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Hogan Balks at Reinstating Mask Mandate Amid COVID Case Spike

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has decided against reinstating a statewide mask mandate for the time being, even as the number of new coronavirus cases spikes and vaccination rates begin to plateau.

The governor said such a move is unnecessary as long as all Marylanders get vaccinated.

“[For] those less than 24% of the people who still refuse, there’s been no lack of access to the vaccine,” Hogan said Monday, Baltimore’s WBAL-TV reported. “The current 24 just decided not to get it and we’re going to keep trying to convince them, one at a time, that they’re going to be safer, their families are going to be protected and their communities are if they all get the vaccine.”

Currently, about 58% of Maryland’s population is fully vaccinated, with 77% of residents 18 and older having at least one dose of a vaccine, according to state health department data.

But the seven-day daily average of total doses administered has been less than 11,000 over the past three weeks. At its peak in late April, that number hovered around 80,000.

Meanwhile, the state’s seven-day average coronavirus positivity rate is above 2% again in recent days after weeks of decline — partly driven by a surge of the highly contagious delta variant, particularly among the unvaccinated.

As of Tuesday, the positivity rate is 2.31%, up 0.16% over the past 24 hours, according to health department data. Before Sunday, the rate hadn’t been above 2% since May 23.

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