Every single person in Maryland who died of COVID-19 in June was unvaccinated. The pattern applies to other states, too.

covid vaccine
Maryland National Guard Specialist James Truong (R) administers a Moderna coronavirus vaccine in Wheaton, Maryland, May 21, 2021 .

In Maryland, 130 people died of COVID-19 last month. According to Gov. Larry Hogan, 100% of them were unvaccinated.

“If you’ve not gotten your vaccine, the virus and its variants are a dangerous threat to you. Getting vaccinated is the only way to protect yourself,” Hogan said during a press conference on Wednesday.

Hogan added that 95% of new COVID-19 cases and 93% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Maryland last month were among unvaccinated residents.

larry hogan
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

That trend trend isn’t limited to Maryland.

“No question that almost all of the deaths and hospitalizations will be in unvaccinated individuals,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN.

Indeed, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a press briefing last week that data from “a collection of states over the last six months suggest 99.5% of deaths from COVID-19 in these states have occurred in unvaccinated people.”

An analysis by the Associated Press also found that of the 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in the US in May, only 150 of those people had been fully vaccinated – meaning 99.2% of those who died were unvaccinated.

‘Avoidable and preventable’

fauci vaccine
Dr. Anthony Fauci prepares to receive his COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, December 22, 2020.

Although vaccines work against the Delta variant – the most contagious version of the coronavirus yet – research suggests that Americans need a full vaccination course, meaning both doses of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccines, to be fully protected.

Two doses of Pfizer, according to two analyses done by Public Health England, are 88% effective at preventing symptomatic infection and 96% effective against hospitalization.

“You can make a quite reasonable assumption that data that are applicable to Pfizer are also applicable to Moderna,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a White House briefing on Thursday.

Given this data, Fauci has said, coronavirus deaths in the US at this point are needless.

“It’s really sad and tragic that most all of these [deaths] are avoidable and preventable,” he told NBC News’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

anti-vaxx protest
People protest against masks, vaccines, and vaccine passports outside the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control on March 13, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

While more than 157 million Americans, or 47.6%, are fully vaccinated, CDC data suggest daily vaccinations in the US have declined over the last month. The number of shots administered per day, averaged over a week, currently hovers around 500,000 – half of the daily average from a month ago.

Ideally, experts would like to see every US county vaccinate at least 75% of its population in order to reach herd immunity.

“This new virus forced too many of our families to accept death as an outcome for too many of our loved ones, but now this should not be the case,” Walensky said in a June briefing. “As I’ve often said, this virus is an opportunist. As long as there are those who are not vaccinated, COVID-19 will remain a threat.”

Aria Bendix and Sarah Al-Arshani contributed reporting to this story.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Laid-off workers are scoring early wins in lawsuits against GOP governors attempting to cut off federal jobless aid

unemployment insurance weekly benefits stimulus checks recession job losses coronavirus pandemic
Carlos Ponce joins a protest in in Miami Springs, Florida, asking senators to continue unemployment benefits past July 31, 2020.

  • Jobless workers in Indiana and Maryland racked up early court wins about restoring federal unemployment.
  • “I think it certainly has the potential to start more cases,” one expert said of the litigation.
  • A lawyer who brought a similar case in Ohio said he may even go after the state for damages.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Jobless workers in Ohio are the latest group to push back against Republican governors cutting off their federal benefits early – in court.

Federal benefits in the state wound down on June 26, months ahead of their scheduled expiration in September. Now, a new lawsuit representing three Ohio workers claims that the state is obligated to continue paying up.

The suit follows similar ones filed in Indiana and Maryland, both of which won temporary victories. In Indiana, firms argued that a similar law mandates the state procure all unemployment compensation conferred upon it, including compensation from amendments like those in the CARES Act. In other words, Republican governors might be trying to cancel extra unemployment from Biden’s stimulus, but it’s illegal.

The Ohio suit hinges on a specific part of state law that deals with the state’s responsibility to cooperate with the federal government on unemployment insurance – and whether it should “secure to this state and its citizens all advantages available.”

Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is now with DannLaw, one of the two firms representing plaintiffs in the case. He told Insider he believes the amendments to federal unemployment written into pandemic-era laws “are exactly the type of thing that it was the intention of the legislature that the governor is required – has a clear, legal duty – to accept and pass on to the folks that were represented.”

“I think it certainly has the potential to start more cases,” Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow and jobless policy expert at the left-leaning Century Foundation, said. “The legal argument made in Indiana was based on a set of components that were not unique to Indiana law.”

At least 400,000 jobless workers in Ohio are impacted by the additional $300 ending, according to an estimate from Stettner.

The three plaintiffs in the case say they won’t be able to pay their basic living expenses if all federal benefits are cut off early, including rent, food, and medications for pets and service animals.

