COVID-19 Check-in Survey II

Key Takeaways

  • 95% support Massachusetts’ social distancing policies or feel we should go further.
  • 96% expect we will take a long time to get back to normal or will have to adapt to a permanent new normal.

Summary of Survey

  • A total of 2,662 of people responded to an email and Facebook survey initiated on Saturday, April 25, 2020, with 85% responding on that day.
  • As to Massachusetts’ COVID-19 response, only 5% of respondents stated “We have gone too far — the economic impact is not worth it.”
  • Public support for social distancing remains strong: 65% felt “The balance is right at this time” and 30% felt “We have not gone far enough — people are still doing unnecessary and unsafe things.”
  • As compared to the March survey which was completed mostly before the Governor’s non-essential business closures of March 23, the group feeling “We have not gone far enough” has declined from 54% to 30%, while the group feeling “We have gone too far” has increased slightly from 3% to 5%.
  • 9% reported that they were unemployed as a result of the epidemic while 3% reported they were previously unemployed. The newly unemployed were somewhat more likely to feel our response has gone too far (12%) than the respondents as a whole (5%), but 88% of them felt we have the balance right or have not gone far enough.
  • The share of respondents currently behind on bills dropped slightly from 3% to 2%. This group was more likely to feel we have gone too far (29%) than the respondents as a whole (5%), but 70% of them felt we have the balance right or have not gone far enough.
  • Almost half of respondents (49%) believe that “The virus may change our lifestyles in permanent ways. We may have to adapt to a new normal.” An additional 47% expect that “We will get back to normal eventually after a long period involving at least some retrictions.” Only 3% of respondents expect that “We will get back to normal pretty soon.”

As noted further below and in the discussion of the March survey the survey methods are not designed to be representative. They reflect people who are engaged in the community or in political issues, mostly within my senate district. However, the sample size is large at 2,662 and the results are broadly consistent with recent statewide polling and national polling.

Survey Outreach

The survey outreach was identical to that of the March survey — including direct email, news group email and Facebook, reaching people mostly in my Belmont/Watertown/Boston district. As before, the survey was entirely anonymous.

Survey Timing

Email delivery occurred starting at approximately 8AM on Saturday morning, April 25, 2020 and the Facebook post went up about the same time. The survey was closed a little after 11AM on Monday, April 27. The survey was open for approximately 51 hours. However, 80.5% of the responses came in during the first 12 hours and 87.2% came in during the first 24 hours. There were no major changes of social distancing policies in Massachusetts while the survey was open.

DateHour% of responsecumulative % of response
Saturday, April 25, 202081.8%1.8%
Saturday, April 25, 2020914.9%16.7%
Saturday, April 25, 20201013.6%30.3%
Saturday, April 25, 20201112.3%42.6%
Saturday, April 25, 20201210.0%52.7%
Saturday, April 25, 2020138.3%60.9%
Saturday, April 25, 2020145.4%66.3%
Saturday, April 25, 2020153.9%70.2%
Saturday, April 25, 2020162.6%72.8%
Saturday, April 25, 2020173.0%75.8%
Saturday, April 25, 2020183.2%78.9%
Saturday, April 25, 2020191.5%80.5%
Saturday, April 25, 2020201.3%81.8%
Saturday, April 25, 2020211.4%83.2%
Saturday, April 25, 2020220.9%84.1%
Saturday, April 25, 2020230.8%84.9%
Sunday, April 26, 2020All11.5%96.4%
Monday, April 27, 2020Up to 11AM3.6%100.0%

Survey Participation — Sample Characteristics

Our outreach methods were not designed to produce a representative sample of the community. As discussed previously, the outreach heavily targeted people who are engaged in their local community. It should be added that the outreach would especially favor those interested in online discussion of issues, especially issues of state policy. These engaged people were sent an email with a fairly neutral subject line, exactly as in the March survey or viewed an identically worded Facebook post.

For reasons that are unclear, the 24 hour response to survey was only 71% of the 24 hour response for the March survey. This does not appear to reflect survey timing. We left the survey open through Sunday into Monday (an additional 27 hours covering the same weekdays that the March survey was open ), but did not gather much additional response. The final total response to the survey was 2,662 (excluding 12 consecutive entries from the same browser/ip combination in a period of 40 minutes) as compared to 3,259 for the prior survey. The lower response may reflect factors like what the weather was when the email hit people’s inbox or perhaps people are getting a little tired of COVID news and discussion.

The age and geographic distribution was similar to the March survey. Those 65 and over were slightly more heavily represented at 35% as opposed to 29% in the March Survey.

Age of Respondents (self-reported)

24 or Under502%
25 to 64167663%
65 or over93635%

Zipcode of Respondents (self-reported)

02115 (East Fenway)974%
02116 (Back Bay)1315%
02134 (Allston)763%
02135 (Brighton)42616%
02215 (West Fenway)1094%
02472 (Watertown)55121%
02478 Belmont86032%
All other41215%

Completed March Survey (self-reported)

Completed March112242%
First Time Participant108441%
Not sure45617%

Detailed Results

The full text of the questions can be viewed at this link. The main difference from the March survey was that we did not include an “other” option. We dropped the “shelter in place” question, which people interpreted in different ways and we added a question about outlook for the pandemic.

Question 1: View of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 response so far

Have not gone far enough79030%
Balance right at this time173465%
Have gone too far1385%

Question 2: Work Situation

Retired, at home, etc.65725%
Leaving home to work2108%
Unemployed prior713%
Unemployed by COVID2499%
Working from home147555%

Question 3: Financial Situation

Behind on bills622%
OK but concerned85732%
Secure for the next year174365%

Question 4: Expectations for Pandemic Course

Back to old normal in time126347%
New normal131249%
Back to old normal soon873%

Crosstab A: View of response vs. age

AgeNot enoughJust RightToo Far
24 or Under58%36%6%
25 to 6430%64%6%
65 or over28%69%3%

Crosstab B: View of response vs. zipcode

Not enoughJust RightToo Far
02115 (East Fens)33%60%7%
02116 (Back Bay)33%63%4%
02134 (Allston)37%59%4%
02135 (Brighton)35%60%5%
02215 (West Fenway)39%60%2%
02472 (Watertown)32%63%5%
02478 (Belmont)24%71%5%
All Other28%66%6%

Crosstab C: View of response vs. work situation

Not EnoughJust RightToo Far
Retired, at home, etc.26%71%3%
Leaving home to work35%57%9%
Unemployed prior to COVID32%62%6%
Unemployed by COVID changes31%57%12%
Working from home30%65%4%

Crosstab D: View of response vs. financial situation

Not EnoughJust RightToo Far
Behind on bills35%35%29%
OK but concerned37%56%7%
Secure for a year26%71%3%

Crosstab E: View of response vs. pandemic course

Not EnoughJust RightToo Far
Back to old normal in time22%73%5%
Possible new normal39%58%3%
Back to old normal soon2%53%45%

Crosstab F: View of response vs. prior survey participation

Not EnoughJust RightToo Far
Completed March28%69%4%
First Time Participant31%61%7%
Not Sure31%66%3%

The anonymous row by row results can be downloaded in spreadsheet form for additional analysis here.

Comparison to National Polling

Its timing is different and its questions are different, but the following poll from the Pew Research Center is broadly consistent with the present survey in showing strong support for social distancing.

Large majorities say restrictions on travel, closures of businesses have been necessary responses

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

158 replies on “COVID-19 Check-in Survey II”

  1. Thanks for all you do Senator…my arching concern is that I cannot understand why the general public by a wide margin that I observe,when outside do not wear facemasks…you would think that folks who do not wear facemasks might consider erring on the side of caution.
    I do not want to see martial law enacted, but is there any other enforcement options available to cities/towns on this matter?

    1. maybe giving people face masks? Because not everyone has access to one. Small groups are trying to make and distribute them because the need is so high

      1. Homemade (DIY) masks are very easy to do…google diy facemask…cotton t-shirts can be cut to size…bandanas, scarves, socks, wash cloths…still in my neighborhood which borders a river bikeway and walking path…it is very frustrating to see young and old folks out jogging, biking, walking in groups without any facemasks…it is understandable for the elderly (I am 72 years old) to have issues with obtaining or making their own masks…but what is the rationale for the rest of these folks…do they think that they are immune or are they just uninformed ??

        1. @Alfred: It may be because there is no convincing evidence for the effectiveness of face masks, see this summary of 31 published studies:
          That may be especially true for homemade masks. Another argument given by the national health agency in the Netherlands is that it may cause a sense of ‘fake protection’, making people less likely to stick to the 6 feet rule, which is more effective/important in terms of stopping the spread than wearing a mask. Finally, in some countries there is a shortage of supply, if the whole population rushes to buy masks, there may not be enough for the people who need them most – doctors and caregivers. I am not sure if this applies to MA.

    2. First, I have heard nothing yet to suggest I should not continue to leave face masks for those at most risk. So I don’t buy the masks sold at the corner store near the Cleveland Circle stop where the T worker might buy theirs perhaps. Instead I wear part of an old shirt as a bandana when I have to get groceries.

      For walking around, I thought that social distancing more important. I walk away from heavily frequented areas, in places like Webster Woods, and early when only a few people are out with dogs. I give people as much space as I can. The dogs I can’t help cause they know no better than to great me like an old friend. My make-do bandana is uncomfortable, so I don’t wear it out, figuring the benefit is minimal. Face masks I thought I read do little to protect you from the small aerosol particles. When I properly avoid people, which is generally possible walking outside, that’s what we’re talking about, not the large droplets that travel 6 to 10 feet and mostly drop to the ground.

      When I know I’ll be opposite a cashier that’s another story. Then I wear it. Last time shopping, though, I was concerned that the masks have given people a false sense of security. Many are much more blasé about close quarters now that they have their masks. Particularly concerning to me are some elderly people who get quite close. There was that observation from some hospital that masks among all staff seemed to have made a big difference, so perhaps they have some cause for confidence, but with the masks people wear, and their lack of training re. removing them, I wonder. I try to use the corner store instead of the supermarket whenever possible for this reason.

      What is the state of grocery home delivery now? I’m assuming it’s in short supply and should be left for those more at risk or who are sick.

        1. Definitely people should be wearing masks more often in public :if you are running or working out and there is 50’ between you and the next person then fine mask not needed but if you are running along the Charles on a sidewalk that is barely 4’ wide then you should be wearing a mask…..please !

      1. I use Pea Pod and was an existing customer. Getting a delivery spot is fairly stressful. You have to watch the site for several days before getting a lucky delivery slot 3 weeks in the future.

