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Maryland reports 48 coronavirus deaths, most since May, and 2,044 new virus cases

Maryland reported 2,044 new coronavirus cases Thursday and 48 deaths tied to COVID-19, the most in a single day since May.

Maryland reported 195 deaths in the month of October but has now added 606 deaths since Nov. 1.

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Models from the University of Washington project the state could see nearly 8,900 deaths by March 1, just less than double the current death toll. With “universal masking,” that projection falls to just above 7,900 deaths.

“The darkest days are yet ahead,” Gov. Larry Hogan said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we’ve still got some pain to go through before we get this under control.”

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The state’s 14-day new average of newly reported deaths hit 28 Thursday, more than triple what it was a month ago.

Among the deaths reported Thursday were a resident in their 20s and another in their 30s. Those two age groups have combined for just 81 deaths statewide during the pandemic, about 1.7% of deaths. The latest deaths come a few days after a 1-year-old boy was reported to have died from the virus in the state, the youngest person to die from the virus the state has seen thus far. The state also reported Thursday that a resident in their 40s died.

The rest of the deaths were among those age 60 or older, an age group that has now passed 4,000 deaths during the pandemic, at 4,009, more than 87% of the state’s death toll. Residents in their 60s or older have combined for less than 20% of cases so far.

But Thursday, Marylanders in their 60s or older accounted for nearly 23% of new cases, above their overall pandemic share. The seven-day testing positivity rate among those older than the age of 35 reached 7.31% as of Wednesday, but that was still a full percentage point below the positivity rate for those below the age of 35, which was 8.31%.

Maryland has now reported 1,000 or more virus cases for 30 straight days, after previously seeing new cases at that level less than a handful of times since the beginning of June. The state has now reported 2,000 or more cases for six of the past nine days after never doing so before mid-November.

Younger Marylanders continue to drive case growth, with people in their 20s and 30s representing more than a third of new cases Thursday.

The state reported 1,573 people hospitalized with virus-related complications Thursday, five fewer than Wednesday. Hospitalizations have tripled since they were at 523 as of Nov. 1 and have been getting closer to a late-April peak of just over 1,700.

Nationwide, virus hospitalizations have more than doubled in the past month to an all-time high.

Among those hospitalized, 364 required intensive care, five more than Wednesday. ICU hospitalizations have more than doubled from 143 a month ago.

Deaths and hospitalizations can lag behind a surge in cases, as it can take weeks for some patients’ symptoms to worsen and for some to die.

Baltimore County reported 12 new deaths Thursday. With 730 reported deaths, the county has seen the third-highest death toll among jurisdictions statewide, behind just Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, which have larger populations.

Rural Allegany County, with a population of about 70,000, continued to be ravaged by the virus Thursday, reporting 131 new cases and four more deaths. The county has seen 1,607 of its 3,597 cases in the past 14 days, according to The Baltimore Sun’s coronavirus data, about 45% of its total cases. Allegany County’s reported seven-day positivity rate was 16.67%.

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On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Somerset County’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people continued to soar, up to 181.25 Wednesday, more than five times the statewide average of 35.97 and the highest among jurisdictions statewide.

The county, with a population just above 25,000, has seen 508 of its 1,117 total cases during the pandemic in the past 14 days.

Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci wrote in a tweet Tuesday that most of the current cases in the county come from Eastern Correctional Institute in Westover.

The new batch of numbers bring the state to a total of 205,399 confirmed virus cases and 4,606 deaths since March.

The state’s reported seven-day average testing positivity rate was 7.68%, up from 7.52% Wednesday.The daily positivity rate reported Thursday was 8.04%.

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