News coverage, series and commentary from WYPR's award winning news staff.
WYPR Election Coverage

Maryland Department of Health

The first patient from a state run hospital in Maryland died of COVID -19 over the weekend, a state health official confirmed.

The patient was staying in the geriatric ward of the Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville, where, in the last two weeks, several patients and employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Spring Grove is one of about ten state run hospitals that have a total of 1400 patients.  The Clifton T. Perkins Medical Center in Howard County is also experiencing an outbreak.  

Tradepoint Atlantic

When the steel mill at Sparrows Point closed in 2012, it was an economic disaster for Eastern Baltimore County. But now during this COVID-19 driven recession, the old Bethlehem Steel site, which is being redeveloped as Tradepoint Atlantic, is a job-hiring bright spot.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

 A group of state lawmakers, businesses and religious leaders has filed a lawsuit challenging several of Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency executive orders, including the one requiring residents only leave their homes for “essential” reasons.


The lawsuit argues that the governor overstepped his authority by quarantining healthy people inside their homes alongside the sick and closing non-essential businesses. 

AP Photo

  A crowd of Maryland officials made their cases for funding for cities in an upcoming piece of pandemic stimulus legislation during a virtual press conference hosted by Baltimore Mayor Jack Young on Monday.


Representatives on the federal level included Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, Representatives C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes and Representative-elect Kweisi Mfume. They joined local officials from across the state, including Mayor Young, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich to advocate for relief money for Baltimore as well as counties and municipalities throughout Maryland.

Rachel Baye

Angel Lopez lost his job as a mechanic in Baltimore when business slowed due to the coronavirus  pandemic. Then his partner lost her part-time job cleaning houses. 


Lopez is undocumented, and his partner’s application for asylum is on hold while the courts are closed. As a result, they don’t qualify for unemployment, federal stimulus money, or Baltimore’s small existing rental assistance program.

During an interview in mid-April, Lopez said he wasn’t sure how he would pay for May’s rent. He said he was considering selling his car.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County is opening its fourth COVID-19 testing site  Monday, the first one on the eastern side of the county.

Baltimore County

States and localities across the country are hoping for help from Washington as they grapple with huge deficits.

They are spending millions responding to COVID-19 while at the same time their tax revenues are drying up.

Baltimore County has received $144 million in help from the federal government, but it can't be used to plug a revenue shortfall estimated at close to $200 million.

Jacques Ravel

Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Jacques Ravel and his fellow scientists and lab technicians at The University of Maryland School of Medicine, used robots to study the bacteria that lives in the human body in skins swabs, stool samples and throat swabs.

But now they’ve re-programmed their robots to analyze test samples from patients suspected of having COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.


Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered universal testing of staff and residents at nursing homes across the state. The move follows the revelation this week that nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths in Maryland were patients at nursing homes.


Some nursing homes have seen upwards of 100 confirmed cases. One in Northwest Baltimore has had 220 cases and 10 deaths, according to data from the Maryland Department of Health.


Democrat Kweisi Mfume won Tuesday's election to carry out the rest of the late Elijah Cummings’ term in Congress, clinching a seat he held over a decade before leaving to lead the NAACP in 1996.

“I hold myself out to you this evening, willing and wanting to listen to you, to work with you, to build with you, to share with you,” Mfume said during a victory speech Tuesday night streamed live on Facebook. 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

The Baltimore County Council, like localities across the country, is wrestling with a budget that has been wrecked by COVID 19.

Council members are making no promises that they will be able to protect the jobs of all teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other county employees.

Joel McCord

Voters in Maryland’s Seventh Congressional District headed to the polls Tuesday to choose someone to fill the remainder of the term of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings.

But the turn-out was extremely light in an election conducted almost completely by mail-in ballot.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County should consider both spending less on schools than is being proposed by County Executive Johnny Olszewski, and cutting scheduled pay raises for its employees, because of the county’s cratering budget.

That’s according to a key member of the Baltimore County Council.


The Baltimore City Council held its third virtual meeting last night as coronavirus containment methods keep legislators at home. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan and Nathan Sterer discuss a bill that aims to establish a permanent home for the city's Children and Youth Fund and divert up to $13 million from that fund to fund internet access and technology for children as well as boxed meals.


Baltimore County

A patchwork quilt of Baltimore County employees, volunteers and the Maryland National Guard is trying to keep up with the growing demand for food, as the effects from the COVID-19 pandemic wash over the community.

Baltimore County alone has handed out approximately 925,000 meals since Mid-March, according to a county spokesman.  