    3. I agree. My wife and I see every day younger people jogging, riding bicycles, walking on sidewalks with not masks, seemingly oblivious to their responsibility to help protect others by wearing adequate face masks.
      How can Mayor Walsh inspire all Bostonians to take on a sense that each of us is responsible for the health of others?
      Perhaps responsibility to others is not a concept among some of the young. Being out for just ourselves is Ayn Randish.

      1. I walk along the sidewalks a few days ago. I had to frequently step to driving lane to yield the young jogger. They just run into you with heavy breathing without a facial mask and any care of social distance. By the possibility, 10-30% of them are asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers. They are the top one thread to our public health safety.

    4. I am proud of NY and NJ Governors who have ordered residents to wear face masks in stores. As the number of cases and deaths rise in MA every day, I want Gov. Baker to enact that.

  2. I’m disappointed to see extreme displays of celebration when people leave the hospital with NO social distancing. Yesterday the news went on and on about a Boston Police Officer who was released from the hospital. There was a large crowd, people stood shoulder to shoulder, and many did not wear face coverings. People were hugging and touching. This happened at the hospital and then at what appeared to be a parade to his home and in his yard. I was utterly shocked… we need to learn to celebrate what is indeed a wonderful moment in ways that do not show literally the entire state watching the news that hey, when someone comes home from the hospital social distancing doesn’t matter! If it is important and emotional, social distancing STILL MATTERS. The media should be showing us how to celebrate in safe ways. And our police officers should be leading by example.

  3. My Dad, died from complications of Covid-19 and my sister also tested positive to the Coronavirus, both in a nursing home in Indy! So many people still believe the Corona Virus/CDC Guidelines are hyped up and protesting wanting to go back to work. I say, call me and I will give you information on how the Covid-19 Monster took my dad. I want all of us to post a photo of our lost love one with a red ribbon in our neighborhoods. May be then the disbelievers could see how many people have been personally affected in their neighborhoods. There are plenty of jobs needed to be filled in hospitals, too. My dad and sister are not just statics, they are my family!

    1. Kathleen I am so sorry for your loss. It woke be wonderful to create memory walls like the ones that sprang up in NYC after 9-11, even virtual ones.

  4. agree that too many people aren’t taking this issue seriously: hanging out in groups, no masks, no distancing and one even questioning it as a hoax since they know no one who has been affected/infected. That is key. Once in a grocery store, no way to limit contact. Senior hours can be pointless if it involves seniors having to arrive at the store before 6 AM, stand in line for half an hour or more to enter. Trying to ward us off?!
    Wonder if the US will ever recover from the massive increase in National Debt, unemployment, loss of businesses, plus loss of environmental protections and international reputation. Scarier than the virus in the long run!

  5. I answered “the balance is ok right now” but I’m very close to “people are still doing unsafe things.” I feel very under-informed most of the time.

    Here are my observations:
    1) people without masks or coming too close; runners, in particular, are doing this. Is it true that if everyone wore masks, we could be safer? How should I react to people who aren’t wearing one? Even rapid walking makes my breath heavy enough to make my mask damp, so I can see why runners don’t want to wear them. Is this just unpleasant, or dangerous? How far away should unmasked people really stay from me?
    *We need more guidance, more data, more effective masks.*

    2) one size doesn’t fit all. Busy streets with no shoulder and lined with apartment buildings and stores with no safe room to distance are not the same outdoor experience as suburban residential streets. I’d hate to see a “don’t go outdoors” order, but in some places it’s just not safe.
    *How do we support people’s needs and keep folks safe no matter where they live?*

    3) the burden that federal failure has placed on us is intolerable. I’d like to know more about inter-state cooperation.

    1. I completely agree with Kate. I also thought about checking “we have not done enough” – Runners especially are being very self-entitled, blowing past walkers with no regard for social distancing and the safety of the community as a whole. I have now seen Cambridge police at Fresh Pond, but they are not speaking to runners, none of whom, from what I can see, are wearing masks and running by people without leaving 6 feet between. I also see grocery store personnel without masks and not observing the 6-feet recommendation of space. I think wearing masks should be mandatory.

    2. I agree with Kate. Was also close to answering that “people are still doing unsafe things”. I feel that failure to follow the directives and advisories with regard to social distancing and wearing masks is disrespectful to the health care workers, first responders, grocery store workers and other similar essential workers who are putting their health and lives at risk to serve us.

    3. We especially need to know where all these new cases are coming from. I suspect the endless surge in cases and the resistance to getting completely serious about isolation are related.

    4. Masks for surgery and medical use were not made for jogging , running. I feel that if one is jogging /running and can’t wear a mask leave at least 10 feet or more from you to other person or work out at home if you can.

  6. Until there is a widely and easily available vaccine we will not be able to live safely without restrictions on contact with others. That’s at least a year away, probably more. Many carriers of the virus are asymptomatic. The virus itself is highly contagious. Anyone who suggests that it is safe to mingle with others, indoors or out, now or until we enjoy that individual protection, is speaking in the most irresponsible and reprehensible manner imaginable.

    1. Debra is so right; this Wufan virus is synomonous with booby trap, or surprise firing device (SFD). And it was no accident or random chance that it has spread throughout the entire world.

      1. Will’s comment reminds me that people who can’t pass a high school science course shouldn’t be getting high school diplomas in Mass.

  7. I think the restrictions we have are appropriate but not everyone is following them. I don’t know how you convince people. I am glad I live in Massachusetts where Governor Baker and his staff are clearly competent; I watch most of his briefings and feel good about them.

    1. You are absolutely correct about our leadership in Massachusetts. Clearly, non-partisan efforts by the governor and total consideration for the well-being of the citizens. Baker has extended his efforts to join a regional effort to slow the virus spread. Contrast that to Washington.

    2. He’s probably done a reasonable job, especially as the hour got later He’s just a leader, not a health care worker, so maybe a lot of what he’s done well is in how he carries himself.

      But there’s some self-delusional aspects to this praising of the fearless leader at times like this. People seem to have an emotional need to rally around a strong leader when they are afraid (a dangerous trend?). If Massachusetts’s leadership was so good, then why is it so much worse here than other districts? To a certain degree results must speak for themselves. When this is over there’ll be lots to look back on as postmortem (if you’ll excuse that word) I’m sure. With luck there won’t be another epidemic like it for a long time, but nonetheless we should look at what we did wrong and put down some kind of planning that can be pulled out the next time. A lot of this seemed pretty ad hoc.

  8. I agree that we should all be using masks when out in public and practising social distancing, I’m still seeing people without masks in grocery stores and at one nearby pizza restaurant.

  9. I agree with Debra Deutsch, though would add a few comments. First, there should be consistent messaging which the Federal Government is not providing. My trust is in most of the state governors who appear sincere, honest and transparent. Second, there must be a greater emphasis on testing. Until this is a nationwide, disciplined and systematic program there is no way of telling the spread of the disease as so many affected seem to be either asymptomatic or have mild and often undiagnosed symptoms. Third, it may come down to a quarantine for seniors as other areas of the society open up a bit. I can see kids going to school in the fall, but seniors being isolated until a vaccine is developed or an effective drug protocol is found. I’ll miss seeing my grandkids this year, which I believe is already a write-off. Multi-generational families will have to self-isolate as well, which means more economic help. NYC shows that density of population is a factor and, while the US is struggling, I believe that the virus will stay alive for years through the impact on third world countries. This will probably take a year. Finally, sane prophylactic measures are imperative: washing hands, face-masks, keeping a healthy life style, keeping physical distance, etc. Not much cost or effort and measurable impact.

  10. I feel like there has not been enough discussion/acknowledgement that certain industries might take years to get back to normal. This would have been my 12th year working in Tourism—I wonder if I will go back to work at all this year, regardless of when things “open back up”. I recently read in the Globe that 90% of all restaurant workers are out of a job, and only 30% of restaurants are expected to survive! I already lost a roommate who was laid off at his bartending job.

    What happens to folks like us, the non-WFH crowd, in a few months? Will we be granted UI extensions? Having a 6 month emergency fund is saving me right NOW, but I’m expecting to be out of a [my] job for a full year, maybe more.

    The more talk shifts slowly towards the future lifting of restrictions, the more worried I get that there isn’t a plan that includes people like me.

    1. While many people in public service industries (restaurants, salons, gyms, tourism, etc.) may not go back to their old positions or to ‘normal’ for a long time, there will be other jobs to fill, such as COVID contact tracers, public health dept assistants, etc. Maybe the state could consider developing and publicizing online training programs to help people transition into these jobs that will be needed? E.g., someone who worked in hospitality talking to people might be great at helping the state trace contacts for infected individuals. Post the upcoming job and training opportunities and let people develop the skills to fill them. Depending on the training level, once a person successfully completes the basic course(s), they might even receive a stipend or salary as they pursue and acquire additional training, or be accepted into an internship with the state leading to future employment.

      Also, set up a state or city scholarship fund for people who want to take college courses to add to their current skills set and make themselves more employable. Along with this, post information about types of jobs that are or will be needed. As an example, IBM is currently crying for COBOL programmers or folks willing to learn it, because so many state unemployment systems are still programmed in COBOL. Let citizens feel like they can do something to prepare themselves for a better future.

      1. Omg, you actually went there: “lEaRn too CoDE!!”

        Training is fine but enough of this neoliberal “structural unemployment” claptrap. There aren’t going to be enough contract tracing jobs to replace the entire restaurant industry.

        1. My first career was working as a registered nurse, and I did so for 20 years. I got hurt at work, through no fault of my own, and spent the next 4 years on surgeries and Workman’s Comp, living in a friend’s basement because I couldn’t afford rent. When my docs told me nursing was over, I started to look at how I could rebuild my life and support myself. Computers looked like an option with good employment and salaries, so yes, I learned to code. I’ve now been employed for 20 years, with good salary and benefits, in IT support.
          Grow up and cut the crap yourself, unless you’ve been there. Bad things happen, like losing your job or your ability to work in your chosen profession. You can make snarky comments, or have a pity party, or you can look around and figure out what you can do about it to get your life back. I happen to think service jobs will be slow coming back. If that’s the case, people will be a lot better off both financially and mentally if they do something constructive. Providing opportunities for that is a lot more useful than bitching.

          1. We do not have structural unemployment. You may need to look up what that is. A third of jobs will simply be gone. It doesn’t matter what people do to better themselves if the total number of jobseekers exceeds the total number of jobs by an order of magnitude.

        2. STEVEN appears to take delight in submitting negative comments. Are there any comments from STEVEN that are positive in nature?

