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With coronavirus caseloads calming, Maryland hits 5 million vaccinations

Maryland surpassed a vaccination milestone Thursday, administering, officials said, more than 5 million doses of coronavirus vaccines.

More than 2.2 million Marylanders — 36.7% of the state population — are fully vaccinated now.

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Here’s where Maryland stood Thursday with COVID-19, according to the state health department:

Cases

For the eighth straight day, fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases were reported statewide, with 578.

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The daily tally surged as high as 1,840 during April, as health officials feared premature reopenings could complicate the progress of vaccinators statewide. But case counts have eased since then, and the 14-day average is about 805 cases a day.

In total, Maryland has reported 451,267 cases of COVID-19.

Deaths

On Thursday, nine more people reportedly died from the virus, which has taken 8,631 lives in Maryland.

Hospitalizations

For the fifth straight day, fewer than 1,000 people with COVID-19 are being treated in state hospitals, an improvement from last month, when as many as 1,282 people were hospitalized with the disease at a time.

Thursday,there were 901 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, down from 934 Wednesday.

Positivity Rate

The state’s seven-day average testing positivity rate stood at 3.66% Thursday, a slight drop from Wednesday, when it was 3.71%.

For 13 days, the rate has been below 5%, an indicator that there’s sufficient testing or a relatively low infection rate. The World Health Organization recommends that areas remain below 5% for two weeks before lifting virus-related restrictions. Maryland already has done so, and last week Gov. Larry Hogan lifted a requirement that face coverings be worn outdoors in public spaces.

Vaccinations

State vaccinators have administered 51,237 more doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, health officials said Thursday. That includes 18,129 first doses of the two-dose regimens for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, and 30,921 second doses. It also includes 2,187 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Vaccinations by age

So far, 81.7% of Marylanders 65 and older have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. That’s in addition to 66.4% of those between 50 and 64 and 49.9% of those between 18 and 49. In the youngest group of eligible recipients — 16 and 17-year-olds — 36.3% have received at least one shot.

Vaccinations by race

Black Marylanders have received 22.9% of the approximately 4.7 million vaccine doses with race data attached, while 31% of Maryland’s population is Black.

The disparity has narrowed somewhat over time, but remains a concern for vaccinators. Experts say that lacking health and transportation infrastructure in communities of color could be contributing, in addition to a distrust of the vaccines and the medical field among some minorities based on historic harms.

Hispanic Marylanders, too, have received disproportionately fewer vaccines. They’ve gotten 6.14% of the shots with ethnicity data attached, despite making up about 11% of the population.

Vaccinations by county

In Maryland’s most vaccinated county, Talbot, 45.3% of people have gotten at least one vaccine dose. Talbot is among Maryland’s least-populous counties, but the jurisdiction with the second-highest vaccination percentage is Howard County, the sixth-most-populous county among Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions.

The county with the lowest vaccination percentage so far is Somerset, a small jurisdiction where 23.4% live in poverty. The Eastern Shore county is 54.2% white and 41.5% Black, according to U.S. Census data. Cecil County isn’t far ahead, with 24.9% inoculated compared to Somerset’s 22.8%. In Cecil, 10% live in poverty and 88% of the population is white.

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