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Maryland reaches 70,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, but pace of new cases, deaths still down from previous month

Maryland confirmed 492 new cases and 19 more fatalities from the coronavirus Tuesday, pushing the state’s caseload beyond 70,000.

After Maryland reported passing 60,000 confirmed cases June 11, it took nearly a month for the state to reach the 70,396 infections that state officials reported Tuesday. The growths from 50,000 to 60,000, 40,000 to 50,000, 30,000 to 40,000, 20,000 to 30,000 and 10,000 to 20,000 each took two weeks or fewer.

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Deaths from the virus have seemingly plateaued, also. Maryland has reported 177 new victims in the past two weeks, compared to 277 in the two weeks prior and 469 the two weeks before that. The state has reported fewer than 20 deaths for 12 straight days, though deaths did not necessarily occur on the day they were reported. In all, there have 3,140 virus-related fatalities in Maryland.

Hospitalizations, too, continue to decline. At 404, the state’s tally of virus patients currently hospitalized ticked up by one from Monday, but since May 6, hospitalizations have declined by more than 76%. The state has reported fewer than 500 current hospitalizations every day since June 26 after exceeding that figure each day between then and April 4.

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Maryland officials have reported a seven-day average positivity rate below 5% for an 11th straight day, with Tuesday’s 4.53% marking a slight increase from Monday’s record low of 4.51%. The World Health Organization recommends a rate of 5% or lower for 14 straight days before governments begin easing virus-related restrictions.

Through Monday’s data, Maryland is one of 22 states with a seven-day rolling positivity rate beneath 5%, having the 18th lowest rate overall, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center. Bordering states Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia all have rates of 5.37% or lower, with West Virginia the only one beneath 4.97% at 2.96%.

The positivity-rate figure Hopkins includes in its daily reports is consistently higher than that of the state. The difference comes from the data used in the calculations. Maryland officials calculate the positivity rate as the number of positive tests divided by total testing volume over a seven-day period. Rather than the total testing volume, Hopkins uses the number of people tested, or the combination of new cases and people who tested negative.

Maryland has reported at least 9,000 test results for seven straight days, with Tuesday’s single-day positivity rate of 4.84% being the highest of the past four days. The state has tested more than 594,000 people, with about 19% of the state’s 734,000 completed tests being performed on people who were tested previously. Less than 12% of those tested in Maryland have gotten a positive result.

Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, both of which rank nationally among the top 50 counties by total cases, are two of the four Maryland jurisdictions with seven-day average positivity rates above 5%. Baltimore, which reached 8,000 confirmed infections Tuesday, has a rate of 5.03%, while Charles County, which ranks eighth among the state’s jurisdictions in total cases, has a rate of 5.34%, according to state data.

More than 75% of those who have been infected in the state have been under 60 years old, but 71% of those killed have been at least 70. About 23% of those at least 70 with a confirmed infection have died, compared to 1.5% of those younger than 70.

Race data is not available for 18% of the state’s cases. Those who are white, about 60% of Maryland’s overall population, represent 24% of the state’s caseload and 43% of its victims, among those whose race was known. By comparison, those who are Hispanic, 10% of the state’s population, account for almost a third of Maryland’s infections where race was known, while 41% of those the virus has killed were Black, a group representing about 30% of the overall population.

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