  11. I am very concerned about the economic impact of the restrictions the state and city has put in place. While I think they are necessary, I think there needs to be more transparency about how we will actually manage the economic fallout in our communities. Similarly to another comment or , I feel fortunate to live in MA where we have a strong economy to begin with but I am concerned about increased unemployment, evictions, foreclosures, bankruptcies in the next few months – 1 year (and the greater social issues that will happen as a result) As we know , even with the best intentions from the federal and local levels with regard to stimulus packages and assistance for small businesses and individuals, people will still suffer from the economic impact of these restrictions. Additionally, as a nurse, I am concerned about the financial viability of local hospitals. Elective and money making procedures and visits are all reduced or cancelled for most local hospitals. While we have some incredibly financially strong hospitals (Partners in particular) we cannot ask them to continue in this way without ongoing assistance from federal and state government and the opportunity to open back up their more lucrative operations as soon as safely possible.
    Thank you for your thoughtful approach to these issues. I wish to be very clear that I do support ongoing physical distancing , masks for the public , and other measures that have been put in place such as school closures but hope that we can incorporate a phased approach of returning to work etc as soon as possible.

  12. While wearing a mask and gloves I did an unscientific count of people I saw on the streets of Brighton. Out of 42 pedestrians and bicyclists only 20 were wearing masks.

  13. There is lots of data to suggest that our behavior is making a positive effect to reduce the impact of the virus. We citizens are not the experts and we look to our governing healthcare authorities to provide guidance. Where are the rational minds in Washington? People are dying and families are struggling while the politicians are jockeying for position during an election year. Any way you look at it, their behavior is wrong and self-serving. Who has our backs? Who is watching out to make sure we’re ok?

  14. MA is doing better than most states in testing and also aid to residents. I think we need to develop ways to do social distancing that are sustainable over the longer term. We see high rates of infection in Suffolk County, a more densely populated area, and this is troubling. Creating more spaces for people to walk, sit, be outside homes that may be crowded or unsafe is important.

  15. I am alarmed that the small businesses without a longstanding banking relationship may go under because of the way the CARES Act was constructed. Could the Commonwealth step in and provide banks who apply for funding give grants of $10,000 each to small businesses in their area who missed out on the federal funding. Then local small businesses could apply for $9500, giving the bank $500 for administrative expenses. Businesses could establish a new banking relationship, and also pay the wages lost when the firm closed because of COVID-19. The state could also asks the feds for money so expended. The key is getting the relief funds out quickly.

    1. If only the tests were reliable and if “we” knew whether or not having antibodies prevents reinfection and for how long. As of now, neither of these is true, unfortunately.

  16. They restrictions need to start being eased. Maybe not everything at once but it needs to start happening immediately. I do take this virus seriously and people should wear masks in places where restrictions are lifted as a precaution.

    1. Dude we are STILL SURGING. It would be tragic yet also hilarious to see what the economy would look like if all the “Liberation” Karens were free to go get their roots done immediately. The second wave of infections would dwarf the first, and the financial system would collapse.

      1. One fact that stands out, STEVEN seems to delight in negative comments. Shameful.

  17. I understand the need for the social distancing restrictions, and my entire family and I are honoring them. (Our family voluntarily began social isolation earlier than most, because my husband attended a bio-tech conference. None of us developed symptoms, but Covid-19 can be asymptomatic.)
    At the same time, I am deeply concerned about the costs of those restrictions and whether we are in fact taking the right approach. We know so little about this virus (my sister is a nurse practitioner involved in current epidemological studies, and the variability of the virus is mind-boggling), so we are gathering information in real time while making our best educated guesses about how to proceed. Do masks and gloves help protect all of us against the virus? I have no idea, but I am willing to wear them in the hope that they do. I support scientific evidence, and I support sound public policy, but we are definitely lacking enough of the former, and I’m not convinced we are succeeding in the latter. As I look at the collective devastation caused by social isolation (domestic abuse, mental health, suicide, overdoses, hunger, lost education, postponement of necessary medical treatment, lost employment, lost small businesses, lost town centers, general economic devastation, loss of tax revenue to support public services, worldwide famine), I crave reassurance that our public leaders are taking all of this into account and calibrating our approach accordingly. The awful short-term cost of the virus is obvious–death! It would be helpful to hear more discussion (rational, science-based) of the long-term costs of our current actions, which could include even more death. Sweden may be an outlier (allowing greater social interaction while trying to protect vulnerable populations), and maybe their current approach is wrong-headed, but we should keep an open mind and learn from their experience (for good or ill) as we try to figure out this new normal. Perhaps this is a plea for long-term decision-making based on scientific facts as opposed to a reactionary response to the imminent crisis. We face a range of bad options. Maybe the best we can do is pick the least bad set of options.

    1. Thank you for these comments. I too wonder if we are making sound policy decisions and whether we will go too far with our shut down. I question whether policy makers are truly able to make sound decisions when the cost of these decisions are abstract, invisible (E.g. increased depression and domestic violence) or long term vs benefits that are quantifiable in the short run. In short, yes we are saving lives today but how many will be permanently dimmed if we don’t start easing restrictions on some activities soon.

    2. Sweden has twice the death rate of its neighbors. Last week it had to withdraw and revise its statistics upward after tooting its horn shout its supposedly superior approach. Quite an embarrassment.

  18. Senator, I appreciate all you do to keep us informed. Thank you.
    Gov Baker is doing a good job, too, but I don’t understand why, at this time when purchasing masks doesn’t compete with medical providers getting what they need, wearing a mask outdoors is not mandatory. I’m not in favor of gov’t telling us how to live, but clearly there are people out there who don’t get it or are so self referenced, they don’t think of others.
    So we have to rely on the gov’t to step in. We are two seniors who wear masks every time we head outdoors, protecting those around us. But non-mask wearers aren’t thinking of and protecting us. So sad, frustrating and scary. I also wish the gov had issued a shelter in place a few weeks ago. It would be over by now and hopefully the data would be less scary. I know Gov Baker is doing the best he can in this horrific pandemic, but sadly, one cannot assume everyone sees their responsibility to others.

  19. While I think the state and many cities have stepped up to ramp up physical distancing guidance and supportive policies to protect our more vulnerable populations, I am very concerned that protections for essential workers seem to be at the discretion of the business owner. There has been lots of discussion about how different grocery stores are managing customer flow, how digilent about enforcing physical distancing they have been, and their efforts to keep stores clean. Our Star Market in Belmont lost one of their workers to C19, and there have been concerns that the store didn’t do enough to keep its workers and customers safe. Comparatively, stores like Trader Joe’s have been lauded for being very diligent about managing physical distancing and keeping customers and workers safe. Finally, I am also noticing great variation in food businesses that offer takeout, with some being very diligent about supplying their staff with masks and gloves, and taking care of their packaging of food. It seems like there needs to be even stronger guidance to both of these essential service sectors, so that their workers, who are most vulnerable are protected, and so that we tighten potential vectors for contagion, and support with providing or brokering at low cost, the protective supplies that they also need to make that possible.

  20. I’m an entertainment industry worker. The effects of this virus are going to last a lot longer for our industry than some others. Some people in other industries will be back to work before it’s deemed safe to put thousands of people in a theater downtown again. I’m doing okay now, but I don’t know what’s going to happen 16 weeks from now when unemployment runs out and we still can’t have a gathering of thousands of people. Hopefully some movies take advantage of the tax break, that you were so against that now might be a saving grace for many in our industry.
    While its great that unemployment is giving us a portion of what we made, our retirements are taking a hit, our health insurance is getting cut off from our employers, and the list goes on. No one is talking about that on the government level. We need to consider doing something about these outrageous rent and mortgage payments that we need to pay while unemployed, too.

  21. Although wearing masks with glasses makes seeing difficult due to fogging, it’s imperative.
    I and others hate seeing used gloves strewn about in grocery parking lots and on streets. Let’s not litter!
    Many Families I work with whom we called mid march and said were fine, are now struggling this month, in order: lost jobs and income, concern about being able to pay rent, availability of diapers, wipes, bleach and other disinfectants, let alone masks, food insecurity ( despite wonderful food banks and distribution centers with dedicated staff, Because of closing early and food shortages at end of week ( pay day), Home schooling, & concern about elderly parents, fear of future.
    Tnx for taking the time to ask.
    Like the other respondent, I’m grateful to be in a state where our governor and mayor are aligned in much of what they say, are measured prudent and proactive. It’s reassuring to listen to Baker each day on npr. Cudos to collaborative efforts by our elected officials, including our newest Brighton city councilor, on behalf of all of us.
    I’m as concerned about the economy as those who want us all to return to work yesterday, and understand the fears, the need of many in families to just get out of the house and feel productive again, concerns about domestic violence and subtle child abuse or neglect as parents lose their ability to keep things together. However, without a plan, that can’t happen. It’s not safe and the time is not yet! we need to continue to check in on our neighbors and make sure they have what they need if we are able to shop.
    Shout out to volunteer neighbor groups in Newton and Allston Brighton who make sure single parents or folks who either can’t go out or have no funds for food shop for others, cook for others and deliver food to neighbors. I feel so blessed to be part of such a caring community!

  22. There seems to be a consistent concern voiced in most of these comments: masks are not being worn by all. I can add that particularly with some of our younger neighbors, there seems to be a bit of disdain that older walkers move off the paths to maintain social distance and wear masks. More education seems to be needed. I suggest that you urge town officials to check with Belmont’s CA counterpart, the City of Belmont, which has issued a very clear and rational statement of reasons why all citizens must wear masks when they are outside.

  23. The pandemic is really 2 things: a medical crisis (which the survey addresses, and to which Mass. has responded rigorously), and an economic and social crisis (where the prognosis is far less clear). Relief measures–unemployment benefits, food assistance, free medical testing–are in place, with effectiveness hard to measure, but what about the structural changes this crisis points to? Our evolving job markets are leaving thousands/millions outside the safety net. The ethnic and racial disparities among Covid sufferers are a disgrace, not to mention the need to compensate for hateful anti-immigrant measures at the federal level. With all the talk of reopening the economy we need to be actively planning to open a new decarbonizing economy with very different wage and social supports to reverse the appalling inequalities this pandemic has brought to light.

  24. I am working at Tufts Medical Center and it seems the hospital is well prepared for the virus. Overall, I’ve been impressed with everybody’s response to the virus both in the community and the hospital. I think there is certainly room for improvement in terms of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. But I think giving ourselves some credit in adapting so quickly to such extreme circumstances is also ok.

  25. The two grocery stores I visited in Brookline required masks and was being enforced.

    But in another town, I went to a mega store to grocery shop one evening when there were few shoppers. As I entered, one unmasked person in front of me sneezed and the other unmasked person coughed as they entered the store. Wear a mask!

