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5-Year-Old In Maryland Has Coronavirus; Governor Announces 1st Death In State

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said a man in his 60s is the state's first death from the coronavirus. He also announced new emergency measures, including closing all enclosed malls and entertainment venues.
Steve Ruark

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday announced the state's first death from the coronavirus, a man in his 60s, and also confirmed a 5-year-old girl has COVID-19, making her the youngest known person in the state to contract the disease.

Hogan said there are a total of 107 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, adding it was an "88% increase in the last 48 hours."

"Unfortunately we are only at the beginning of this crisis," Hogan said at a press conference outside the state capitol in Annapolis.

Hogan said the man who died lived in Prince George's County — the state's largest county that borders Washington — had underlying health issues. But he also had no known travel history. The girl who was diagnosed with COVID-19 is from Howard County, outside Baltimore. She's the first case of someone younger than 18 contracting the disease in Maryland.

"This fight against this global pandemic is a race against time, and we must take action now," Hogan said.

The governor also announced a number of new restrictions aimed at slowing the rapid spread of the virus. This includes restricting access to the state's largest airport to ticketed passengers or credentialed airport staff. Exceptions will be made for those helping disabled passengers.

Also all entertainment venues, including enclosed malls, will shut down throughout the state effective 5 p.m. Thursday.

Earlier this week the governor ordered other public venues such as gyms and movie theaters to be shuttered. And he said restaurants would be closed to in-person dining. He also discouraged gatherings of large groups.

During the press conference he grew agitated that some people in the state were not heeding the dire warnings by public health officials to avoid crowds and remain home as much as possible.

"Some people are treating this like a vacation or a spring break with parties and cookouts and large gatherings at some of our parks. Let me be very clear: If you are engaged in this type of activity, you are in violation of state law and you are endangering the lives of your fellow Marylanders," Hogan said.

No other announcements were made about Maryland public schools, which have been closed since Monday and will stay shuttered through March 27.

While Hogan's earlier executive order allowed restaurants and bars that serve food to allow patrons carry-out or food delivery, he announced he was extending that same option for alcohol sales to restaurants, bars, distilleries and wineries.

"We're doing this to help small businesses and restaurants and to protect vulnerable people from having to leave home," Hogan said.

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Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.
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