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Cheer for health care workers amid coronavirus pandemic spreads to Annapolis at 8 p.m. Saturday

If you hear a cheer in Annapolis tonight, join in.

The Ward One Residents Association is helping spread an international call to stand at your door and cheer for healthcare workers at the forefront of efforts to care for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The downtown Annapolis residents group asked for neighbors downtown to make noise to support Anne Arundel Medical Center at 8 p.m.

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“Please join in applause – cheer for the essential workers who care for all of us,” association president Chris Buchheister wrote in an email to members.

“Step outside, clap your hands, bang a pot - let them hear you at Anne Arundel Medical Center!”

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The number of Marylanders known to have the new coronavirus is nearing 1,000, as the number of cases confirmed by the state climbed by 218 on Saturday, according to the Maryland Department of Health. The number of cases in Anne Arundel reached at least 88, with the first death reported on Friday.

The idea combines the reality of restrictions on movement in place during the state of emergency declared in Maryland and the closure of many businesses, with respect for doctors, nurses and others.

It appears to have started in Europe, where cases of the coronavirus spread in great numbers after first being reported in China. The Associated Press as reported on people standing at open windows or on balconies in Rome, Madrid, Paris, Athens and Amsterdam, singing, cheering and applauding even though they know their intended audience is too busy to listen.

In Italy, where the number of virus-related deaths surpassed those in China, 2,900 health care providers have been infected, or 10% of the country’s total. Italian broadcasters regularly feature exhausted doctors and nurses begging people to stay home and expressing a sense of abandonment over inadequate protective gear.

The cheering has been reported in cities across the United States as well.

In an email, Buchheister wrote that a downtown resident forwarded the idea to him after seeing in a national newspaper.

Like many community associations, Ward One has a network of volunteers set up to help with groceries, pharmacy transport, dog walking and other aid.

“Looking forward to ‘Hear You on the Street’ tonight at 8 p.m.!” Buchheister wrote.

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