    The mandatory face mask law in Brookline is not being followed by many people.

  26. I am lucky enough to have one job I can do from home, but I have a second job that I can’t do where my hours are being cut and I may not get paid at all after May is over. I am afraid of what the summer may bring and desperately afraid of losing my WFH job because then I would not be able to pay my bills at all and would have to depend on distant relatives and take a job that required more exposure to the virus. I am ok now but very stressed out about how the rest of the year will go. I feel grateful that we have one of the few Republican governors who is behaving reasonably. If I lose my health care it will be all over for me and I could end up in a nursing facility where the virus runs rampant. It is a very scary time.

  27. I’m also concerned about many who seem not to take it seriously.
    Also worried about uninsured, those who need food and income, and whether we as a state and country are willing to be more humane as other capitalist democratic wealthy countries are. Baker should stop refusing to commute, pardon or otherwise release rehabilitated prisoners.

  28. Everyone working in or entering a store, restaurant, and other indoor spaces should wear a mask and ALSO maintain distance. Disposable masks should be available at entrances for those who do not have them. I have family members who work in restaurants. Customers coming in for takeout do not always behave safely and workers are trapped. This is a far more serious issue than people unmasked outdoors.

    In the short term, I worry about the most vulnerable: the hungry, the homeless, those without the money to get by, without support or safety net. Large families in cramped quarters, and those in unsafe living situations.

    Longer term, I worry about the emotional impact on all of us. We will eventually adjust to new ways of doing things, but how do you adapt to a whole society unable to see or hug family members? My parents are 90. All of us have family, friends, romantic partners we cannot be with. This is what we have to do, so of course we do it. But realistically, how long can this be sustained?

  29. This moment will go down in history as the moment when the world collectively lost its mind to panic and fear. More and more data are coming out suggesting this virus has been around much longer than we thought, that more people have it then we realize and thus the mortality rate is much lower than what is currently reported. We also know that there is a subset of the population most vulnerable (elderly WITH underlying medical conditions) yet we have passed wide-sweeping draconian policies whose effects will be far more damaging than that of the virus. The UN estimates over 130 MILLION people will die of hunger because of the economic downturn brought on by these ridiculous lockdown policies. We need to open the economy now. Place restrictions on visits to nursing homes (from where a significant number of the deaths in have originated), encourage people to social distance from those most at risk, encourage private businesses to keep offering special shopping hours for those at risk, etc. There is a middle ground solution that will prevent deaths, build the herd immunity, and won’t send millions of people into poverty, mental health crises, etc. We pride ourselves on data driven decision making and yet we seem to be ignoring all the data that suggests this virus is not as dangerous as we thought and no one is thinking of the trade-offs to these policies. Open the schools. Get America back to work. Let’s not destroy this great nation by cowering in fear!

    1. “We pride ourselves on data driven decision making and yet we seem to be ignoring all the data that suggests this virus is not as dangerous as we thought and no one is thinking of the trade-offs to these policies.”…
      With all due respect, Silvia, could you quote your source or sources for your quoted statement re; “this virus is not as dangerous..”

      1. Hi Alfred. Thanks for asking. Here are a few:
        1) Article referencing Stanford Study:
        2) Link to the actual study:
        And while I acknowledge there is debate about the sampling methods of this study; similar studies have been conducted with similar results. A few examples across the globe and even here in MA:
        Some of the authors draw different conclusions but what I gather is that by all measures, the infection rate is significantly higher than we originally suspected and thus the mortality rate lower.

      2. part 2 of 3 of my reply (can’t post all in one!)
        And speaking of the mortality rate, it’s painfully obvious there is a small subset of people most at risk (elderly, pre-existing conditions) yet all of our policies are broad-sweeping? I believe specific targeted policies are better at addressing the problem and do less harm than broad-sweeping policies.
        1) CDC mortality:
        2) Half the deaths in Europe in nursing homes:
        I am most frustrated though that we aren’t discussing the trade-offs. Even if my conclusions about the infection rates are incorrect, I ask, which is worse? The lives lost due to coronavirus or the lives and livelihoods lost due to our efforts to combat it? What is the point of trying to save lives if our actions will result in just as many deaths and poverty on a scale we haven’t seen since the Great Depression?
        For example, the UN estimates over 130 million people could die from hunger as a result of the economic fallout from all these lockdowns:

        1. part 3!
          We should be discussing this but we aren’t for some reason. The minute someone says let’s open the economy, the social shaming and bullying that happens to that person in the media and online is quite alarming.
          Anyway, thanks for responding. I think it’s only fair that since you asked to see my sources I should ask the same of you? I genuinely want to understand what you are reading that has you convinced keeping the economy and schools closed is worth 26 million Americans (and counting) losing their jobs.

      1. As you can see, none of my sources have come from Fox News. And so what if they did? I think to have an informed opinion it’s important to consume information across all channels, otherwise we risk dooming ourselves to living in tiny bubbles and echo chambers and end up responding to people’s attempts at open and civil debate with flippant remarks that do nothing but display our intolerance and narrow-mindedness. Hey, but you do you.

        1. “As you can see”? You don’t seem to have provided any sources, so I’m not sure what you think we can see. Am I missing something? Can you clarify?

          “it’s important to consume information across all channels” It’s not important to consume information from propaganda networks except to be aware of the propaganda that’s being spread. Outlets like Fox News and OANN are propaganda networks. Nothing they say can or should be taken seriously but people interested in the truth.

          1. Haha, my original response didn’t post. I had to break it up into multiple parts.
            Again, you call this propaganda simply because you disagree with what’s being said.
            Propaganda: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
            This is true for pretty much all media. Let’s be honest. CNN, Washington Post, NBC, FoxNews, NewYork Times, etc. Hence why I try to consume media across multiple channels. It’s all spin.
            You honestly want to tell me you think CNN isn’t trying to promote a certain cause?
            But let’s not get lost in that argument. As you can see (haha and for real this time since my stuff actually posted), none of my sources come from FN. So please take a read and share yours as well. Thanks!

            1. I’m sorry, but if you put Fox in the same bucket as CNN, the Washington Post, NBC, and the New York Times, then I am not going to waste my time discussing anything further with you.

              I believe in being open-minded, but not so much that my brains fall out.

      2. STEVEN, I believe that unless you can contribute something positive in lieu of consistently attacking other comments, perhaps you should be censored from participating in this survey.

  30. I think that we should be paying much more attention to South Korea and Germany, where transparency and seriousness seem to be prevailing.
    You are doing a great job, Senator, and I appreciate the seriousness of the Governor, but there needs to be much more agressive pushback against the «  anti- leader » of a president we have. Cuomo is setting a good tone.

  31. I still don’t feel safe in my work environment (hospital) due to limited PPE, however I also feel even more that the economic landscape is impacting many friends and family members. I wonder if we could also use this time to have construction workers resume their work across the state. For example, the MBTA, roads in Newton and Brighton, as well as other projects that already involve social distancing and usually impact commutes and people’s day to day life as it is.

  32. We have elders in our lives who are still going out to stores unnecessarily, multiple times a week, just to get out. We’ve tried to organize deliveries for them, but they insist on hitting all the stores, instead. We have young people regularly trying to organize “social distancing parties”, which are essentially what they sound like; a group of people, yelling, trying to keep themselves and sometimes their kids, away from one another. It’s absurd, and it’s frightening. My partner and I understand how scared and bored people can become, but this isn’t cool. I am young(er) but I have an autoimmune disease, and we were early to distancing – we haven’t seen anyone in over 2 months. Granted, we’ve been able to organize grocery deliveries, something not all folks have been able to manage.

    In my neighborhood in Brighton, out on walks, I mostly end up walking in the street, because the sidewalks are congested and some able-bodied people don’t seem interested in switching sides of the street, traffic allowing. Only approximately half the people I see walking are wearing masks. Runners and cyclists don’t seem to be wearing them at all, in my observations. As a human with an autoimmune disease, your mask says to me that you care about your family, and mine, and I appreciate it. It’s a sign of solidarity, and a reminder to observe the seriousness of what we’re all experiencing, right now. I’m trying to remain open-minded, but folks not wearing masks feels offensive to me.

    Thanks for the community space to share impressions. Safety and good health to all of you.

  33. Herd immunity occurs when around 60% of the population has developed individual immunity, either by surviving infection or being vaccinated. Until that occurs, the infection will continue to spread, especially until there is some kind of treatment. We are now officially at around 0.7% of the population with positive test results, but possibly significantly more untested people have been infected. There is a long way to go yet before the we have come into balance with the new virus. Until there is a treatment, or effective testing and contact tracing, there is really no alternative to continued social distancing.

    1. That percentage may apply to some infections, but not all. For measles it’s 90-95%, and things could get a lot worse if people assume we have herd immunity before we do.

      I agree with your conclusion, that it’s way too soon to change what we’re doing. I’m just concerned that if we get close to 60% people will assume that it’s safe to drop our precautions.

  34. Everybody in Boston should be required to wear masks. There are many walking and running in Back Bay and by the Charles, many without masks. In order for all of us to be safe we all have to wear masks not just some of us. Other states have required that all wear masks outdoors and I think that we should be doing the same, particularly for the safety of the most vulnerable.

  35. My “still doing unsafe things” is a weak response. What I’ve seen hasn’t been terrible, but I do think we’re finding social distancing very hard. I work at a downtown hospital, and even mask to mask with the disease, it’s hard to remember, and to keep following through. I think we should be compassionate with ourselves & each other for our weakness. I have been very impressed by Gov. Baker’s intelligent and thoughtful briefings, and I’m a liberal Democrat.

  36. I take walks at the park with my mask on. I don’t understand why people walk three abreast in the walkways with no masks on! Do we need more public education or is that just selfish disregard for others?

  37. I think I understand Chelsea to be a hotspot of Covid-19 infections. Might it make sense to lock down Chelsea in order to tame the spreading of the virus by the many important workers coming from Chelsea (important in the sense of filling underpaid and mostly under-appreciated essential services for the rest of us)?

  38. In a telephone conversation with our municipal police department about the daily incident log, I learned the following. Justifiably, not reported publicly are incidents of child abuse, sexual assault, and violence in the home, to name some. More particularly, I asked what trends were suggested in all reported incidents. For example, I asked about hunger and child access to WiFi for school. There was no answer. In person, as we used to ask questions, I would have seen a blank stare. All that money and training, and very little information in return. I do not think this a one municipal problem.

