Coronavirus tally in D.C. region hits two-month high; Maryland’s Hogan says earlier restrictions unlikely

The seven-day average of new infections across the region stands at 1,874 cases, the highest since Aug. 13, when it stood at 1,916. The number of new cases reported Tuesday in D.C., Maryland and Virginia surpassed 2,000 for the fourth time this month, mirroring a rise seen across much of the country.

Hogan said Tuesday during a WBAL radio interview that the pandemic will probably get worse before it gets better but that it’s unlikely that restrictions imposed during the height of the pandemic will return to Maryland.

“I don’t anticipate going back to some of the measures we took before,” he said.

In March, hoping to stop the spread of the virus, Hogan issued a stay-at-home order that prohibited residents from leaving their houses unless they worked at an essential job or were buying groceries or medicine. Six weeks later, he began lifting some of those restrictions.

His gradual reopening of the state did not sit well with many members of the state’s Republican Party, some of whom wanted it to occur more quickly. ReOpen Maryland held rallies across the state and in Annapolis demanding an end to coronavirus-
related restrictions.

A poll conducted by Gonzales Research & Media Strategies, released Tuesday, shows more than a quarter of Republicans say the governor has done a fair or poor job handling the crisis, while 66 percent think he has handled it well. Meanwhile, 82 percent of Democrats give Hogan high marks for his handling of the virus.

Hogan said the state is “ready” for another wave.

“We do anticipate it getting worse in the fall, having a hospital surge, which is why we built 6,000 new hospital beds,” Hogan said of preparations taken earlier this year.

He said Marylanders should also brace themselves for the effect a second wave could have on the state’s economy as people become less comfortable with going to large gatherings and entertainment venues and eating inside restaurants.

The Gonzales poll found that 41 percent of Marylanders feel comfortable returning to their regular routine, while 57 percent say they do not feel comfortable resuming their pre-pandemic lives.

“Maryland has been one of the few that has kind of avoided [a big uptick in metrics] so far, but we don’t have any magic wall that’s going to keep the virus out of our state,” Hogan said.

The 897 new cases reported Tuesday in Maryland were the most in a single day since 922 cases were reported Aug. 9, while hospitalizations and test positivity rates have also ticked upward. The state also reported nine new fatalities.

The greater Washington region Tuesday recorded 2,125 new cases and 30 additional deaths. Virginia added 1,134 cases and 19 deaths, while D.C. added 94 cases and two deaths.

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

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