As pandemic-related economic worries expand nationwide, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced urgent actions Monday because "twin battles" need to be waged against both the novel coronavirus and a large-scale economic disaster.
Hogan launched grants and loans to shore up closed Maryland businesses and announced that the 400,000-square-foot Baltimore Convention Center will be converted into a field hospital to ease demand on regional hospital beds during the crisis. Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical System are jointly running that effort. The Maryland National Guard is setting up the site, coordinating with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hogan said.
"These are twin battles," said Hogan, chair of the National Governors Association. If "we don't take any of these steps, hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people are going to die in America. We do take these steps and hundreds of thousands or millions of people are going to be hurt economically. And it's a terrible choice. And so the solution is we try to help. We try to save lives and then we try to help save the economy."
Hogan also closed nonessential businesses and urged Marylanders to stay home except for runs to grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. "We don't want our businesses to die and we don't want our people to lose their jobs, " he said. "We also don't want to lose the lives of so many people."
More: The Baltimore Sun
For an ongoing tally of states' stay-at-home orders and related, see CNN