It appears Worcester County is effectively being penalized for doing too well with its efficient vaccination distribution. Several health officials have been discussing the fact the county’s vaccine supply vs. demand issues are likely to get worse in the short term. It seems the state is going to cut, or at least not increase as it should, Worcester County’s weekly allocation severely because it’s vaccination percentage is outstripping other jurisdictions. The concept is Worcester County can’t do too well because it skews the distribution model.
There was a story on this topic this week in The Baltimore Sun, headlined, “Many of Maryland’s biggest counties got smaller per capita shares of COVID vaccines over first 11 weeks.” For example, using a formula derived from doses per 1,000 residents, it appears numerous shore counties have higher doses per 1,000 rates than much larger counties like Montgomery. Metropolitan areas are crying foul over the distribution model, saying it’s unfair for Montgomery County to have a dose per 1,000 rate of 106 with a total allocation of 111,687 doses compared to Worcester County’s doses per 1,000 rate of 202 with a total allocation of 10,575. That’s right, health officials are saying counties like Montgomery need to be receiving far higher dose allocations, despite receiving 11 times more in volume.
It appears no matter where you live in Maryland nobody is happy with the distributions. The state is currently using a three-category distribution model: counties with less than 100,000 receive about 300 doses a week; counties with 100,000 to 200,000 doses gets at least 700 doses; and counties over 200,000 citizens are allocated at least 975 doses. The result of this formula has some of the more populated jurisdictions crying foul. The numbers do in fact confirm they have a point because the percentage of vaccinated individuals in each jurisdiction confirms the smaller counties, like Worcester, are doing a much better and efficient job with their administration of doses.
According to Wednesday’s figures, 24.2% of Worcester County’s population has received the first dose (ranking second in the state behind only to Talbot County and crushing the state’s 16.5% average). As far as second doses, Worcester County leads the state with 15.2% of population vaccinated (tops in the state and far above the state average of 9.1%). As a comparison, only 18% of Montgomery County’s one million residents have received the first vaccine and just 8.8% have the been given the second dose. Closer to home, 17.5% of Wicomico’s 103,609 citizens have received the first dose and 11.9% the second dose.
The state has made it clear to local health officials this trend of Worcester County outpacing other counties will not be allowed to continue. Therefore, drastic cuts in doses are now expected locally until the other jurisdictions across the state catch up. It’s a flawed process without question.
One of the positives from the pandemic was a shift in planning and thinking last spring during graduation season, including the local public school system’s Boardwalk procession for high school seniors. It was a fun and festive scene as hundreds of graduates were driven down the boards by their families and friends and celebrated in grand fashion.
As was expected, it appears the Boardwalk Procession (as it’s being officially called) will evidently remain a part of the graduation calendar of events for at least Stephen Decatur High School. Officials released their graduation plans this week, including a Senior Awards Night at the football stadium on May 18, the Boardwalk parade on May 25, baccalaureate in the football stadium May 27 and graduation in the stadium June 2.
Parents, understandably so, want to know how many guests will be able to attend the affairs. School officials say that will be determined closed to the dates of the event as the situation is clearly fluid. During his press conference this week, Gov. Larry Hogan was asked whether schools should proceed with prom and graduation plans by a reporter. He said, “I think as long as we follow all the health advice and we do masking and distancing, then we should be able to get back to some of those normal things in life.”
For years there was only one official job fair in Ocean City. A quick look around this week indicates there are currently about a dozen different versions of coordinated job fairs planned for this weekend and the coming weeks. It’s clear employment is very much on the minds of business operators. A few businesses I spoke with this week said they are “hoping for the best, expecting the worse,” when it comes to the foreign workers who have been critical for many years.
It appears applicants through the Summer Work Travel program will beginning next month start submitting their applications once former President Trump’s Proclamation 10052 expires March 31, allowing citizens of other countries to come to the U.S. to work and learn the culture.
The newspaper received an email this week from a 19-year-old man named Aldi, who lives in Bulgaria and plans to submit his application as soon as allowed on May 1 for a five-month stay here through September. He was looking for housing information for himself and five “university mates,” and I directed him to the appropriate places. He said the interest is there, but they are unaware if their applications will be processed quickly enough. This uncertainty leaves his need for housing to be a hypothetical. It’s a familiar situation leaving renters in a tough spot.