But in Indiana, where a preliminary injunction was granted to temporarily halt the end of benefits, jobless workers may still face difficulty getting their money. The state’s Department of Workforce Development claims it can’t restore the benefits, HuffPost’s Arthur Delaney reported. It’s a situation that Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told Insider he’s keeping a close eye on.

But in Ohio, “it would be real easy to get it restarted and, frankly, if they don’t, then we’ll look at bringing some sort of a damage action against the state to recover what they should have gotten,” Dann said.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has said he’s planning to appeal the court’s 10-day injunction ordering the state to continue dispensing federal jobless benefits.

“Why wouldn’t a state that cares about the people that live in it, and who has a statutory obligation to pass on benefits that are available under federal law, why wouldn’t they do it?” Dann said.

Are you an unemployed worker with a story to share? Email these reporters at jkaplan@insider.com and jzeballos@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Maryland to continue paying federal unemployment benefits after judge rules against Governor Hogan

Larry Hogan
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

  • Federal unemployment benefits will continue to be paid in Maryland after a judge ruled against Governor Larry Hogan.
  • Maryland was set to end the pandemic unemployment aid Saturday evening, which includes $300 weekly payments.
  • Governor Hogan has indicated that he will immediately appeal the decision.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Maryland will continue to pay federal unemployment benefits for at least ten more days after a judge ruled against Governor Larry Hogan on Saturday.

The benefits were set to end this weekend, but Circuit Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill issued a temporary restraining order requiring Maryland to continue administering the benefits, The Baltimore Sun first reported. The temporary restraining order followed two lawsuits brought by unemployed Marylanders against Governor Hogan and Maryland Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson.

The restraining order is set to expire in ten days, which will give the courts enough time to schedule a hearing on the merits of the lawsuits. Fletcher-Hill’s ruling means tens of thousands of unemployed workers in Maryland will continue to receive the benefits, which include a $300 weekly benefit paid by the federal government.

The coronavirus pandemic-related unemployment benefits also cover self-employed workers. As of mid-June, 178,000 people in Maryland were recipients of unemployment benefits.

Hogan is one of more than 20 Republican governors who have moved to cut federal unemployment benefits early. The governors argue that the federal unemployment benefits on top of state unemployment benefits have slowed down the jobs recovery, with fewer people seeking work because of the extra money. The governors often point to anecdotal evidence of local businesses, especially restaurants, being unable to fill open positions. The federal unemployment payments are set to expire in September.

Thursday’s jobs report showed the US economy added 850,000 jobs in June, while the unemployment rate increased to 5.9%. In Maryland, the unemployment rate fell to 6.1% in May.

Hogan said the ruling by Fletcher-Hill would be “immediately appealed.”

“We’re going to file an appeal today. I haven’t read the details of the ruling but I have no idea how [Fletcher-Hill] could come up with that,” Hogan said at an Independence Day march in Annapolis, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Judge Fletcher-Hill wrote in a 14-page ruling that the plaintiffs of the lawsuit would be “irreparably harmed” if the unemployment benefits ended, and that they might be able to prove that Maryland is required to maximize the use of federal assistance programs under state law.

“As one who has enjoyed the privilege of continuous, secure employment, the Court is particularly struck by the plight of those who have had to struggle with irregular or no employment,” Judge Fletcher-Hill wrote in his opinion.

But according to Hogan, the extra $300 in federal unemployment benefits are keeping people from getting back to work.

“Thousands of businesses have no ability to get people back to work. We’ve got more jobs available than ever before in the history of the state,” Hogan said, according to The Baltimore Sun. “People that really need the help are still going to get unemployment benefits. It’s the extended bonus $300 that’s keeping people home.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

An 1870s-era rail tunnel used by Amtrak could be a possible beneficiary of federal infrastructure funding

Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel
An Amtrak train emerges from the 1870s-era Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • Amtrak and Maryland released a plan for a new $4 billion tunnel along the vital Northeast Corridor.
  • The new tunnel would replace the existing 1870s-era tubes, which are a major rail chokepoint.
  • As Congress debates a new infrastructure bill, projects like the Baltimore tunnel stand to benefit.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

Amtrak and the state of Maryland last week came to an agreement on a $4 billion plan to replace the deteriorating Baltimore & Potomac (B&P) Tunnel in Baltimore, a key bottleneck along Amtrak’s heavily trafficked Northeast Corridor, according to The Washington Post.

The replacement tunnel is slated to be built in the next decade, with the tunnel having the ability to transport electric-powered trains.

For years, the current tunnel has transported Amtrak, Maryland’s MARC commuter trains, and commercial rail traffic through the state’s largest city.

But trains slow down to 30 miles per hour along the 148-year-old two-track tunnel, which often creates delays throughout the rail corridor.

