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Baltimore Mayor Says Vaccine 'Difference Between Life and Death' As Some City Neighborhoods Only 30% Vaccinated; Mayor, Governor Say No New Restrictions For Now

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore City's health commissioner pleaded with people to get the COVID-19 vaccine and noted: "in some areas of the city more than 70 percent of residents have not yet been vaccinated."

Dr. Letitia Dzirasa is particularly concerned about low vaccination rates in zip codes 21223, 21216, 21207 and 21213 as the more contagious Delta variant spreads.

"Please don't wait until you're sick in a hospital bed talk to your doctor about getting the vaccine," Dr. Dzirasa said.

In the past month, Baltimore has seen cases rise 115 percent and positivity increase by 95 percent but no new deaths.

Sixty-two percent of adults in the city have now received one dose of vaccine.

"It is becoming increasingly obvious that getting the vaccine is the difference between life and death," Mayor Scott said.

WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren asked the mayor whether increased restrictions or a mask mandate are coming if the numbers keep going up.

"When and if the time comes from a public health and public safety standpoint that we have to put things in place, we will not hesitate to do that," the mayor told Hellgren. "We are hopeful that we don't get to that point but I will not blink to do that and save the lives of Baltimoreans."

The city has no plans yet to mandate vaccinations or testing among its workers, as announced today in California and New York City. Scott said they are still working on policies and would provide an update in the future.

Dr. Dzirasa is encouraging even fully vaccinated people to wear masks in crowded indoor spaces.

"I still wear my mask grocery shopping or in other areas where I feel it necessary to protect myself and my family," she said.

Statewide, the positivity rate has more than quadrupled since June. It stood at 2.15 percent Monday. The state reported 256 new infections.

"The Delta variants are scary and dangerous and more virulent and more contagious, and they are spreading all over our state and all across the country and the world," Governor Larry Hogan said Monday.

The governor noted 76 percent of Maryland adults have received one shot and the state is one of the "most vaccinated in America."

"There's been no lack of access to the vaccine. The current 24 percent just decided not to get it. We're hoping 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 [protected] if they would all get the vaccine," Hogan said.

He told WJZ there are no plans right now to go back to mask mandates and restrictions. "We have a great team that's weighing in with lots of advice, but the only action we need to take is for people to get that vaccine."

Posted by Charm TV Baltimore on Monday, July 26, 2021
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