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

On Tuesday, the state of Maryland will do something it’s never done before: conduct an election almost completely by mail. Ballots for the 7th congressional district special election to fill the remainder of the late Elijah Cummings’ term in Congress must be postmarked on the 28th or placed in a drop box by 8 p.m. Tuesday. 

Gov. Larry Hogan decided to hold the election by mail last month in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has closed businesses and forced schools to hold remote classes for an indefinite period of time.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

  Five years ago, Joe Jones, the director of the Center for Urban Families got to work early at around 7:30 a.m.  He managed to get a few hours of work done before it was time to head directly across the street to New Shiloh Baptist Church, where Freddie Gray’s funeral was about to start. 

“I could not believe the assemblage of the national media that had descended on a community that wasn't there when I got to work,” he remembered. 

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Voters in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District are in for a new first on Tuesday as they choose someone to fill the remainder of the term of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings. The election will be conducted almost entirely by mail.

Gov. Larry Hogan made the call in March to switch to mail-in ballots to protect voters and poll workers because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Those ballots must be postmarked on or before April 28 and received by your local election office by 10 a.m. May 8. Postage is paid on the return envelope. View a sample ballot here.


Maryland’s coronavirus-induced state of emergency could be relaxed as soon as early May, Gov. Larry Hogan said Friday.

Hogan unveiled a three-step recovery plan that categorizes businesses and outside-the-home activities and events according to the amount of risk they pose to efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The plan begins once hospitalizations and the number of patients admitted to intensive care units decline for two weeks.

Baltimore County

Two new COVID-19 testing sites will open in Baltimore County next week.

They will join the drive-thru site the county opened last week at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. It will mean there will be daily COVID-19 testing available in the County.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

Freddie Gray, a young black man from the city’s west side, died from a severe spinal cord injury suffered while in police custody on April 19, 2015.

His death touched off demonstrations and unrest and it raised crucial questions about the relationship between city police and the black community.

And even police had questions. The day after Gray’s death, Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez told reporters there were things he knew and things he didn’t know.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

  The coronavirus pandemic has not been easy on professional musicians: closed venues and restaurants mean that steady gigs have dried up for the foreseeable future. So Ed Hrybyk and Clarence Ward III have turned to a makeshift venue partial to Baltimore row home dwellers: a porch. 


On most Wednesday nights, Hrybyk plays at Nori, a sushi restaurant in Hampden that has since suspended dine-in services. For the last five Wednesdays, Hrybyk has instead picked up his upright bass and livestreamed a jazz show on his porch with Ward, who plays trumpet and flugelhorn. 



Before Gov. Larry Hogan lifts the stay-at-home order and lets non-essential businesses reopen, he says the state must meet four goals:  more hospital beds, the ability to test more people for COVID-19, more protective gear for healthcare workers, and an expansive “contact tracing” program to track down people who may be infected. 

On Wednesday, Hogan said the state is well on its way toward meeting these goals. He said he plans to release his full recovery plan on Friday.

Credit: slonecker / stock.xchng
Credit: slonecker / stock.xchng

Congress appears poised to pass a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, later this week.

Maryland small business owners are being advised to get their ducks in a row now to improve their odds of not getting shut out of the PPP this time around.

Maureen Harvie/WYPR

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young announced Tuesday the city is opening a new COVID-19 testing site at Druid Hill Park’s Rawlings Conservatory. 

The site, which opened Tuesday, Baltimore’s second. Pimlico Race Course became the city’s first community testing site earlier this month. Like Pimlico, residents must have an appointment and doctor’s referral to receive a test at the Rawlings Conservatory. 

“Bringing this second testing site online represents a key step for Baltimore City’s response to COVID-19, allowing even more residents to have access to a community-based testing site,” Young said during a news conference. 

Baltimore County

Nearly two-thirds of Baltimore County businesses surveyed by the county report they need financial help to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor's Office

Over the weekend, Maryland received 500,000 COVID-19 test kits from South Korea. The shipment, which cost the state $9 million, was the culmination of weeks of negotiations between Maryland and Korean officials.

Joel McCord

When Maryland’s General Assembly leaders cut short their 2020 session in March because of the coronavirus threat, they said they’d come back in May for a special session.

Monday, they announced there would be no special session to take care of unfinished business.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County is creating outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots at 10 county libraries.

It’s the county’s latest response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order Sunday that has the potential to free hundreds of inmates, as the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to grow in Maryland’s prisons.

The order directs Maryland’s Commissioner of Corrections to expedite the release of prisoners who are within three months of being paroled, who are over 60 and have a plan for home release and have not been convicted of a violent crime.

It would not apply, however, to those who have been convicted of sex offenses or those displaying symptoms of COVID-19.