Maryland reported 212 new coronavirus cases on Monday, May 17. That is the lowest number of new cases since March 30, 2020, according to Gov. Larry Hogan and the Maryland Department of Health.

Hogan pointed to other improving pandemic metrics including falling positivity rates and hospitalizations attributed to the virus. MDH reported 613 hospitalizations for the virus statewide on Monday. Back in January of this year, COVID hospitalizations were approaching 2,000 patients statewide.

The positivity rate for COVID tests came in at 2.51% on Monday matching its lowest level during the pandemic.

The low COVID numbers come after Hogan lifted Maryland’s outdoor and then indoor mask mandates after new U.S. Centers for Disease and Control guidance came out on Friday.

Maryland, Delaware and other states have or are lifting mask mandates for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Hogan welcomed the slower COVID numbers on Monday. We all should welcome the improving numbers.

The rise of cases and deaths attributed to COVID were rightfully covered and reported with vigor. We should be donating similar energy to reporting the decline in cases and deaths while keeping an eye on public health situations in Europe, India and other countries.

The improving pandemic numbers should give us more confidence when it comes to the waiving of mask mandates.

Our friends who want to keep wearing masks very much should. Workplaces and businesses should be able decide when and how to navigate mask rules but the lack of government mandates makes their enforcements potentially complicated for small businesses and the rest of the private sector.

There are also plenty of our neighbors who are ready to return to some sense of normalcy and ready to jettison masks as much as possible. Masks are certainly the primary sign of the pandemic and all its restrictions.

We want everyone to be safe but improving numbers and the fewer masks people see can serve as morale boosts for the economy, social life and our collective mental health.

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