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‘The storm is passing over,’ Maryland State House COVID vigil offers hope, remembrances

Standing together on the illuminated State House steps in Annapolis, Maryland’s top political leaders led a twilight vigil Friday to mark the one year since the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Maryland.

Gov. Larry Hogan was joined by first lady Yumi Hogan, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, state Senate President Bill Ferguson, House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones in mourning Maryland’s coronavirus dead.

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But it was the Rev. Johnny Calhoun, senior pastor of Mount Olive AME Church in Annapolis, who offered an impassioned summary of the past year.

“Today we gather, gather to remember the 7,700 people who have died of COVID-19,” Calhoun said. “Died in the fair state of Maryland.”

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By Friday morning, at least 530 Anne Arundel County residents have died from the virus, among at least 7,748 Maryland fatalities.

Calhoun said the deaths “began as a raindrop” 13 days after those first cases were detected in Montgomery County, followed by a raging storm as the death toll and positive test results grew.

And he described sacrifices and losses, intrigue and politics as a story that continues today even as infection rates fall and vaccine efforts grow.

“A story that is still being written, but from my vantage point, one that will have a happy ending,” Calhoun said.

“I’m glad to say that the storm is passing over. Hallelujah.”

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