COVID In Maryland: April 18, 2021 (Evening Update)
- Well, turning now to the coronavirus, Emergen Solutions is pausing the manufacturing of new Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Right now, the FDA is finishing up its investigation into the millions of vaccines that had to be thrown out. We first told you last month about that mix up in the lab of the ingredients. None of those vaccines were distributed for use.
Meantime, Maryland does report the lowest daily total of new coronavirus infections this month. 631 new cases in the last 24 hours, despite today's low total, though. The state is averaging about 1,300 new cases a day over the last few weeks. There are some counties, like Baltimore and Baltimore City, that are seeing a concerning spike. Rachel Menitoff is live for us at the mass vaccination site, M&T Bank Stadium, where she speaks with health experts about why this is happening. Rachel.
RACHEL MENITOFF: Nicole, it's a combination of COVID fatigue, more people getting out and socializing, and also the various strains all contributing to this uptick in cases. Nationwide, COVID cases and COVID-related deaths plateaued, that's according to doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital. And for the first time in weeks, Maryland is reporting less than 1,000 new cases.
On Monday, Governor Hogan touted the state's declining daily numbers but acknowledged the spike in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, as well as Hartford and Cecil Counties. [? Will ?] we see any new restrictions as a result of--
- No, not with the numbers all getting better.
RACHEL MENITOFF: Baltimore City is averaging 244 new cases every day, which is up 140% from just last month, affecting many more young people. Dr. Mark [INAUDIBLE] from Carroll Hospital says the COVID symptoms now are a little bit different but not as severe.
- Last year, maybe, it was primarily respiratory. Now, it also involves GI symptoms.
RACHEL MENITOFF: 1 and 1/2 million Marylanders are now armed with the shot. And 20% of people who live in Baltimore are fully vaccinated.
- I don't know. I can see the light.
- I'm feeling good, great.
RACHEL MENITOFF: Health experts say a fourth wave could be caused by variant strains, more social gatherings, and, of course, what's become known as COVID fatigue.
- And people don't want to wear masks. They don't want a social distance. They still want to, you know, get close to each other. Because, as humans, we need that human interaction.
RACHEL MENITOFF: Mark Wren just got his second COVID shot at M&T Bank Stadium and echoes the advice from doctors when it comes to large gatherings.
- And it's just not the time for that yet.
RACHEL MENITOFF: And the doctor we talked to today says part of this COVID fatigue is that people are getting rid of their masks. But these will be critical right now in addition to getting more Marylanders vaccinated. We're live downtown tonight. I'm Rachel Menitoff for WJZ.