  39. I am a Cambridge resident and see that people are not wearing masks in sufficient numbers. This is an obligation of good citizenship.
    If people don’t comply, I think this preventative technique should be enforced.
    When possible, distribution of N-95 masks to the public might convince more people to wear them.
    I don’t think people have faith in the “bandido” look.

  40. Agree with all comments re lack of persons wearing masks. Shocking. Also wondering how to get a safe haircut from 6 ft. apart?? Those of us who presently are not having a grave financial issue have a special obligation to donate to others i.e. food banks, etc. Also don’t forget Friday’s at 7pm as a thank you. Clap, cheer, bang on a pot??

  41. I’m disappointed in how many people seem to be disregarding the safety precautions, and horrified at some
    specific cases. I went to Costco in Waltham, and found several cashiers and a person at the customer service desk not wearing masks. These people are facing hundreds of people a day, and handling their carts and items. I went to the manager, who was overseeing the entrance, and he wasn’t wearing a mask either. When I said all the customer facing employees and he should be wearing masks, he said “So?”, like he didn’t care, and didn’t believe that. Many of the employees were wearing masks, which I appreciate, but management is setting a bad tone, in not requiring it.

    This isn’t just naive, it’s dangerous. Doesn’t he realize that with the hundreds of customers walking by him, he could pick up the virus in an instant, and then pass it on to all the rest? With all those people in line, you know that many have the virus, undiagnosed.

    The state should make it mandatory, with punishments for infractions, that all employees dealing with customers should wear masks, because voluntary compliance doesn’t work for some people.

  42. I am concerned about the disproportionate effect of the virus on Chelsea and other areas which are predominantly people of color and lower income. I do not believe there is enough discussion about this fact, and not enough discussion about how we can address this problem.

  43. I think we certainly need to strike a balance between economic devastation and controlling the public health response. The point in “flattening the curve” is not to prevent everyone from getting infected, as that may be impossible. We don’t know enough about how many people are asymptomatic carriers, whether recovered people are immune, whether/how the virus is mutating, and whether a vaccine would be effective if there’s a different strain of the virus every year like the flu. I would like to see the economy gradually re-open with some restrictions, as we are seeing in Europe. Again, we simply can’t keep the economy shut down forever, and the people who think we can go on like this or even impose further restrictions need to check their privilege. We live in one of the wealthiest parts of the country, but we live in a country where 50% of people don’t have $400 in an emergency, and the federal government cannot just continue to borrow because we may want to protect everyone. Again, the point of keeping businesses closed is to flatten the curve so that the hospitals don’t get too overwhelmed and so there aren’t equipment shortages. If we didn’t have a corrupt profit-driven medical system, and if Americans didn’t have obscene rates of preventable disease, we would be more resilient against this virus. I’m very curious to see what happens with Sweden’s approach. You can’t judge a country or state’s response by the overall number of cases or even the rate of death because the statistics are not comparing apples to apples.

  44. Figuring out how local businesses can survive this situation is immediately important as it is now clear that we cannot rely on the federal government. Similarly, finding ways to reduce pressure on renters and the basic income needs of landlords to fulfill financial obligations in ways that doesn’t exacerbate or introduce further economic and social inequity. Having renters pay their full rents while their incomes may be compromised and while access to housing courts is minimal, is simply unsustainable. Boston is one of the most educated cities on earth, and regularly produces thought leaders and innovation in innumerable disciplines. State and local government leadership must be coordinated in conjunction with the wealth of knowledge and expertise within the state, as well as the actual wealth, to produce action that protects not only the most financially insulated from disaster, but the most vulnerable.

  45. Open the economy will save livelihood, wearing face masks and social distancing will save lives. We need a micro plan from government to lead the country forward. We can start it at the local level. If the sidewalk on metropolis streets are disinfected regularly at curfew hours, pedestrians will feel safe while passing by each other even some forget their face masks which are hard to find. Government should provide lists where people can buy them if they cannot make them.

  46. “The balance is right” got my vote, but like others, I almost went with “People are still doing unsafe things.” Any business that is open needs to be inspected to ensure that they have a system to ensure distancing, and staff are provided with masks and gloves. Unless there is some monitoring, too many enterprises will not do what they should. Cities and towns have health and building inspectors that could do the inspections. My experience in Brighton, on walks along residential side streets, is that most people are following the rules. Not everyone has a mask, but they do move to the street if someone else comes along. I am very worried about the residents and staff of nursing homes and similar residential care centers. The state needs to do a better job of monitoring those facilities. I agree with the suggestion above about allowing some construction to resume. There will never be a less disruptive time to do road repairs.

  47. I agree with the observations that a significant proportion of people are not wearing masks and they should, even though these masks do not provide 100% protection. As a general comment we need to develop a culture with a more balanced set of attitudes about defending and exercising our rights as individuals (freedom to do what we want, usually presented as being constitutionally guaranteed) with attention to the common or public good and the obligation (rights without obligations is an indefensible position) not to take actions or behave in ways that harm others or put them at significant risk of harm. By not wearing a mask you increase the risk that someone else may catch coronavirus.
    The US is not an “exceptional” society that is setting the standard for the rest of the world in all important respects. Today we are lamentably deficient in areas that affect the lives of all humans. At this point in history we have much to learn from some other democracies, including those which would not be where they are today (economically, socially and in terms of their governance) without having received substantial help from the US in the past, for example Germany, and in Asia South Korea and Taiwan. We can and should acknowledge the valuable lessons we can apply from their experiences, even if there are other aspects of their polities and societies which we would prefer not to emulate. They are quite rightly appalled by the disgraceful, incompetent, insensitive, disruptive, and ill-informed as well as often viciously and selfishly motivated actions being pursued by our elected leaders in the highest positions of power, including the President, Senate Majority leader and other morally bankrupt and soulless individuals in DC and some state houses. But it is also apparent to them that the underlying problems and dangerous fissures they perceive in the US, which in the Covid-19 era have become unmistakably obvious to even the least well informed, are not merely phenomena of the current Administration or the Republican party. They are deeply embedded in powerful institutions, laws and practices and beliefs among a sizable number of Americans which have grown over several decades and become deeply ingrained in their daily experiences, expectations, and most disturbingly fears. If we do not create a new and different normal once the current crisis is brought under control (even if not completely) then we will be even more vulnerable to future crises which will inevitably arise. In this scenario, which is I hope not inevitable, the shriveling of the US for many who live here as well as its reputation and ability to exert a positive influence within the world for our own benefit as well as the rest of humankind will proceed apace.

  48. Thanks, Senator, for all you do to help us stay connected and informed! I almost selected that we’re not doing enough because, as others have mentioned, people are walking very close on the sidewalks and sometimes runners are sneaking up from behind. I am a runner myself and either cross the street or go into the road or bike lanes whenever possible (if not possible, I just stop running and wait until it is) and maybe we can think about closing off certain roads to “local traffic only” to make more space for pedestrians
    in tighter areas since there’s less traffic in general. I think this is a good idea also because cars are tending to exceed the speed limit in a lot of places making it less safe for pedestrians too.
    Although I agree with wearing masks, I want to caution that wearing masks can give people a false sense of security and that they still need to maintain a 6ft distance. Some people do not maintain distance while wearing masks. Also it can be difficult when children come too close or other dogs are off leash and want to interact. Parks and hiking spots have been super crowded on weekends as well, so although I love that they’re still open because of the stress relief from being in nature (which is definitely needed at this time), I’m trying to avoid those places on weekends.
    I have been lucky enough to get groceries delivered, but I hope others are using distancing practices indoors too and avoiding going into stores whenever possible. I have family and friends down south and their experience has been totally different, with many still working outside of the home and not wearing masks out in public. I wonder if it’s a result of less population density and they don’t need to be as cautious or if they’re not taking it seriously enough. If it is the latter, I hope it doesn’t affect the length of which we all need to social distance. I do hope we have a gradual opening of schools and businesses soon when it is safe enough to do so, maybe requiring masks and 6 feet distance and elders staying at home at first, until we can either develop immunization or herd immunity. I feel for those economically impacted as well as those medically impacted.
    Also, we need more supplies to medical workers who are very vulnerable due to virus exposure and job burnout, and love the Boston Globe initiative to donate restaurant meals to medical workers. It’s a win-win for the restaurant and medical communities and I’d love to see more initiatives like this!

  49. I absolutely concur re: masks being mandatory in certain situations. It’s a no-brainer. As some are probably aware, an elderly woman employed at Star Market in Belmont recently died of Covid-19. Yet, I still see [young] people walking into the store without them!? Unacceptable. I have dual citizenship in the Czech Republic. They clamped down hard and early on mandatory masks outside of the home. Everyone works together and is on the same page with this (skinheads to progressives), unlike in the U.S. Now, they are slowly opening up (presumably because such measures are working). I wouldn’t go as far as that, i.e. “outside your house”, but for places like grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies.. mask use is commonsense.

  50. I agree with you, Will, that we need to maintain and improve our social distancing efforts. I am not sure how we get there, particularly in neighborhoods where I work where I see a fair percentage of men of many different ages, ethnicities, races, not wearing face masks. By contrast almost all the women I see in the neighborhoods are social distancing and wearing masks, unless they’re young and white. So, I don’t know how we make this social distancing and stay at home necessity more effective.
    I run a youth program and my staff now work remotely connecting with youth virtually. Still, we deliver food bags to families and neighbors once a week and I give my staff kudos, they all mask up for shopping and filling the bags, then call the families and make curbside deliveries.
    For the future–in the survey, I checked that after a long period inside, we will get back to normal–but I actually think, it will not really be normal–we will have this fear for a couple of years, and then need to be adaptable enough to go back to social distancing when something like this hits us again. If only we could also use this time to figure out how to maintain some of the positive changes that have come from social distancing–cleaner air, calmer streets, local supply chains and food, businesses (some) concentrating on doing good, understanding community responsibility and interconnectedness rather than just going after profit…

  51. Thank you Senator Brownsberger for all that you do. I do see people in the street and customers in stores wearing masks for the most part. My concern is with the employees. I was in Target in the Fenway this week and the employees were not wearing masks. I have seen this in some supermarkets too. I think mask wearing should be mandatory for both employees and customers.

    1. That is a problem. Some supermarket employees (not that many) do not care about making their nose and keeping social distance. Lack of proper hygiene education is the key issue.

  52. Dr. Fauci did not recommend masks for all at first. Then he did (not sure of date) and added that they protect others from whatever you are exhaling. Now they are a big deal. Okay, but why weren’t we told that at first. I like to walk and look for places where passing someone in the fresh air it is still possible to maintain 6 ft. distance as recommended. I always wear one in supermarket , drug store etc.

