Just a few weeks after lifting COVID-19 restrictions, with cases on the rise, Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) is taking sharp criticism for his management of the pandemic. The Washington Post Editorial Board called Hogan’s lifting of restrictions “premature,” and said he was in denial of the science with the demonstrably false statement that “We don’t think [rising cases] had anything to do with reopenings.”
The Baltimore Sun also reported that COVID-19 tests Hogan purchased from South Korea were “never used,” and cost Maryland taxpayers nearly $12 million. Despite a detailed audit showing the Governor’s failure and repeated attempts at a coverup, Hogan continues to lie about the debacle.
Read more about Governor Hogan’s COVID-19 mismanagement below.
The Washington Post: Hogan’s risky reopening in Maryland has backfired. He should rethink it.
SEVERAL WEEKS ago, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland lifted pandemic capacity restrictions on restaurants, bars and some other public places, saying “the time is right” after the winter surge in infections had dissipated. Mr. Hogan properly kept the mask mandate in place. But his reopening decision looks to have been premature. Coronavirus daily case counts are on the rise again.
Mr. Hogan’s restrictions were lifted effective March 12, when the seven-day moving average of daily new cases in Maryland was 860. Late this week, it reached a single-day total of 1,584. When Mr. Hogan made his announcement on March 9, the state’s test positivity rate was 3.4 percent. On a seven-day average it is now 4.3 percent. Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, which decided to keep most of their restrictions in place, have not seen a similar jump in cases, though Prince George’s has faced an uptick.
Maryland’s $9 million purchase of half a million coronavirus tests from a South Korean company was based on a flawed agreement and most of them were likely never used, according to the findings of a state audit released Friday.
The state government had no contract with the company, LabGenomics, and instead relied on a letter of intent dated April 2, 2020, to buy and import the tests before they received emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to the report from the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Audits.
Ultimately, the state had to spend an extra $2.5 million — on top of the $9 million original price — to exchange the tests. The price of the second batch of tests was not explained or justified in documents, according to the audit.