A replacement tunnel, roughly half a mile north of the existing tubes, would allow trains to move up to 100 miles per hour. It would be named after the noted abolitionist and Maryland native Frederick Douglass.

According to The Post, the B&P Tunnel, built in 1873 and the oldest tunnel inherited by Amtrak, is “the biggest chokepoint between Washington and New Jersey.”

Read more: Meet 7 BidenWorld longtime consiglieres and a couple relative newcomers who have access to exclusive White House meetings

Funding has not yet been appropriated for the project, which would need federal and state money to proceed.

As Congress tries to hammer out a comprehensive infrastructure plan, projects like the B&P Tunnel reflect what is at stake in the national debate over the country’s aging transportation networks.

amtrak joe biden
US Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden greets supporters after arriving on an Amtrak train for a campaign stop in Alliance, Ohio, on September 30, 2020.

While there has been no guarantee of money for the B&P Tunnel project, President Joe Biden, who routinely took Amtrak during his 36-year Senate career representing Delaware and is one of the railroad service’s biggest advocates, would likely identify the new tunnel to lawmakers as an exigent project.

Four years ago, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) proposed a replacement project that would have included four single-track tunnel tubes, while the current plan calls for two tunnel tubes to be built, according to The Post.

Two additional tunnel tubes could then be constructed in a potential second phase of construction, according to Amtrak.

The FRA has classified the current tunnel as “structurally deficient,” with Amtrak stating that it “is not suited for modern high-speed train operations due to tight clearances and sharp curves.”

Amtrak is asking for $257 million for the project from Congress this year.

GOP Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland last week emphasized the multi-jurisdictional importance of the B&P Tunnel project.

“This is a critical project not just for Baltimore and the state of Maryland, but for the entire Northeast Corridor of the United States, and we plan to work with Amtrak and the federal government to move it forward as expeditiously as possible,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Fire reported at an Amazon warehouse in Maryland

amazon logo

A fire was reported at an Amazon warehouse in Perryville, Maryland, on Wednesday, according to local news outlet WJZ.

According to the outlet, Deputy State Fire Marshals in Maryland are at the scene and investigating how the fire started. Officials told the outlet that air handlers and solar panels were at the center of the blaze.

No injuries have been reported.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

In a first, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan will posthumously pardon 34 victims of racial lynching who weren’t given due process

Larry Hogan
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan posthumously pardoned 34 victims of racial lynching in the state, on Saturday, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The victims were denied legal due process between 1854 and 1933.

The pardons were partly due to a petition by students at Loch Raven Technical Academy that urged Hogan to pardon Howard Cooper, a 15-year-old Black boy who in 1885 was hanged outside the Towson jailhouse by a white mob, WJZ reported.

“I was so inspired by that group of young middle school students because we have no greater responsibility as leaders of a democracy than preserving for future generations the importance of clearly differentiating the difference of right from wrong,” Hogan said.

The lynching came not long after he was convicted of assault and rape by an all-white jury that deliberated for less than a minute.

“In the interest of equal justice under law, I have made the decision to grant a posthumous pardon today for Howard Cooper,” Hogan said during an outdoor ceremony in Towson, in which Cooper was memorialized, the Sun reported.

“And studying this case led me to dig deeper,” Hogan added. “Today I am also granting pardons to all the 34 victims of racial lynchings in the state of Maryland which occurred between 1854 and 1933.”

Politico reported that Hogan’s spokesman Michael Ricci said the pardon was the first of its kind by a governor.

Will Schwarz, President of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, told Politico the pardons were a way to acknowledge the truth of racial violence and a step towards reconciliation.

“We have a responsibility to try and dismantle that machine of white supremacy and this is a big piece of it, acknowledging the violation of civil rights and of due process that were a part of these awful lynchings,” Schwarz said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says more people should be ‘speaking out’ against hate crimes targeting Asian Americans

Larry Hogan

Marland Gov. Larry Hogan praised President Joe Biden for speaking up against the recent spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic, which he called “a serious problem.”

In an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Hogan, whose wife Yumi is a first-generation Korean-American, said he has felt the impact of racism against Asian Americans through his family and close friends.

“It really has been a serious problem,” Hogan said. “My wife, my three daughters, my grandkids are all Asian. They’ve felt some discrimination personally, but they also have close friends – friends of my wife from church, some of my daughters’ friends – who’ve really been treated pretty terribly.”

Over the last year, Hogan said they’ve also experienced incidents including “people yelling about the ‘China virus’ even though they’re from Korea and born in America.”

The governor pointed to data from America’s biggest cities from 2020 that while hate crimes overall decreased by 7%, show crimes against Asian Americans increased 150%.

“It’s something we have to get under control, and I wish more people would be speaking out,” Hogan said.

