What’s happening?

A new report from Johns Hopkins shows that Baltimore City has experienced fewer deaths and other negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to 325 communities with residents of similar backgrounds such as race and ethnicity, employment, and health insurance status.

How did Baltimore fare so well? 

According to public health experts interviewed in the report, Baltimore City has benefited from strong leadership including Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, who was less than a year into her role as Baltimore’s health commissioner when talks of the pandemic began in early 2020.

Dzirasa “was the exact right person for the job,” said Dr. Charles Callahan, a vice president for population health at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “There was a level of seriousness, but never panic. She knew the data, she knew the facts. She surrounded herself with good people.”

Accolades were also given to Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who has been a strong supporter of vaccines, unlike many of his Republican counterparts. 

Throughout the pandemic, leaders have effectively partnered with local health care institutions, nonprofits, advocacy organizations, churches, and community groups to reach residents, many of whom are insured since Maryland has expanded its Medicaid program, according to the report. 

Anything else I should know? 

Not everyone is pleased. There has been some back and forth on whether Baltimore’s vaccine mandates are too strict or not stringent enough. 

You can read more here.