  53. I answered ‘balance right’, given the choice — but my views and the situation are more complex. More outreach and education are needed to improve compliance. Perhaps a larger group than pure ‘contact tracers’ might be employed, or volunteer, to do this, distributing masks and explaining the reasons for their use. Outside supermarket entrances would be good places — where people are anyway lined up. And online modules for students in online education. But there is also overreach, such as Waltham’s closing of parks, which include areas much less crowded than city streets and easier to practice distancing in. And increasing ‘stay home’ and ‘shelter in place’ messaging will reduce compliance and be long-term unsustainable. Distributing masks and educating in their use when needed (NOT always when outside one’s door, but in crowded outdoor and all public indoor places) seems right. More and more unreasonable restrictions will lead to less
    compliance and less success.

  54. Testing, testing, testing! It looks like Massachusetts is starting to turn the corner, but what little testing we are doing is still turning up way too many positives.

    1. And Contact tracing! Widespread testing has much less benefit unless we trace the contacts of those who test positive and then isolate those people, etc.

  55. It would help me to have more of a sense of what the “new normal” might be.

  56. I was sent a photo from the 1918 epidemic with people with signs
    saying: “Wear a mask or go to jail!”
    I personally like the idea. I wear one to protect you, thank you.

  57. Despite daily news of how bad the crisis is in Mass., many people in Belmont are not following recommendations. I don’t think the message has penetrated that even relatively small amounts of “cheating” can have large implications for the infection rate. There needs to be clearer messaging — and orders — from the Governor about wearing masks and maintaining our “bubbles.” I also don’t think people understand that each of us is potentially a source of infection, even if we’re not sick.

  58. Dr Fauci was right when he first said Covid19 was just another “seasonal flu”. I don’t know why he changed his opinion to “Covid19 is the worst disease since the dark ages”.

  59. Encapsulating the comments contained herein, the undisciplined lack of mask wearing is unacceptable; it must be mandatory. A concerted effort might help in providing means of learning and entertainment via internet/facebook for both children, teenagers and adults; Zoom and Face-timing are excellent tools. (Binge watching Netflix can get olde!) Organizing drive bys for special occasions could be something community leaders might step up to lead. Watertown cancelled the annual Memorial Day parade; it could have been conducted as a Drive-By, no one watching from the sidelines but everyone safely enclosed in a motor vehicle (think out side of the box). We have four adult children 11 grand children and one newbie great grand son; we observed via Zoom one of our granddaughters get married at Payson Park Church in order to make things legal in the event of an unlikely tragedy; formal wedding, hopefully, scheduled for November w/reception at the Oakely Country Club. (I included that in order to have folks smile at some good news during this pandemic) I have another granddaugther, a RN, working in the cornorary ward at St Anne’s Hospital in Taunton, and volunteers for caring f/Wufan Virus patients at Morton Hospital in Fall River – she is too tired to talk to us for any meaningful length of time, lives alone. Of our 4 children, 2 go off to work ea day; 1 works at home; 1 shelters in place; 1 son-in-law goes off to work; 2 daughters-in-law work at home. My wife and I shelter in place, I was laid off 27 March, but have a Marine Corps pension and we both receive Social Security: I walk daily the 3.5 miles around the Charles River from Watertown Sq along Nanamtum Rd over the Brighton Bridge and along No. Beacon Rd to Watertown Sq; most walkers and runners wear face masks, but too many do not. Sidewalks are too narrow to maintain the recommended 6 feet separation (estimate that I encounter about 6 – 12 others, depending on time of day and weather conditions). I will soon be 85, my wife will soon be 78; while we do not have any financial concerns, we are concerned for the Nation’s economy and our security from without. I believe that health concerns, while critical, must now take second place to economic concerns. We live in a dangerous world; there are several well armed protagonists currently probing our vulnerabilities, and one in particular needs to be confronted in a most meaningful manner, in strong terms, and let the chips fall where they may…………………. or be content with being a subservient Nation under the heel of a merciless adversary. Any Nation that possessed knowledge of a dangerous, highly contageous virus, concealing that knowledge, and releasing thousands of its citizens to travel throughout the world, meanwhile buying up protective equipment and materials is no friend to humanity at large, and must be dealt with in appropriate form. What has happened is actually much worse than Pearl Harbor, just not as dramatic; so far the near 60 thousand dead Americans will most certainly increase, with no end in sight. No Nation should be allowed to skate free from that kind of responsiblity. I understand that folks want to just concentrate on immediate survival from this awful pandemic; waiting around before meaningful action is taken is an invitation to defeat.

  60. I am very concerned that those in jails and prison and those who work there are going to get infected an bring that infection back to the community at large. There seems to be extreme resistance on behalf of the DOC, sheriffs, the commissioner, the secretary of EOPS, the parole board and the governor to releasing prisoners. They constantly refer to prisoners convicted of violent offenses as violent, assuming that we like them believe that “criminals” don’t change like other people and even many years later are unreformed. Immediate release of a large number of prisoners is needed both for their health and safety (for which we have made the prisons and jails responsible) and for the health of the wider community. Remember there is a constant traffic of officers and other staff in and out of prisons.

    1. I agree. Business as usual in the jails/prisons means it’s a mandatory COVID infection. That’s (ahem) not a usual punishment, and it’s cruel.

  61. We’ve been hamstrung from the start due to our failure to institute contact tracing and testing. We had ample time to begin that process at our Airports and other points of entry.

    And so, we have been operating from an incomplete picture of the viral spread. It follows, that we’ve had a flawed response since the start. All of our decisions, assessments, measures, etc have all been based on flawed assumptions. Thus, everything we hear and do, or have done, is speculation based.

    The Northeastern University model is closet to reality. It stands in stark contrast to the state’s “confirmed cases” model, and is therefore, a false narrative. In brief, our ‘official’ 1st confirmed case, was actually 2,300. Long before ever hearing of the NEU model, the assumptions it proposes is a lot closer to the way I have been making my own decisions and assessments. Only this week are we finally getting a glimpse at some higher numbers, and that’s only a result of increased testing, but still, these ‘official’ numbers are still not being publicized along side the predictive modeling numbers. There’s a lot of talk among those commenting here, about the lack of public compliance and seriousness folks displaying toward this threat. As there should be, since they keep hearing how few cases there are. If you want compliance, they public needs to hear about the projected models for what kind of numbers are REALLY out there, not just “confirmed”. Publicizing the “confirmed” numbers, isn’t helping, it’s just simply misleading.

    Let’s face facts, the dam has broken, it’s past the point to prevent the flood. We’re stuck now in an extended cycle of damage control, instead having to chase the flood waters where they lead us, until some hopeful point, perhaps a year from now, if the water recedes, visa-vi a vaccine.

    Until then, were saddled by these desperate, broad, imprecise, widespread isolation measures. Why, because it’s spreading at a rate far faster than our capacity to test and track. If we can miraculously ramp up and deploy a massive, testing campaign? Well, maybe, just maybe, we can become more targeted, if not, we’re in for a VERY LONG state of hibernation.

  62. I would like to know if the state will allow businesses have enforceable Mask to enter rules and be masked to walk around requirements after the lock down is lifted. And if the state will allow businesses to refuse service for non mask wearers and law enforcement fine non mask wearers walking around? It seems that compliance with masking rules goes way up if there is a consequence for not following the rules.

  63. I picked “the balance is right” because I had to choose between that and “we need to do more.” I think that if everyone followed the state and municipal guidelines, it would be enough.

    I don’t know how we can achieve that, except that part of the problem is that there aren’t enough masks. There’s not much point in telling people “you have to wear a mask” when there’s no way to give one to someone who says “you’re right, but I can’t find one.”

  64. I am waiting for my covid-19 test results as I write this. On my way home from the testing site in Watertown I saw scores of folks in Belmont w/o masks. I am very concerned that the governor hasn’t done enough.

    DCR parks should severely limit access. At Beaver Brook Reservation right behind Belmont Manor where many have died, dogs roam free unleashed, and people ignore the social distancing advisory. Baker should have made it an ORDER. big difference don’t you think.

  65. We have put a hold on our mortgage payment for six months with the expectation that we pay all months missed in six months. While I am happy not to have to worry about the mortgage payment at this time (my husband is no longer working due to COVID 19) I know we won’t be able to pay the full amount due. I’ve heard that in some areas the missed payments will just be tacked on the end. Is this something that can happen here in MA?

  66. Will, I hesitate to be a stick-in-the-mud, but what productive purpose do you believe is served by asking people to fill out this survey and comment here?

    We have enough data at this point to know with a high degree of certainty what the impact is of various different levels of social distancing and sheltering in place. Massachusetts is large enough that we have enough data on a daily basis — deaths, positive tests, hospital admissions and discharges — to determine with a high degree of certainty what the curve is going to look like if we do less/more. We’re getting more data every day as we ramp up the number of tests being performed daily.

    We also know that the sheltering in place, as crucial as it is for saving lives, is having a catastrophic impact on the finances of individuals, families, and businesses. You shouldn’t need a survey or comments here to tell you that we need to be doing more to support people financially than the federal or state government is doing. I suppose your survey might give you a small amount of quantitative data about how bad off people are financially, but given that the sample size is small and self-selected, it seems unlikely that it will tell you how much you don’t already know.

    I don’t think you need a survey or comments here to tell you what the problems are and what needs to be done to solve them. So what’s the point?

    This country has suffered painfully at the ends of a president and reactionary political party that have spent decades rejecting expertise and warping reality to suit their purposes. I want you and other politicians to be clearly, aggressively, actively rejecting that approach. I want you to be asking the experts what the potential problems are, how to collect meaningful data about them, how to draw meaningful conclusions from the data, and how to solve the problems that the data highlight. As important as it is for you to listen to your constituents, I do not think these are circumstances in which “listen to your constituents” is the best approach. Trump listens to his constituents, and look where that got us.

    Please, talk to and listen to the experts.

    1. Let me guess: you don’t like Trump.


      Yes, Hillary DID win the 200-meter low-hurdles. Alas, the race that mattered was the mile. Which Don won handily. Can Democrats never desist from being sore-losers?

      MUST so many citizens of Massachusetts (home of Salem’s infamous witch trials) blame everything on their current universal bogeyman, OMB: Orange Man Bad?

      Anyway, “experts” said Ms. Clinton was a shoe-in for prez. And experts like Fauci told us AIDS would kill gays and non-gays at an equal rate. He was wrong…as experts sometimes are (mostly when science is politicized).

