April 16, 2020

Important Updates from the COVID-19 Legislative Work Group: April 8, 2020

To deal with the unprecedented challenges presented by the novel Coronavirus, Maryland’s Senate President and House Speaker convened the Joint Covid-19 Response Legislative Work Group in March 2020.

The Work Group monitors the effects the COVID-19 virus and shares weekly briefings, the latest of which from April 8, 2020, have been livestreamed on Youtube – you can view the briefing in its entirety here. If you don’t have two hours on hand to get up-to-date, we’ve summarized key points and takeaways for you below.


Legislative Workgroup COVID-19: April 8, 2020


Presenter: Dr. Thomas Inglesby

Director, Center for Health Security, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

  • Virus appears to have a 1-2% fatality rate in diagnosed cases. Many cases are undiagnosed at this time because we do not have diagnostic testing for mild cases.
  • In mild cases the virus causes a flu like illness with symptoms of fever, headache or fatigue. Severe cases have been causing respiratory failure, intubation and death.
  • Fatality rate is highest in people over the age of 85.


Fatality Rates

Age Group Fatality Rate
85 & over 10-25%
65-84 3-11%
55-64: 1-3%
20-54 Less than 1%


  • 7% of cases in the country have been children. Of the cases in children, 5% have required hospitalization and 3 deaths have been reported.
  • Nationally there have been 1800 fatalities. In Maryland, as of 4/7, there are 4371 cases with 27,000 negative test results. There have been 103 deaths and 1106 hospitalizations so far.
  • People with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular disease appear to be at the highest risk of severe outcomes.
  • Covid-19 has the ability to spread rapidly and widely in society and around Maryland without proper social distancing measures in place. On average, 1 person could infect 2-3 more; social distancing is the only way to slow the spread.
    • If the virus was left to spread, the number of sick and critically ill could overwhelm our health system like it did in China, Italy, and France
  • Counties with the most cases are Prince George’s, Montgomery, Baltimore, Baltimore City, and Anne Arundel.
    • There are 90 long term care facilities and nursing homes with at least 1 or more cases. The MD health department has sent out teams to facilities with more serious outbreaks to help improve infection control.
  • Baltimore Convention Center has set up a 250 bed facility, staffed by UMMS and Johns Hopkins.
  • The White House has declared the Baltimore/Washington corridor a hotspot, which allows for more resources and ventilators.


State Comparisons

  • MD has had 2 deaths per 100,000 people
    • In MD on 4/7 there were 326 new cases, compared to 4/6 there were 436 new cases.
    • Peak of the virus in Maryland is projected to be on April 18th.
  • NY has had 28 deaths per 100,000 people
  • NJ has had 14 deaths per 100,000 people
  • WA has had 5 deaths per 100,000 people


Presenter: Dr. Joshua Sharfstein

Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Sharfstein described the attributes of effective public health communication as:

  1. Timely
  2. Accurate
  3. Credible
  4. Expresses Empathy
  5. Promotes Action
  6. Shows Respect


Presenter: Secretary Robert Neall

Department of Health

  • 92% of Maryland cases are in the Baltimore/Washington corridor
  • 25% of cases end up going to the hospital
  • 80% of deaths are people older than 60
  • There are 1178 ventilators statewide and more than double that number have been ordered
  • Recruiting: Persons, Places, and Things
    • Persons: Recruiting as many people as possible into the Medical Reserve Corps (potentially have doctors and nurses graduate early). The Medical Reserve Corps currently has about 6,000 volunteers.
    • Places: Getting as many alternative care sites up as possible. Contracting hotels and college dorms to accommodate people.
    • Things: Ventilators, PPE, lab test chemicals, drugs.


Presenter: Superintendent Salmon

Department of Education

  • 600 plus sites are serving 3 meals and a snack everyday
    • Served about 2.5 million meals since school closure
  • Ensuring essential workers have childcare: 20,000 children are currently enrolled at about 3,600 childcare sites across the state.
    • Have the capacity to increase by another 20,000 children if needed
  • Purchasing of additional learning devices for students to use
  • All students will move on to the next grade


You can view the full meeting recording on Youtube here, or reach out to us directly if you have concerns or questions at 410-321-8200.

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