Category Archives: Coronavirus

Reznik Demands to Know Why Korea Tests Haven’t Been Deployed

Like many, I was impressed and lauded Gov. Larry Hogan’s importation of 500,000 COVID-19 test kits from Korea. It looked like he had really filled the yawning leadership gap from the federal government. Unfortunately, there are rising concerns that the tests may not be useful. Indeed, they may have been widely available and Maryland may have overpaid for them.

In a letter reprinted below to the Health Secretary Robert Neall, Del. Kirill Reznik (D-39) asks a number of pointed questions about why they are not being used widely around the state. Reznik quotes Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich explaining “without things like reagants, they are sort of like paperweights.”

Other legislators are similarly concerned. Del. Marc Korman (D-16) said on Twitter, “A great frustration I have heard is that 10 days after the Governor ordered testing at all nursing homes, these nursing homes have not received tests. . . . No timeline or schedule has been provided.”

Similarly, up in Baltimore, Del. Brooke Lierman reports that “My mother’s facility has tests only because they individually purchased them privately-the state provided nothing. I have talked to several people whose loved ones are in facilities who did not – this is a tragic unacceptable situation.”


How Can You Help? Webinar on Charitable Giving Tomorrow

Title: The COVID Crisis: Where and How You Can Help Our Community
Date & Time: Friday, May 8th, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM


  • Mark Bergel, Founder and Executive Director, A Wider Circle
  • Diego Uriburu, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Identity, Inc
  • Jackie DeCarlo, Chief Executive Officer, Manna Food Center
  • George Escobar, Chief of Programs and Services, CASA
  • Councilmember Gabe Albornoz – Update on County Emergency Assistance

If you’re interested in volunteering or looking for places to donate? The webinar will provide information on food assistance efforts, mask making opportunities, virtual tutoring, diaper and formula drives, grocery card collections, virtual job training, and future volunteer opportunities.

To Register:

h/t: @jaredssolomon.


Help Fight Hunger

Normally, I avoid making my blog a place to make charitable appeals, but these aren’t normal times.

Even at the best of times, too many people in America wonder how they will pay for their next meal. The mass unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, exacerbated by the federal government’s poor, dithering response, has only made matters worse.

State and local authorities in Maryland are working to rise to the occasion. Here in Montgomery, I know our local government is doing its best to protect the most vulnerable in this nerve wracking time.

But it’s not enough when faced with such overwhelming need.

If you want to help bring just a little more peace of mind to parents trying to figure out how to feed their children or themselves, consider donating to a local food pantry.

In Montgomery County, Manna Food Center has long done outstanding work feeding the hungry. To combat rising hunger during the crisis, for example, they have set up 11 sites around the county where people can pickup food bags to help people stay put and fed. They are also providing meals for children at more than 40 sites around the county.

If you’re fortunate enough to still have your job or riding out the stay-at-home order in relative comfort, I hope you’ll consider a gift to Manna or another organization doing similar work.


Coronavirus Mortality Severely Underestimated in Maryland.

The New York Times has the data and the story. Bottom line is that from March 8 through April, 207 people were reported to have died of COVID-19 in the state. But the total death rate for the same period was 700 in excess of normal, suggesting that roughly an additional net 500 people died of COVID-19 or as a result of changes due to the pandemic.

The response to the pandemic has a mixed impact on mortality. After all, fewer people on the roads has resulted in fewer road deaths. On the other hand, some have likely died because they avoided going to the hospital out of fear of catching COVID-19.

The additional 500 deaths includes all of these sorts of effects as well as COVID-19. Nevertheless, it also reflects many unreported COVID-19 deaths of people who were never tested and gives a good rough gauge of its real impact beyond that in the reported deaths statistics.


Good News on Maryland Coronavirus Projections

On April 6th, I posted the University of Washington coronavirus projections for our state They have updated their projections and the news, as throughout the country, is very good in terms of reduced cases and demands on our resources. Today, April 18th, was the day they projected to be our peak resource day back on April 6th, so now seems a good time to revisit.

All ICU beds needed and available:

The total number of ICU beds still exceeds the state’s normal capacity based on the pre-corona number of beds and their use. The good news is that the state has expanded the number of beds and the projected peak need has declined from 1224 beds to 430 beds. Still a high rate of use but more manageable.

All hospital beds needed and available:

On April 6th, UW projected that we’d need a maximum of 6443 hospital beds, way more than the state’s normal availability of 3961. The projection has now declined to 2405, which is within the state’s capacity.

All ventilators needed and available.

UW expected that we’d need 1040 ventilators in their April 6th projections. Now, Maryland should need 373.

Projected deaths per day:

The maximum projected deaths per day has declined to 46 pm April 20th, two days from now. Previously, UW had projected a maximum of 138 that on April 19th, tomorrow.

