FIRST BATCH OF VACCINES EXPECTED NEXT WEEK: Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Jinlene Chan said Maryland might receive its first doses of the coronavirus vaccine as early as next week.“If approved … we believe that the initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine will become available for Maryland as early as the week of Dec. 14, or next week,” Chan said at a news conference at the State House, reports Bryan Renbaum for MarylandReporter.
- Gov. Larry Hogan said that the first shots are reserved for hospital workers and nursing home residents and employees. “This is by far the most massive undertaking of this pandemic,” Hogan said of the vaccine distribution, McKenna Oxenden of the Sun reports.
- A second batch of vaccines, from Moderna, is expected to be distributed the following week. The next group includes people in critical and essential jobs — such as teachers and transit workers — or at moderate risk of developing severe covid-19 symptoms, followed by the rest of the general population, Ovetta Wiggins and Julie Zauzmer of the Post reports.
- The third phase would include critical workers, including teachers, transit and utility workers as well as those at moderate risk for the disease and its severe complications. Finally, vaccinations would roll out to the general public, reports Bryan Sears in the Daily Record.
- The initial batch of 155,000 doses are from drug manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, which have been shown through clinical trials to be more than 94% effective and could receive emergency-use authorization from the FDA later this week, Greg Swatek of the Frederick News Post reports.
- Madeleine O’Neill of the USA Today Network reports that Gov. Hogan said that Maryland could get up to 300,000 doses by the end of the year.
- To help boost confidence in the safety of the vaccine among the public, Hogan said he and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will be vaccinated publicly as part of a statewide outreach campaign to urge residents to get vaccinated, Brian Witte of the AP is reporting.
- Here’s Elijah Westbrook’s story for WBFF-TV.
- WJZ-TV offers what you need to know about the vaccines.
50 DEATHS TUESDAY TIED TO COVID: Maryland reported 2,632 new coronavirus cases Tuesday and 50 deaths tied to COVID-19, the most deaths reported in a single day since May, with hospitalizations nearing a pandemic high, Ben Leonard of the Sun reports.
- Washington County authorities on Tuesday pleaded with residents to take precautions against COVID-19 as they reported 436 more cases in the county since Friday and five additional deaths, Dave McMillion of the Hagerstown Herald Mail reports.
- Montgomery County has reported at least one COVID-19 death every day since Nov. 2, according to state and county data. On Tuesday morning, the Maryland Department of Health reported three new confirmed deaths in the county, for a new total of 949 since the pandemic began, Bethesda Beat reports.
GREATER PROTECTIONS SOUGHT FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS: Maryland labor unions are making a push for essential workers to get greater protections and hazard pay not only during the coronavirus pandemic, but also in future health emergencies, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
- The proposed legislation, called the Maryland Essential Workers Protections Act, would require employers to provide increased support and safety protocols to essential workers during an emergency — the definition of which is outlined in the bill, Johanna Alonso of the Daily Record reports.
- Sponsored by Sen. Malcolm Augustine (D-Prince George’s) and House Economic Matters Committee chairman Dereck Davis (D-Prince George’s), the act will require employers to provide workers with safe and hygienic workspaces, personal protective equipment, emergency pandemic action plans that include sanitation protocol and changes in shift hours, paid health and bereavement leave, free COVID-19 testing, an additional $3 an hour in hazard pay and the ability to refuse dangerous work without fear of retaliation, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports.
ROY McGRATH, FORMER AIDE TO TESTIFY: Months after Gov. Hogan’s chief of staff stepped down amid a swirl of questions about a severance package he received from a prior state job, members of the legislature are about to get their chance to probe the controversial payout. Roy McGrath will testify before the Joint Committee on Fair Practices and State Personnel Oversight on Dec. 16. A former aide, Matthew Sherring, goes before the panel this Thursday, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
SCHOOLS OPT FOR VIRTUAL LEARNING: Shruti Kumar and Victoria Ebner of Capital News Service report that as COVID-19 cases rise throughout Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan’s urgent tone prompted nearly all school districts currently practicing hybrid learning to close their doors to students this fall. The story appears in MarylandReporter.
- Three-fifths of Montgomery County Public Schools students will remain in a virtual-only model for the second semester, according to the final results of a questionnaire sent to families. In total, about 98,231 students will continue to take classes from home in the second semester — about 60% of the current enrollment, Caitlynn Peetz of Bethesda Beat reports.
STATEWIDE POLICE BODY CAM MANDATE SOUGHT: Lawmakers are pushing for a statewide mandate requiring every police department in Maryland to equip officers with body cameras, however the cost for equipment and maintenance of the footage may be the biggest challenge, Ryan McFadden of the Capital News Service reports.
SCOTT SWORN IN AS 52nd MAYOR OF BALTIMORE: “I have hope, but I am not naive to the challenges we face,” newly sworn in Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott said, in outdoor remarks that followed a scaled-back ceremony inside City Hall in which he was sworn in as the 52nd mayor of Baltimore. “We are in the midst of battling two public health emergencies – Covid-19 and the continued epidemic of gun violence,” he said, launching into his brief remarks. Fern Shen reports the story for Baltimore Brew.
- Those challenges include the COVID-19 pandemic, the fiscal impact it will have on the city’s budget, rising murder rates, overdose deaths and the eviction crisis, Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters reports. But through it all, Scott promised to lead through a lens of equity. “Equity will be my guiding principle, from the way we invest in our Black and Brown neighborhoods and business to the way we govern and ensuring all residents get what they need,” Scott said.
HOWARD OKs BILL TO PROHIBIT ICE COOPERATION: Legislation that prohibits Howard County agencies from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement passed in a 4-1 vote by the Council Council on Monday night, Ana Faguy of the Columbia Flier reports. The Liberty Act also prevents county employees from questioning or reporting the immigration status of anyone using county services, visiting county buildings or in county public schools.
ATTORNEY BECOMES WA CO COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR: After a couple of years away, attorney John Martirano is returning to Washington County government. This time, it’ll be as county administrator, Mike Lewis reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. “With over half of my life’s work dedicated to Washington County government, I am excited to hit the ground running as I work closely with the Board of County Commissioners, county staff, and citizens …” Martirano said in a news release.
CONGRESS MEMBERS PAY TRIBUTE TO SARBANES: Members of the Maryland congressional delegation and several other members of Congress gave tributes to former Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes on the Senate and House floors Tuesday evening in a Special Order Hour, remembering him for his strong principles and work ethnic, Samantha Hawkins of Maryland Matters reports. Sarbanes (D) died Sunday at the age of 87.