      Why not heed the sage wisdom of Professor Gershwin:

      “They all laughed at Christopher Columbus
      When he said the world was round
      They all laughed when Edison recorded sound

      They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother
      When they said that man could fly
      They told Marconi, wireless was a phony
      It’s the same old cry

      They all laughed at Rockefeller Center
      Now they’re fighting to get in
      They all laughed at Whitney and his cotton gin

      They all laughed at Fulton and his steamboat
      Hershey and his chocolate bar
      Ford and his Lizzie kept the laughers busy
      That’s how people are”

      So…who’ll have the last laugh now?

      CHINA: “How can we ruin America economically, socially, and scientifically with minimum effort?”

      BATSOUP: “Hold my Corona!”

    2. Jon, I listen to experts and read their opinions at length and I take their advice very seriously. But knowing what people are experiencing, what people are understanding and what they are therefore willing to do is also a critical part of leadership. We are in this together and we’ll get through it together if we keep talking.

      1. Right on, Will Brownsberger. You are giving your constituents a platform to be heard; how else could you effectively obtain immediate and spontaneous comments on so crucial a topic. The only thing that I find offensive are comments that are insultingly negative rather than being helpful and positive. There is a way and manner to address opinions to which someone disagrees, however, to be insulting is not acceptable..

  67. Approaches to deal with a disruption of a month or so begin to break down as quarantines are extended further into the future. Two areas in particular need to get attention now so better solutions are available as they are increasingly needed.
    1) The delivery of remote educational services by public schools remains weak. If this continues into the fall, the quality and intensity need to ramp up or the country will pay a huge long-term price. Schools need to have regularly-scheduled online classes and much more engagement with assignments, evaluations, classmates, and teachers than is currently happening. Universities and private schools are already doing this in a much more engaged way that Belmont Public Schools. Maybe other towns in your district are as well.

    The are opportunities to develop systems and approaches on a state-wide level that may offer economies of scale. However, if DESE continues to adopt a consensus-based approach with all affected parties, any solutions they eventually come up will with be very slow and reflect lowest-common denominator approaches rather than the creative and innovative approaches that are needed.

    For a better outcome, the state needs to identify a handful of core functional problems with delivering high quality remote learning and run contests so multiple ideas are competed against each other — something more akin to an X-Prize approach and a negotiated agreement between government, union, and parent bureaucracies.

    2) Online-based employment for people with less professional experience. For highly trained and educated people, working remotely from home is relatively feasible and income levels comparable to their prior situation. Delivery people and others in the supply chain still have work options as well. But there are massive numbers of people who worked in service areas that may never recover. And if quarantines continue, the State, and possibly groups of states, should be banding together with management consulting firms or others to identify compensated work that this group can do from their homes. Ideally the work would also help them develop skills that put them in a better position when the economy finally reopens. But even if the jobs simply earn money to keep them afloat that is quite important.

  68. I am ok with hunkering down as long as needed because I had already been working from home. I hope this global crisis somehow motivates us to address the pre-existing crises of climate change, poverty, hunger, extreme inequality, money controlling our democracy, and others. It seems we don’t pay attention to those because they do not directly threaten the rich and powerful; we are paying attention to the virus because the rich are not protected. Let us wake up to the on-going crises and mobilize globally for a better world with a fair economy and real democracy.

  69. I wish more people understood that the mask is mostly not intended to protect the person wearing the mask, but rather to protect everyone else (and everyone should wear one in public). When we talk, we mist and spray, and it doesn’t take an N-95 mask to shut that down. Here’s a short paper and video about this:

    I’ve seen other studies of contagion in restaurants and call centers, and this bug definitely travels through the air, but it doesn’t waft indefinitely.

    I’d very much want for everyone not absolutely alone outdoors to wear a mask. If you go for a walk or job around Fresh Pond, you know there will be other people, wear a mask, please. As to hard to breathe, it gets damp, I wore a relatively tight-fitting mask for a 13-mile bike ride in and out of Cambridge to run errands, it was tolerable, you’ll cope.

    And again, the mask is NOT to protect the wearer from ultra-tiny virus particles (nice if it does, but that’s not why masks are needed), it’s intended to keep you from misting everyone around you.

  70. I agree with our senator doing such an effort to keep public safety to a high priority.
    I go to the supermarket twice a week, but I notice some people just touring the supermarket without picking any goods and not wearing a mask. About 70% of people running on the street are not covering their breath and do not keep social distancing when surpassing pedestrians. It is the 5th week of stay-at-home, the new case number is still rising. If there are enough ICU beds in our hospitals now and we make the business open too soon, the ICU beds will be filled in two or three weeks. A better method should take into effect.

  71. My main concern now is that some people still are not wearing masks and/or keeping enough physical distance in grocery stores. I’m okay with people not wearing masks when getting exercise outside as long as they keep at least 6 feet from others. In fact, when I get aerobic exercise, which I need to do to maintain my physical and mental health during this very stressful time, it’s hard to breathe deeply enough with a mask on. But when I do aerobic exercise, I am very careful to stay 6 feet or more away from other people. However, I see some people not respecting physical distance outside, especially young adults. I agree with what Martyn wrote above that we need to develop a culture with a more balanced attitude about freedom to do what we want as individuals in relation to paying attention to what is good for the whole population/community so that people do not act in ways that harm others or put them at significant risk of harm. Too many people still are not thinking about the health of everyone else.

  72. Everyone needs to wear a mask when out in public. It is disrespectful not to do so.

  73. The “return to normal” question is not specific to enough options. There will be a new normal — it may have parts of the old normal — we don’t know about reinfection, herd immunity, etc. To believe (hope) for a return to normal is impossible – there are just too many variables, and many of the “normal” pieces are likely not to continue into the future, if they survive at all. Even the good ones (lowered pollution, less driving, etc.)

  74. Thank you Senator Brownsberger for all you are doing. I believe the public has responded pretty well as a whole. I think we need to plan publicly for how we can begin to exit the lockdown. The virus is with us and we need to learn to live with it by adopting the right evidence-based protective measures, including masks, coupled with a measured return to work and school.

    1. And Hilligula’s presidential run is dead. And buried (though her supporters treat it vampirishly, hoping for yet another rising). Let it go. If they must, her supporters can leave pansies at the gravesite.

      Yet, typically, many of her supporters can’t let go. Instead, they hold voodoo totem poles (carved to curse The Don) in death-grips…like demented Druids.

  75. It seems that the longer this goes on, the more careless some people are getting. Yesterday was a beautiful day and as I was driving, I saw many people walking/biking without masks. I see a lot of young people in my community ignoring social distancing and not wearing masks. The longer people ignore this, the more people are going to get sick and die. I think masks should be readily available and mandatory right now. Antibody tests must be expanded beyond just a few high density areas of the city. People of all races and economic means are dying from the disease, and should all have access to testing. I don’t want to get infected and die because someone else was cavalier and selfish about protecting those around them.

  76. 1. Is there a state-wide plan for attempting to contain the virus?

    a. If so, where is it, and is it considered by epidemiologists to be plausible — that is to say, not merely a bit of specious consolation for the plebes and/or a money maker for a few? (Aren’t interstate commerce and freedom of movement going to be pretty serious countervailing forces to such an effort?)

    b. If not, when can we look for a plan for living with the virus until the hoped-for vaccine makes its appearance?

    2. Where is the Commonwealth with regard to setting up vote-by-mail for the November election?


  77. I feel that mask use should be mandatory for both customers and all service workers until vaccination and antibody testing is widely available and well used. The economy can get back into gear even if we are all wearing masks.

  78. I agree with many of the comments about the need to be as safe as possible. When outside, try to social distance as much as possible and wear masks any time in public. I think teenagers are getting a bit too much blame on this forum, as I have seen respectful and responsible teenage behavior too. I know of teenage groups safely collecting food for the greater Boston Food bank and creating masks.

    However, I do not think we are thinking of the cost-benefit analysis of a long term health issues with the quarantine. The 4/26 New York Times. “Fear of the coronavirus is leading people with life-threatening emergencies, like a heart attack or stroke, to stay home when ordinarily they would have rushed to the emergency room, preliminary research suggests. Without prompt treatment, some patients, have suffered permanent damage or have died.” The delay in volume of testing is maddening, but as that ramps up and more PPE is available, we can not be overly cautious about reengaging an loosening our restrictions. We need to be responsible, but not so overly cautious that people with non-Covid issues avoid or can not get treatment. Not just emergency rooms, but physical therapy for chronic pain issues, 1:1 mental health counseling, and a variety of other health services that people need and there will be long term suffering from if we do not reengage in the relative near term (meaning, I can’t imagine this current state being feasible beyond June.)

  79. I can’t understand why people are not taking this seriously. If we had all locked down for like 6 weeks at the beginning, we would have probably been able to control this better. The longer people stay in the streets, the longer the rest of us will be locked up, because the virus will continue to spread and kill.

  80. As a physician, it is becoming clear that the most serious risks of death, hospitalization and severe illness are impacting those who are over 60, and especially over 80. While the damage there is immense and hospitals like mine continue to see large numbers of critically ill patients, it is also clear that younger people, especially under 50, who are healthy, are at very, very low risk of death and serious illness. The economic damage to that group is real and growing. Although a vaccine and/or effective therapy would be amazing, those are not guaranteed to emerge and if so, may not emerge for a long time. Given these facts, I think we need to plan to let kids and college kids go back to school in the fall, protect their teachers and professors at risk and allow business to start to reopen, with young and healthy workers, implementing distancing, PPE and virus and antibody screening in the best manner possible. The economic toll is exceeding the direct toll from COVID related illness and we need to plan for an inability to stop the virus and start to get economic activity back.

    1. Very well said. I don’t understand why our leaders here in MA and elsewhere are ignoring this blindingly obvious fact (the varying levels of risk by age) and not taking it into account as they consider when and how to re-open the economy, especially in the face of the mounting economic toll the shutdowns are taking on everyone.

  81. Senator Brownsberger, thank you for being such a great communicator and asking us our comments. And good to read what’s coming in from my neighbors. My comments regard the eventual start-up of activities. I know the MBTA is planning for this, but I haven’t heard about park and conservation land managers. I very much hope they are planning some strategy for allowing visitors in limited numbers (and camping!). We so need to get back out in green spaces again but obviously we can’t all go at once. Somehow make phone and computer sign-ups for times or something should be possible (and make sure that there is equitable access, not just online sign-ups). And staff monitoring social distancing, one-way trails, etc. Frustrating there is so much space closed, but I know we would ALL swarm there if these spaces were suddenly open. So I hope state, city and private park/conservation land managers are strategizing for future safe access. Not that I’m going crazy or anything! 🙂 Thanks again.

