Coronavirus update: Md.’s Hogan on recovery road map, Trump comments

Bill Ferguson
Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson, left, talks to people after he gave them bags of food during a donation drive by World Central Kitchen in the parking lot of the Camden Yards Sports Complex, Saturday, April 25, 2020, in Baltimore. World Central Kitchen conducted its food relief operation during the coronavirus pandemic to help relieve food insecurity faced by Baltimore’s vulnerable communities, at the request of Gov. Larry Hogan. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The latest

  • The Maryland Department of Labor said Sunday that the online BEACON unemployment-insurance application portal had been taken offline due to technical problems. It is now back online but “working slowly,” the department said.
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday morning on ABC that his state’s plan for lifting safety restrictions and reigniting the economy would be based on “the numbers” rather than a specific timeline. He also reacted to comments President Trump made Thursday about bleach and disinfectants.
  • The Virginia Department of Health on Sunday reported 604 new cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth, bringing the cumulative total to 12,970, and 12 more deaths, bringing the total to 448.
  • The Maryland Department of Health reported 827 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday morning, bringing the total to 18,581, and 30 more deaths, for a total of 827.
  • The D.C. Health Department reported 142 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday morning, bringing the total to 3,841, and 13 more deaths, bringing that total to 178.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Health officials say that if you have these symptoms, you should call your doctor. Do not just show up. Medical facilities need to get ready for you. If you don’t have a doctor and you live in D.C. or the nearby Maryland suburbs, D.C.’s mayor recommends calling the Testing Triage Center at 855-363-0333 or Mary’s Center at 844-796-2797. If you live in Virginia, call 211.

Hogan touts recovery road map on Sunday talk show

Speaking a day following Maryland’s deadliest coronavirus report so far, Md. Gov. Larry Hogan said on ABC’s “This Week” program that his plan for Maryland’s recovery from the COVID-19-driven economic crisis, which he unveiled on Friday, was based on a road map from the National Governors Association, of which Hogan is chair, as well as information from epidemiologists, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, from Johns Hopkins University data and an American Enterprise Institute study.

“It’s very well thought-out,” Hogan said, emphasizing that his road map sets conditions for the eventual dropping of safety rules, not a fixed timeline.

“We’re watching certain metrics and looking at a pattern of numbers before we make any kind of decisions.”

Asked about other states such as Georgia, where safety rules are already being relaxed, Hogan said each governor was reacting to their own conditions.

“The president made it clear that governors were going to be making their own decisions based on the facts on the ground in their states, and that’s what they’re doing,” Hogan said, adding, “I’m not going to second guess my colleagues.”

Hogan said Maryland’s response would be a “very cautious” one, conducted in conjunction with the governments of neighboring D.C. and Virginia.

“We’re going to make decisions together as a region,” Hogan said, pointing out that while hospitalizations and intensive-care use are “leveling off,” cases and deaths in his state are still trending upward.

Hogan: ‘I can’t really explain’ Trump’s comments

The governor was also asked about comments made by President Donald Trump at a White House press briefing on Thursday, during which he questioned whether household disinfectants would be effective in killing the virus if injected or ingested.

“It would be interesting to check that,” Trump remarked.

Hogan noted that Maryland authorities received hundreds of calls inquiring about the feasibility of using these products in that way.

And while Trump on Friday tried to claim he was being “sarcastic,” Hogan pointed out that whatever his intent might have been, it didn’t really matter:

“Because people listen to these press conferences, they listen when the governor gives a press conference, and they certainly listen when the President of the United States is standing there giving a press conference,” Hogan said.

“I think when misinformation comes out, or if you just say something that pops into your head, it sends the wrong message.”

The parent company of the maker of Lysol said in a statement that “Under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body.”

The Clorox Company said, “Bleach and other disinfectants are not suitable for consumption or injection under any circumstances.”

Asked why Trump would suggest such a thing, Hogan said, “I can’t really explain it. I think the president’s got to focus on the message, stick to a message and make sure these press conferences are fact-based.”

“I think having briefings to inform the nation of what’s going on is important,” Hogan said later on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “And I think his coronavirus team has really been doing a good job. And there are some really smart folks on there who are providing valuable information. So I’d hate to see that stop.”

On Saturday, Trump and his team gave a briefing “where the president didn’t take questions; we didn’t have a two-hour press conference that goes off into different topics,” Hogan pointed out, saying that it might be “indicating … a different communication strategy might be more helpful.”

More aid for states?

State and local governments are not receiving any more aid from the federal government in the latest iteration of the coronavirus relief bill, but Hogan said he would continue to try, pointing out a fellow Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as the roadblock.

“We’ve got a commitment from the president and vice president, and we’ve got bipartisan legislation in the Senate” to help the states, Hogan said. “I’m hopeful that we will convince Sen. McConnell to go along.”

Hogan also said that the Maryland presidential primary, which has been moved from April to June and will be conducted primarily by mail, could be a test run for November’s general election.

One precinct will be open in each county for people who can’t vote by mail, Hogan said, but added that “We’re going to see how this thing goes in June” before instituting any new rules for November.

More Coronavirus News

New website for data on Fairfax coronavirus cases

The Fairfax Health District has launched a new website dedicated to providing information on COVID-19 cases in the district, which includes Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, and the towns of Herndon and Vienna.

The Fairfax site is similar to the Virginia Department of Health’s site and gives information on cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

It also breaks down the numbers based on race, locality, age and first three digits of ZIP code.

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