During a prime-time address to the country on the first anniversary of COVID-19 on Thursday, Biden denounced the racist attacks towards Asian Americans.

“At this very moment, so many of them – our fellow Americans on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives – and still, still they are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America,” Biden said. “It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”

In the interview, Hogan said that he “appreciates” Biden for shedding light on the issue, doubling down on his tweet from last week in which he praised the president’s comments alongside a photo of his family.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Maryland governor tried to deploy National Guard in DC only for his calls to be ignored

GettyImages 1230472048
UNITED STATES – JANUARY 7: National Guard troops march past the Dirksen Senate Office Building on the U.S. Capitol grounds on Thursday, January 7, 2021, following the riot at the Capitol the day before.

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said Thursday that he tried to deploy his state’s National Guard to assist in Washington, DC, but was thwarted.
  • Hogan said he was “repeatedly” told he lacked the authorization to deploy the troops, The Washington Post reported.
  • According to The New York Times, the decision to authorize National Guard deployments ultimately came from Vice President Mike Pence, marking an apparent break with the chain in command.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As besieged lawmakers pleaded for help, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said he was “repeatedly” told that he lacked the authority to deploy his state’s National Guard to help put down the pro-Trump insurrection at the US Capitol.

According to The Washington Post, Hogan was urged to deploy the troops by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I was actually on the phone with Leader Hoyer who was pleading with us to send the guard,” Hogan said, The Post reported. “He was yelling across the room to Schumer and they were back and forth saying we do have the authorization and I’m saying, ‘I’m telling you we do not have the authorization.'”

As rioters smashed windows and forced lawmakers into hiding, the head of the Maryland National Guard was told he could not come to the aid of US Capitol police, per Hogan.

Ninety minutes later, according to Hogan, the secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, called him to request the deployment.

Typically such calls come from the US Secretary of Defense. It was not the only apparent breach in the chain of command on Wednesday. The order to deploy the National Guard came not from the commander in chief, President Donald Trump, but rather Vice President Mike Pence, according to The New York Times.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

Read the original article on Business Insider

Take a look inside Baltimore’s largest penthouse, a $15 million property that belonged to Tom Clancy and is now up for auction

Tom Clancy
  • Tom Clancy’s former Baltimore penthouse is up for auction.
  • The four-bed waterfront property is located in the Ritz-Carlton Residences and has views over the harbor, as well as the city.
  • It has two offices, a private gym, six balconies, and access to a shared pool and meditation gardens.
  • Photos show just how luxurious the property is.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A penthouse that was custom-designed for author Tom Clancy for $15 million has been put up for auction.

The open plan penthouse is located in the Ritz-Carlton Residences in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore, Maryland, and hasĀ 10-foot ceilings throughout.

It also comes with five parking spaces, including valet parking services, and an elevator that takes you from the garage right inside the penthouse.

Elite Auctions described it as “the most impressive and opulent home in Baltimore.”

The penthouse is located in Maryland’s Ritz-Carlton Residences.

Tom Clancy

The 12,000 square foot penthouse was specially made for Clancy in 2010 by combining three individual penthouses, making it the largest penthouse in the city.

It cost $12 million for the three properties, and he spent a further $3 million refurbishing it.

It sits right on the waterfront by the Inner Harbor.

Tom Clancy

Its prime location means the property has views over the harbor and the downtown city skyline.

Clancy designed the property for entertaining. It features multiple generous living spaces so you can host guests.

Tom Clancy

The design is “inspiring and exceptionally modern,” Elite Auctions says.

Tom Clancy

The lighting, window shades, and in-home audio can all be controlled via an app, too.

Tom Clancy

The master bedroom has not just one but two en-suites, as well as enclosed and walk-in closets and dressing areas.

Tom Clancy

The property has four bedrooms in total …

Tom Clancy

… and six full- and one-half bath.

Tom Clancy

The penthouse comes with access to the Ritz-Carlton’s shared pool …

Tom Clancy

… but you can also work out in private in your own gym.

Tom Clancy

After exercising, you can watch a movie in the penthouse’s spacious home theater room.

Tom Clancy

The property also includes two offices …

Tom Clancy

… and one leads out onto a large terrace with harbor and city views.

Tom Clancy

But that isn’t the only terrace: The property has four balconies and two corner terraces in total.

Tom Clancy

If that’s not enough outdoor space for you, the property also comes with access to the Ritz-Carlton’s two acres of waterfront gardens with fountains. The complex also features a luxurious meditation garden.

Tom Clancy

Other services offered by the residences include: 24/7 front desk attendants, free valet parking for residents and guests, dry cleaning pickup and delivery, available maid service, and porters to deliver groceries and packages.

Tom Clancy
Read the original article on Business Insider