BALTIMORE — Maryland will likely continue to see a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases through Easter, Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday, indicating social distancing measures will likely remain in place through next month.
“In two weeks around Easter, we are going to be looking more like New York,” Hogan said in an interview with Fox New Sunday anchor Chris Wallace. “It’s continuing to grow at really frightening paces, and we think it’s going to be worse in two weeks, not better.”
Last week, President Donald Trump said he would like to “have the country opened up” by Easter, which is April 12. But governors, including Hogan, and medical professionals have indicated that Maryland and other states would continue to see increases in two weeks, and that distancing measures would likely continue.
“I think the virus is going to dictate the time frame,” Hogan said. “We’re going to follow advice of the scientist and doctors. We don’t see anyway we are going to be opening in a couple of weeks.”
Asked about Trump’s contradictory comments, Hogan said “the messaging isn’t helpful” as he and other governors are encouraging people to stay home.
“I think the President is just trying to be hopefully, which is good. We don’t want people to be scared but we want them to take it seriously,” Hogan said.
Nonessential businesses and schoolsremain closed, and state officials urge residents to remain at home as cases continue to rise. On Sunday, the state reported 1,239 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths.
Dr. Thomas Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was also interviewed on the Sunday program where he was asked when social distancing measures should be eased.
“If we go back to work too quickly, this epidemic is going to spread widely and aggressively, and we won’t have a normal economy in that case anyway,” Inglesby said.
He said a decision to lift measures should be made after evaluating several conditions, such as once a state or region sees numbers on the decline. He said testing, supplies such as adequate masks for medical staff, hospital preparation for an influx of patients and the ability to trace contacts of confirmed cases, should all be considered before measures are lifted.
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