Projected total deaths:

The new projected total of 914 COVID-19 deaths in Maryland is a 61% drop from the projection on April 6th of 2326.

An increasingly vocal minority believes that the much improved projections mean that COVID-19 was much ado about nothing. Except that as epidemiologists have tried to explain, the better the outcome, the less it will appear it was necessary because an improved job will have been done at stopping the infection in its track. The improved projections are due to extensive social distancing, not a random event.


Hogan Issues Stay at Home Order Starting at 8PM

UPDATE: You can read the order from the governor online here thanks to Luke Broadwater over at the Baltimore Sun. The reality is that not much will really change for many people, though it seems like construction work will now need to cease. Contrary to the governor’s statement, seems like I should still be able to do takeout at Jetties south of the border. However, I urge you to read it for yourself.

According to the Baltimore Sun:

Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday issued a stay-at-home order for Marylanders to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

That means no one should leave their home for any reason other than essential work, to get food or other fundamental reason. He said no one should travel outside of the state or ride public transportation unless it is “absolutely necessary.” The order takes effect at 8 p.m.

“We are no longer asking,” Hogan said.

I think the governor may have just criminalized my going for take out at Jetties and shopping at Magruder’s literally just inside the District line. But I imagine I’ll have to wait for the details.

The effectiveness of this measure will likely depend on the strictness of the definition of essential work. Construction workers, for example, are still working in groups at many locations. It’s not an easy decision with so many people thrown out of work already.

I appreciate the governor’s efforts to play it straight with Marylanders. His frank statement that “Marylanders need to know that, unfortunately, we are only at the beginning of this crisis and it is going to get considerably worse before it gets better” is honest and right for the times.

It should help make clear that social distancing is here to stay for awhile. I am also grateful for Gov. Hogan’s previous quick moves to implement social distancing and to create new hospital beds very quickly. The leaders of the General Assembly, Speaker Adrienne Jones and President Bill Ferguson, have also been absolutely sterling in working closely with the Governor to meet this crisis.


MCPS Distributes Chromebooks Safely

Despite the difficult conditions, MCPS is working to make sure learning continues. The following are photos from outside Chevy Chase Elementary School showing how MCPS arranged the safe distribution of Chromebooks to people in autos and on foot.

Drive through lane
Instructions: don’t roll down the window but do pop the trunk
You’re almost there. . . Pedestrians near the head of the line
Lining up social distancing style on Rosemary Lane
Pedestrian instructions

Montgomery Leads Maryland in Social Distancing

Unacast has used data from smartphones to grade states and localities on how much social distancing is occurring. Their major measure is change in average mobility based on the distance traveled. So how’s Maryland doing? Overall, we get an “A” on their scoreboard.

Average distance traveled has declined 43% in Maryland. That still leaves us behind the following 14 jurisdictions: DC (60%), Alaska (52%), Nevada (51%), New Jersey (50%), Rhode Island (50%), California (48%), New York (48%), Massachusetts (47%), Connecticut (46%), Minnesota (46%), Vermont (46%), Louisiana (45%), Michigan (45%), and Pennsylvania (45%).

Here are the trends in average mobility as well as the number of reported cases. Remember that the number of reported cases is lower than the number of cases and depends a lot on testing.

There are substantial variations in social distancing by county:

Teal/turquoise indicates more social distancing (“A”) while orange indicates very weak social distancing (“F”). Forest green rates a “B” while army green indicates a “C” rating. No Maryland counties received a “D” rating. Here are the specific numbers for Maryland jurisdictions:

Change in Average Mobility
1. Montgomery (52%)
2. Carroll (47%)
2. Calvert (47%)
4. Anne Arundel (45%)
5. Baltimore County (43%)
5. Howard (43%)
5. Prince George’s (43%)
5. St. Mary’s (43%)
9. Dorchester (42%)
9. Frederick (42%)
11. Baltimore City (41%)
11. Harford (41%)
11. Talbot (41%)
11. Worcester (41%)
15. Charles (40%)
16. Wicomico (38%)
17. Kent (37%)
17. Queen Anne’s (37%)
19. Caroline (33%)
20. Somerset (29%)
21. Allegany (28%)
22. Cecil (25%)
23. Washington (21%)
24. Garrett (4%)

How does Montgomery compare to the rest of the metro area?

1. District of Columbia (60%)
2. Alexandria (55%)
2. Arlington (52%)
2. Fairfax City (52%)
2. Montgomery (52%)
6. Fairfax County (47%)
7. Loudoun (46%)
8. Prince George’s (43%)
9. Frederick (42%)
9. Prince William (42%)
11. Charles (40%)
11. Falls Church (40%)