COVID In Maryland: March 19, 2021 (PM Edition)
MAX MCGEE: The rush to vaccinate from Baltimore to the Eastern Shore, the effort to bring doses to the most vulnerable communities as variants rise. Hello again. I'm Max McGee.
DENISE KOCH: And I'm Denise Koch. Well, eligibility for the vaccine will begin to open next week and around the state today. Mobile clinics will bring in the doses to many who have had a hard time going to those mass vaccination sites.
MAX MCGEE: Maryland has recorded more than 1,000 new infections for the past two days straight. WJZ investigator Mike Hellgren live at M&T Bank Stadium with the latest developments in the vaccine race. Mike, what can you tell us?
MIKE HELLGREN: Max, Denise, there are some troubling signs. The CDC is reporting more cases of contagious variants in the state. The positivity rate is also up, and there are several dozen more cases at city schools. But there are also signs of hope.
JAMES ADAMS: I'm ready. I'm ready. Let's go.
MIKE HELLGREN: The race is on to get people in Maryland's underserved communities vaccinated. James Adams did not hesitate to get the shot at a mobile clinic in South Baltimore. He's lost many people he loves to COVID-19.
JAMES ADAMS: I've lost count. But there's a lot of hurting families that are still hurting.
MIKE HELLGREN: Adams is the 1,000th person vaccinated as part of MedStar's mobile effort.
JAMES ADAMS: I feel like I just paid the mortgage off on my home.
- I'm number [? three. ?]
MIKE HELLGREN: At the University of Maryland Baltimore, another vaccine clinic is only for those who live in the city referred here by the Baltimore Health Department.
MICHELLE PEAKS: I believe it's a death threat, you know, to anyone that they don't get it. I, you know, watch the news, and I'm just scared. I'm scared not to get it.
MIKE HELLGREN: And on the Eastern Shore, the Maryland National Guard set up a mobile vaccine side in Princess Anne. Staff Sergeant Brittany Barnhart spoke to me from the bus they stocked up in Baltimore.
BRITTANY BARNHART: There are places that don't have the access to get to Baltimore for the super sites or Waldorf. So coming over here is a huge deal for the community.
MIKE HELLGREN: The vaccination rush comes as the governor is about to open eligibility, promising everyone will be able to make an appointment by the end of next month.
WILLIAM MOSS: We're getting up to close to two dozen states having either open eligibility to all adults or planning to do so.
MIKE HELLGREN: The state is seeing a rise in troubling variance. The CDC says there are now 272 total cases in Maryland, up 15% over last week. And the Baltimore teachers union says there are 24 new cases in city public schools, a development the union called alarming.
JENNIFER NUZZO: We are by no means guaranteed to be spared from another surge in cases. I don't think any of us want to have that kind of setback now when we're so close to the finish line.
MIKE HELLGREN: And as of today, there are at least 246 cases of the UK variant here in Maryland. Reporting live at M&T Bank Stadium, Mike Hellgren, WJZ.