  82. The beautiful thing about masks and gloves, is that they are extremely effective… when used properly. There is indeed a HUGE sense of false security among the populace (Frustrating more in an educational center such as Massachusetts), that wearing a mask and gloves provides immunity. We also need to change/wash our protective equipment regularly, wash hands frequently, and keep our distances.

    Will, thank you for your continued efforts and keeping in touch with your constituency. This emergency will pass, and I hope we will all be better prepared for whatever may come in the future.

  83. I will no longer shop at the Star Market in the west Fenway. I went to the “golden Hour” at the appointed time and the store quickly filled up with young people. Unmasked stockers were clogging up the aisles, chatting with fellow employees. Scary for an old woman like me.

  84. Dear Will,
    I emailed with you about this a few weeks ago and at that time you said you thought we’d have to “wait and see” on this particular issue and it looks to me like not much has changed so . . .
    What can we do about employers who do not provide (relatively) safe working conditions for their employees at Essential Businesses? So far almost all of the attention I’ve seen has been focused on essential retail businesses, but there are lots of employees at other types of businesses that are open and expecting/requiring their employees to work without making provisions for social distancing on the job and/or providing masks, frequent hand washing opportunities, etc. The “Guidance” from our state agencies uses phrases like “urge” and “should provide” but nothing stronger, and again the examples those documents provide mostly relate to retail businesses. Some “Essential Business” employers are making reasonable efforts, either voluntarily or under pressure, but others are just flying below the radar and being, in my language, schmucks because their businesses are not obvious to the public. What/how can we do more for those employees, the household members they come home to, and the community in which we all live?

      1. I hope we can address it on a statewide basis because there are many situations where employees live in one municipality and work in another. I think the first thing we need to do is to enlarge and enforce the state “Guidance” that has already been issued by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. I’m advocating for that now – please see an email to your Senate email address.

  85. On a positive note, as someone who is unemployed because my category of business is closed, I’ve been pleasantly surprised and very impressed with how fast and efficiently the Massachusetts UI system has worked for me, even including the new Federal bonus.

  86. Thank you! And a big thank you to Governor Baker who I think is doing a fantastic job despite PPE and mask orders being confiscated by the federal government. I DO think we should be more aggressive re: holding people accountable who are out in public without a mask and who disregard social distancing. Some of the behavior in supermarkets has been appalling. I think we should start fining people for disrespecting the requirements to wear a mask and social distance. All of our lives are at stake and they need to be held accountable.

  87. Dunno. Absent control groups, one can say just about anything about Covid-19.

    For example, that it didn’t kill more because, well, Bigfoot heroically chose not to show his face at Easter. Thus:

    (1) Bigfoot didn’t show.
    (2) Covid-19 so far killed 25,386 fewer humans than the flu.
    (3) Thus, Bigfoot saved the USA

    In Italy, the Lombardy region WAS hit pretty hard. Most of the dead, though, were 80-90 years old. Many were also Chinese workers in the fashion industry there. I suspect many were men…Chinese males being heavy smokers. Plus the region has the worst air-pollution in Europe.

    That’s hardly a representative demographic with which to kabosh the American economy.

    Was everyone equally at risk per hemophiliacs…who died due to blood donated by AIDS-infected gays?

    Why are exceptions now considered the rules? Where are bonafide scientists? Why aren’t they quashing the hysteria?

    It seems that if you are relatively young and relatively healthy, you’ll be fine. Yet we’ve imposed near-martial law instead of focusing on the elderly…especially in nursing homes…and those with compromised immune systems (smokers, cancer patients, etc.).

    Historically, sane people weighed risks and benefits. Cities didn’t automatically surrender to enemies because 3 grannies, 4 babies, and 7 young men might die in battle. Yet look how quickly citizens have given up their liberties here and now! All they needed to be told was that All Hell was about to break loose…and Big Mommy would save them (at a price).

    Who cares how many people get “infected” by the China Flu? It’s DEATHS that matter. Just like we don’t care how many folks get buzzed on booze in and out of bars. We care about drunk-driving deaths.

    We’ve become a nation of Sensitive Sallys…worried more about hurting imagined-others’ feelings than protecting ourselves. Those who yammer about “China Flu” being racist were awfully silent about West Nile Fever, German Measles, Spanish Flu, and other origin-of-outbreak medical monickers.

    There’s an odd masochism at work, too. A fascination with being “under the gun.” A need for bragging about “victim merit badges.”

    Some have mocked Trump’s support of Hydroxychloroquine as a “possible” cure. Why? Do they hate him more than possible solutions?

    They also mocked the idea that fresh air and sunlight might kill the virus (which would counter stay-inside urgings).

    Me? I’m for brain-storming. That is, put all ideas on the table, mocking/preferring none. Then have apolitical scientists test for possible solutions.

    We need facts and level-heads now, not political warfare. I’m sure millions of people laughed at the idea of fleas causing the Black Death. And that eating oranges could cure scurvy in the Royal Navy. Many similarly “odd” notions later became standard-operating-procedures.

    Not so long ago in human history, doctors didn’t wash their hands before surgery. And put sawdust on surgical theater floors. And mocked Pasteur’s “insane” idea about “tiny little animals” (germs that no one could see) causing disease.

    How will we look back on the Great Covid-19 Caper?

    What if half of all citizens are given a placebo…or told to go mask-less…or not to physically-distance themselves? Would outcomes vary? At all?

    Again, what makes sense to me is protecting/sheltering the elderly and those with complicating diseases. Current public practices seem overkill for a flu-like virus that is (thankfully) under-killing.

    We used to mock China for controlling so many aspects of its citizens’ lives. Now we seem all-to-ready to surrender to the same controls. We just might eagerly give up germ-spreading cash for “tracking-everything” plastic-cards…ones that encode vaccinations, bank account numbers, political views, etc.

    NB Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  88. In six months to a year we probably will have effective treatments for Covid-19. In a year and a half to two years we will have an effective vaccine for Covid-19. In two to three years most everyone will have been vaccinated for Covid-19 and hopefully the vaccine will be effective for more than a year.
    But within the year many, maybe most small business will be out of business, especially those that survive on small margins like restaurants. Large national chains will be most of the survivors in many fields. Federal aid, often too little and too late will help but will not be enough. State governments need to step up now with new taxes on citizens whose income and wealth is in the top 10%. There is a role for municipal governments, but state governments have to take the lead. The new taxes should be used in innovative ways such as property tax relief for small businesses and to accelerate the move to a non-fossil fuel-based economy. The Covid-19 pandemic is an “acute” crisis. Climate change could be characterized as a “chronic” crisis. Both crises have the potential to kill and impoverish us if we don’t act now and act boldly.

  89. We need TESTING and TRACKING!! I see loads of discussion about masks, and while they’re necessary, by themselves, they just keep us where we are. We cannot get back to even a semblance of semi-normal until we have widespread (VERY widespread) testing (for both virus and antibodies) and tracking. I don’t know exactly how many tests we will need (test every person monthly? or maybe widespread random sampling will do), but we need VASTLY MORE than we are doing now. Only once we get the number of cases down quite low through this painful shutdown, and then institute widespread, systematic testing and contact tracking, will we be able to safely open up a little (and then only with continued social distancing, masks etc.). Otherwise we keep doing what we’re doing (and suffer the corresponding economic harm) until we get a vaccine in a year or two. Please, Will, let’s put in place a widespread, systematic testing/tracking system so we can safely loosen the restrictions a little and get people back to work.

  90. I hope there is a silver lining to this. I hope we appreciate our local businesses, our friends and family, and our local parks and waterways more. I hope we stop driving and flying as much. I hope that we have better safety nets both on the local and federal level and listen to what people like Bernie Sanders have been saying for YEARS. We NEED social safety nets, better climate protection, better paid work-from-home and medical leave for our families. We need this more than we need failed military projects, presidential golf outings, and giant payouts to foreign countries. America first means adopting some socialist ideas and moving away from ignorance and selfishness.

  91. My only comment at this time you already pretty much stated for me Willl. I think we need to go further with requiring, not just suggesting, that masks or face coverings (scarves work well when masks aren’t available) be worn in places like grocery stores. I would prefer not to go into any stores but sometimes it is a necessity (i.e. I can not find any toilet paper online anywhere). If everyone’s mouth and nose is covered with some kind of cloth at all times, that would work wonders in preventing further transmission in such instances. But I still see customers being welcomed into grocery stores with no mouth/nose covering whatsoever. Should be required – on public transportation too. I’m also still sad and shocked about the unavailability of the best available (i.e. N95’s) So I can get pieces of cloth, but not the best tested masks. It’s worse for our health care professionals. They should all have full suits and be completely covered with operational respirators like we see in Asia. Shocking to me that in Boston I haven’t seen any health care providers protected in this way. Not just a shortage of proper PPE, but a complete lack of proper PPE. Very disturbing.

  92. I have worked since the ’80s in many aspects of clean room design and aseptic techniques in a surgical setting. Facemask wearing by the general public with techniques as I have routinely observed is either, at best, doing nothing other than virtue signaling (admittedly hugely popular in MA), or placing the wearers and those around them at greater risk.

    Don’t think so? Please post here your well-controlled randomized data showing ANY benefit of such practices, particularly in attenuating the transmission and inspiration of airborne 90-130 nm viruses that can survive for days on surfaces, thus when collected on my bandana, handy for later transfer to wearer and others.

  93. I believe that the results of the survey indicate that most of the respondents are middle or upper-class and have enough savings to support themselves without earnings for at least the next several months.

    This is not true of the rest of the country and those residents of MA who did not respond. The pressure to re-open business and for people to return to work has been great, so much so that liberal governors like Cuomo and Newsom are talking about re-opening more businesses in the next two or three weeks. That will probably set off a new surge in the epidemic. We are caught between the pressure to re-open by those who can no longer support themselves and the danger of re-starting the epidemic. A solution: A universal basic income for each person.

    1. I agree! Why, really, should anyone have to work? COVID is just one of the many undesirable aspects of work, particularly in the dreaded private sector where you might actually, as compared to Government employ, have to WORK! Can’t we all just sit safely, comfortably at home and wait for a check in the mail from the Government? Guaranteed. Basic. It has not been noted on this thread, but we can take some pleasure that at least all of the Government workers have been sent home on fully paid vacations, where they can wait for additional income to come from the Government in the form of bailout checks. We have concentrated 100% of the suffering on the private sector. That should be kept in mind as we look to the a model for the future.

  94. Thank you for your good work, Will. I hope that the comments will encourage your colleagues to support the notion of masks (as an expectationrather than an option—with consequences for
    non-compliance) and social distancing as quid pro quos essential for the common good without which easing can not move forward.

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