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Maryland reports no COVID deaths in the state for the first time since October

Maryland health officials reported no new deaths due to the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the first time the state has gone a full day without any COVID-19 fatalities since October.

The Maryland Department of Health reported Sunday that no state residents have been reported dead from the virus in the past 24 hours. The last time the state did so was Oct. 18.

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In recent months, the state has seen a significant decrease in the number of reported COVID-19 deaths. In the past week, 24 people have been reported dead due to the disease. Amid a surge of coronavirus infections five months ago, the state reported 281 deaths in the week ending Jan. 20.

The statistics mirror a nationwide decline in the number of coronavirus deaths as more Americans continue to be vaccinated.

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On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 379 Americans had died due to COVID-19 over the past 24 hours. It’s a significant decline compared with January, when as many as 4,000 people a day were reported as dead due to the disease.

The latest milestone comes as Maryland’s infection rate continues to decline to levels not seen since before the pandemic took hold, reaching a seven-day positivity rate average of 0.72% Sunday, a new record low for the state.

In addition, the state reported 42 new coronavirus cases Sunday, which is the first time since March 23, 2020, that the state has seen fewer than 50 new cases in a single day.

Over the past week, state health officials have reported an average of about 68 new cases a day, a far cry from the thousands of new cases the state was reporting daily from November through January.

More than half of Maryland’s total population of roughly 6 million people have been fully vaccinated, according to the state health department, as residents continue to get inoculated against the disease every day.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan acknowledged the mark on Twitter on Sunday morning, calling it a “major milestone” while also calling on those who have yet to be vaccinated to do so. The state reported that 505 total doses of the three coronavirus vaccines were administered in the past 24 hours.

As of Sunday, six counties — Garrett, Wicomico, Somerset, Washington, Cecil and Allegany — have vaccinated fewer than 40% of their residents, according to state health officials.

Meanwhile, roughly 50% of the total population from the state’s five most populated jurisdictions — Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, as well as Baltimore City — are fully inoculated against the disease as of Sunday. About 1.98 million people from those jurisdictions have been fully vaccinated of their combined 3.96 million residents.

The five jurisdictions along the Baltimore-Washington corridor represent about 65% of the state’s overall population, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

There are still disparities in vaccination rates when comparing available racial statistics, but they’ve been decreasing in recent weeks as well.

As of Sunday, about 2.4 times as many white residents have been fully vaccinated as Black Marylanders, according to state health officials. This is despite the fact that there are about 1.88 times as many white residents compared with Black residents, with the two demographics representing 58.5% and 31.1% of the state’s population, respectively.

However, the disparity has been declining steadily during the state’s vaccination campaign. In mid-March, the difference was about 3.4 times.

Additionally, about 8.36% of Marylanders who are fully vaccinated whose ethnicity is known identify as Latino, though that the demographic makes up about 10.6% of the state’s population.

However, that disparity was much more pronounced earlier on in the state’s vaccination campaign, as in mid-March, only about 4% of fully vaccinated residents identified as Latino.

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