have been closed since late March.  The rest have been authorized by the state to care for the children of essential first-responders. 

According to a survey by the non-profit Maryland Family Networkjust over half of all child care programs in the state say they may be forced to permanently close if families continue keeping their children home as a result of the pandemic.  Two thirds of the state’s child care service providers reported significant financial losses due to the closures and reduced attendance...

chimimexx / Flickr Creative Commons

Pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic is uniquely stressful. Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Maryland, describes precautions expectant mothers should take, and how the shift to tele-health is working. And new mom Shanteé Felix talks about giving birth just as Maryland shut down and how the virus has shifted her expectations.



The Maryland Department of Health issued a Saturday order requiring Advanced Pain Medicine Institute to cease all collection and processing of COVID-19 tests.

Secretary Robert R. Neall announced the ban after his department received a complaint about COVID-19 testing sites operated in coordination with APMI. An investigation found that AMPI did not have a required certification to perform tests and that some patients never received their test results.

The Daily Dose 6-26-20

Jun 26, 2020

Maryland businesses reckon with the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 infections. Baltimore County teachers ratify a contract with a much reduced pay raise as schools ponder back-to-class logistics. And former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh reports to prison.


As tenants across the state lost their jobs and struggled to pay rent when the COVID-19 pandemic set in in March. Gov. Larry Hogan issued a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.

But housing advocates warn that Baltimore City will face a wave of evictions when the moratorium expires on July 25.

Carolina Paul, a paralegal at the Public Justice Center, said at a virtual news conference Thursday that once the moratorium expires, the evictions will start with cases already in the pipeline, but then “the dam will really break.” 


Baltimore County teachers have ratified a contract that contains a 1% pay raise, which is far less than what teachers originally expected to get.

Public health information about the coronavirus can evolve quickly. Two programs in Baltimore City ensure underserved and high-risk populations get their questions answered, and get access to resources when they most need them. We hear from Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, who co-founded Medicine for the Greater Good, a non-profit that promotes health and wellness beyond hospital walls. And Reverend William Johnson is Community Chaplain at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He’s also pastor of Sharon Baptist Church in West Baltimore.

To participate in the COVID-19 Community Calls, dial 888-651-5908 and enter participant code 3569812.

Madison Hall

Here's a story from Madison Hall, a recent senior at Bard High School Early College, about trials, tribulations and cancellations -- what it’s like to graduate during a pandemic.

The story was produced by Radio Rookies, WYNC's youth media program, and is part of a collaboration between Radio Rookies and Y-R Media called 18-to-29 Now: Young America Speaks Up.

Baltimore County Public Schools

Over the next few weeks, the Baltimore County Public Schools will be putting in place plans for fall classes.

At the same time, school officials are planning for face-to-face classes in August for those students who failed to switch to online learning when the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools.