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

Karen Hosler

The Maryland General Assembly’s abrupt departure this week from its annual session obscured the end of another, gentler era.  Mike Miller, who guided the Senate for 33 years before stepping down to join the newcomers in the back benches, was missing.

Miller, who has prostate cancer, had been hospitalized a week earlier complaining of pains.

Now, current and former members are remembering their times with him on the rostrum.

YouTube

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.  

Patrick Semansky / AP


  As state lawmakers hurdle toward an early end to the legislative session, lawmakers passed two bills on Tuesday that aim to help Baltimore with its crime-fighting efforts.

Rachel Baye


The state Senate passed two changes to the sales tax on Tuesday night. One of the bills extends the sales tax to digital products, such as e-books and streaming services. The other raises taxes on tobacco products.

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

A sweeping overhaul of Maryland’s public school system is one step closer to fruition after the state Senate passed it Monday night. The changes came out of what’s known as the Kirwan Commission, a state panel that spent three years developing recommendations for making Maryland’s schools globally competitive.

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.

YouTube

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


 Progressive state senator Mary Washington has suspended her campaign for the Democratic mayoral primary, saying she needs to fully devote her time to 43rd legislative district constituents as the novel coronavirus pandemic and its public health and economic impact worsens.

 

“The extraordinary events of the past several weeks have drastically changed our way of life in Baltimore and across the nation. During this unprecedented time, I am deeply committed, first and foremost, to standing by the people of the 43rd District as their State Senator,” Washington said in a Monday statement. 

Joel McCord

For the first time since the Civil War, Maryland’s General Assembly is going home early. Legislative leaders announced Sunday they are ending the session March 18 because of increasing threats of the novel coronavirus.

In an afternoon news conference Senate President Bill Ferguson said the threat of the virus has become critical.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

Baltimore City Schools will offer free meals to its approximately 80,000 students during the novel coronoavirus two-week closure.  

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.

Lee Krempel

Maryland’s public schools will be closed for two weeks starting Monday March 16th through Friday March 27th  due to the growing number of cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the state.

State Superintendent Karen Salmon announced the closings in an afternoon news conference Thursday.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young has suspended some services at of the city’s senior centers and issued recommendations that include cancelling large events through the end of March.

As of Thursday afternoon, Baltimore had no known cases of the novel coronavirus. The recommendations came shortly after Gov. Larry Hogan announced the first of non-travelrelated coronavirus in Maryland on Thursday.  

Coronavirus Tracking Map

Mar 12, 2020

Credit:  Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering

WYPR

As more coronavirus cases spread throughout Maryland, the head of Baltimore’s emergency management office responsible for developing a citywide plan to respond to the virus has been placed on leave.

Lester Davis, Mayor Jack Young's spokesperson, told WYPR on Thursday morning that the director of the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management David McMillan had been placed on leave. He declined to provide specific details. The MOEM did not immediately return a request for comment from WYPR.

Rachel Baye

A landmark state education reform bill cleared a key hurdle Wednesday night as it passed out of two Senate committees.

The bill reflects the recommendations of what’s known as the Kirwan Commission, a state panel that spent three years studying how to make Maryland’s schools globally competitive.

But on Wednesday, the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee added what one member called an “escape hatch” that could reverse the changes after five years.

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