With new Covid cases rising in Baltimore, as they are across the country, and some mayors responding to the trend by re-introducing restrictions, Mayor Brandon Scott was asked if he would do the same.
“When and if the time comes when we have to put mandates and things back in place, we will not hesitate to do so. I will not blink in having to do that to save the lives of Baltimore,” Scott said at one of his periodic Covid-19 updates.
New cases of Covid in the city have increased by 115% over the last four weeks, Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa said yesterday, noting that the city’s positivity rate increased to 0.8%, a near doubling of the very low rate found in June.
“This increase that we are seeing is not unique to Baltimore. Cases of Covid-19 are rising across the state and the country, and it is likely a result of what is known as the Delta variant of Covid-19,” said Scott, who lifted the city’s mask mandate just before the July 4th weekend.
Maryland officials yesterday reported the same trend, with the statewide positivity rate, which dropped to 0.45 last month, now standing at 2.15%. Some individual jurisdictions were posting higher numbers. In rural Cecil County, the positivity rate is 4.27%
Life and Death Difference
Pointing out that the city has been offering dozens of free vaccination clinics, Dzirasa again urged residents to get vaccinated.
She noted that 43% of new cases in the state were due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, and that unvaccinated people constituted 93% of hospitalizations. “It’s becoming increasingly obvious that getting vaccinated is the difference between life and death,” Scott observed.
Overall, 56% of adults – and 47% of those 12 and up – are now fully vaccinated in Baltimore.
But in generally low-income neighborhoods of east, west and south Baltimore vaccinated rates are far below the average.
Dzirasa cited the 21207, 21213, 21216 and 21223 zip codes as having particularly low rates, adding that upwards to 70% of residents remain unvaccinated.
Up to 70% of Baltimore residents in some zip codes remain unvaccinated – Health Commissioner Dzirasa.
“Standing before you today, I’m worried about the disparate impact the Delta variant could have on some parts of the city compared to others,” she said.
Those who are hesitating should consider that “the effects of Covid-19 are way more severe than the potential short-term side effects of the vaccine,” she said.
And she finished with a warning to residents not to wait until contracting the virus to decide to get inoculated. “Please don’t wait until you’re in a hospital bed.”
Locations of free mobile vaccine clinics in Baltimore. For general questions, go here or call the Covid-19 hotline at 443-984-8650. To register as a homebound person and request vaccination at home, call 443-984-2273.