Maryland Governor Larry Hogan holds a press conference to address COVID-19 concerns in Annapolis, MD on November 17.

Bill O’Leary | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Maryland has reported a case of the new, highly transmissible Covid-19 variant first found in South Africa, marking the third case to be detected in the U.S., Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Saturday.

The case involves an adult resident living in the Baltimore region with no history of international travel, Maryland health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed.

“We strongly encourage Marylanders to practice extra caution to limit the additional risk of transmission associated with this variant,” Hogan said. “Please continue to practice standard public health and safety measures, including mask wearing, regular hand washing and physical distancing.”

The first two U.S. cases of the South African variant, known as B.1.351, were identified in South Carolina on Jan. 28. Other variants found in the U.S. have originated from Britain and Brazil.

The variants don’t appear to cause more significant illness or increased risk of death, but are believed to be highly contagious. Health officials are particularly concerned about the B.1.351 variant because preliminary research suggests vaccines may

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Johnson & Johnson board member Dr. Mark McClellan told CNBC Friday that there could be enough vaccinations for the entire U.S. adult population by the summer. 

“Assuming all of the close review of the J&J data all pans out, we’re going to have the capacity between Moderna, Pfizer, J&J, to have enough vaccines available by June for the entire U.S. adult population,” McClellan, a former FDA commissioner, said on “The News with Shepard Smith.” 

The U.S. plans to buy 200 million Covid vaccine doses from Moderna and Pfizer. The Department of Health and Human Services will boost its vaccine supply to states from 8.6 million to a minimum of 10 million doses per week. So far, states have received more than 49 million doses, but only about half of those have actually ended up in people’s arms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency reports that the U.S. is administering a little more than a million shots every day.

McClellan that the U.S. should significantly increase the amount of shots administered per day and “get our capacity for doing vaccinations up closer to 3 million doses per day.”

The United States has

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In America’s health care system, dominated by hospital chain leviathans, New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, is an anomaly. It is a publicly owned hospital that boasts good care at lower prices than most and still flourishes financially.

Nonetheless, New Hanover County is selling the hospital to one of the state’s biggest health care systems. The sale has stoked concerns locally that the change in ownership will raise fees, which would not only leave patients with bigger bills but also eventually filter down into higher health insurance premiums for Wilmington workers.

Hospital consolidation has been a consistent trend unabated by recessions, bountiful times or even a pandemic. The New Hanover sale, which requires only the approval of the state attorney general for completion, prompts the question: If Wilmington’s self-sufficient medical center cannot stand alone, can any public hospital avoid being subsumed into the large systems that economists say are helping propel the cost of American health care ever upward?

“We project the prices will go up, they’ll probably lay off employees after a couple of years, and the hospital will decline in terms of its quality,” said Dale Smith, a retired Wilmington businessman who opposed the sale.

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In the nine months leading up to her due date, Kayla Kjelshus and her husband, Mikkel, meticulously planned for their daughter’s arrival.

Their long to-do list included mapping out their family’s health insurance plan and registering for baby gear and supplies. They even nailed down child care ahead of her birth.

“We put a deposit down to hold a spot at a local day care following our first ultrasound,” said Kayla Kjelshus, of Olathe, Kansas.

The first-time parents felt ready for their daughter’s debut on Feb. 15, 2019. But one of the happiest days of their lives turned out to be one of the scariest. Their daughter, Charlie, had a complication during delivery that caused her oxygen levels to drop and put her at risk for brain damage.

“We had a waiting room filled with family and friends,” Mikkel recalled. “To come out and say things aren’t well … it was really hard.”

Charlie was transferred from St. Luke’s Community Hospital to HCA Overland Park Regional Medical Center, where she received treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit, known as the NICU, for the next seven days.

Doctors sent Charlie home with a positive prognosis. The couple had decided that

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