Maryland experienced a surge in coronavirus cases Sunday, with health officials reporting the state’s highest level of infections in seven weeks.
The 925 new cases of the novel coronavirus represent a jump of nearly 11% in just one day. It is the greatest number of cases since May 30, when Maryland grappled with 1,027 new COVID-19 infections. State health officials also reported nine new deaths Sunday from the pathogen.
In total, the state has reported 78,131 cases and 3,247 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Though the swell of new cases has alarmed Gov. Larry Hogan and health officials, other key metrics — such as deaths and the rate of positive test results remain relatively low. Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan, said the state set a record Sunday after reporting 28,899 test results, of which 3.83% came back positive for COVID-19.
“Stay vigilant. Help us find and fight the virus,” Ricci said on Twitter. Ricci could not be reached by phone for comment Sunday.
The state also reported fewer than 20 coronavirus deaths for 24 straight days. (That may change, as fatalities typically lag behind new infections.)
But in the past two weeks, the number of new infections reported each day has more than tripled. In early July, daily numbers hovered around 300, dipping as low as 272 on July 6. The state’s peak was 1,784 on May 19.
Contrary to popular perception, the majority of infections are popping up not in hard-partying young adults in their late teens and 20s, but in older — and in theory, more responsible — men and women in their 30s and 40s.
According to an analysis by The Baltimore Sun, Marylanders in their 30s account for 18.8% of the state’s total COVID-19 cases but make up just 13.7% of the total population. Adults in their 40s represent 17.3% of the infections, though they constitute just 12.5% of the state’s residents.
Those in their 20s and 50s both have rates of infection that are significantly higher than might be expected given their representation in the overall population. But they’re not leading the wave of infections to the same degree as men and women in their 30s and 40s.
Infection rates are lower than would be proportional among children, teens and adults in their 60s and 70s. The segment of the population most vulnerable to COVID-19 — the very elderly — also have a high infection rate.
Officials at John Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health could not be reached immediately Sunday for comment.
As of Sunday, 449 people were hospitalized in Maryland, one more than on Saturday. About 29% of those hospitalized are in intensive care units.
Maryland reported that a record 28,899 new coronavirus tests were processed, compared with Friday’s record high of 24,171. The state figures released Sunday show the positivity rate remained below 5% for the 25th consecutive day, at 4.46% This benchmark is notable, since the World Health Organization recommends that governments remain below it for two weeks before reopening.
But Johns Hopkins University, which calculates the rate differently, placed Maryland slightly above 5% as of early Sunday morning, at 5.17%. Maryland is among 34 states with a positivity rate above 5, according to Hopkins’ data.
State officials calculate the positivity rate by dividing the number of positive tests by the total testing volume over a seven-day period. Instead, Hopkins uses the number of people tested, the combination of new cases and the number of people who tested negative.
- Age: 0-9. Percent of Maryland population: 12.1% of 6,045,680. Percent of total COVID-19 Infections: 3.2% of 78,131
- Age: 10-19. Percent of Maryland population: 12.5%. Percent of total COVID-19 infections: 5.7%.
- Age: 20-29. Percent of Maryland population: 13.0%. Percent of total COVID-19 infections: 16.2%
- Age: 30-39. Percent of Maryland population: 13.7% Percent of total COVID-19 infections: 18.8%.
- Age: 40-49. Percent of Maryland population: 12.5%. Percent of total COVID-19 infections: 17.3%.
- Age: 50-59. Percent of Maryland population: 13.9%. Percent of total COVID-19 infections: 15.3%.
- Age: 60-69. Percent of Maryland population: 11.6%. Percent of total COVID-19 infections: 10.8%.
- Age: 70-79. Percent of Maryland population: 6.9%. Percent of total COVID-19 infections: 6.7%.
- Age: 80+: Percent of Maryland population: 3.8%. Percent of total COVID-19 infections: 6.1%.