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.
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.
% of response
cumulative % of response
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Monday, April 27, 2020
Up to 11AM
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 Under
25 to 64
65 or over
Zipcode of Respondents (self-reported)
02115 (East Fenway)
02116 (Back Bay)
02215 (West Fenway)
Completed March Survey (self-reported)
First Time Participant
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 enough
Balance right at this time
Have gone too far
Question 2: Work Situation
Retired, at home, etc.
Leaving home to work
Unemployed by COVID
Working from home
Question 3: Financial Situation
Behind on bills
OK but concerned
Secure for the next year
Question 4: Expectations for Pandemic Course
Back to old normal in time
Back to old normal soon
Crosstab A: View of response vs. age
24 or Under
25 to 64
65 or over
Crosstab B: View of response vs. zipcode
02115 (East Fens)
02116 (Back Bay)
02215 (West Fenway)
Crosstab C: View of response vs. work situation
Retired, at home, etc.
Leaving home to work
Unemployed prior to COVID
Unemployed by COVID changes
Working from home
Crosstab D: View of response vs. financial situation
Behind on bills
OK but concerned
Secure for a year
Crosstab E: View of response vs. pandemic course
Back to old normal in time
Possible new normal
Back to old normal soon
Crosstab F: View of response vs. prior survey participation
First Time Participant
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.
Published by Will Brownsberger
Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.
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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?
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
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 ??
@Alfred: It may be because there is no convincing evidence for the effectiveness of face masks, see this summary of 31 published studies: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.01.20049528v1
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.
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.
Mike, each of us wears a mask to protect other people. You (or I) can get this bug, not know it, feel fine, and spread it. If we talk, we spray, with a mask, we don’t. High-tech video here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2007800
Doesn’t need a fancy mask; the video stopped the spray with a damp rag.
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 !
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You are sooooo right, Heather!
Common sense died when Tom & Huck drowned in the Mississippi ??
Had he died there would be greater precautions………go figure.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is a shame that STEVEN resorts to insults rather than confront facts.
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.
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.
I am with you, GMW.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
STEVEN appears to take delight in submitting negative comments. Are there any comments from STEVEN that are positive in nature?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
We need FDA approved antibody testing to be available in MA now!
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.
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.
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.
One fact that stands out, STEVEN seems to delight in negative comments. Shameful.
Call your caregiver.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
“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..”
Hi Alfred. Thanks for asking. Here are a few:
1) Article referencing Stanford Study: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/04/17/coronavirus-2-5-to-4-2-of-santa-clara-county-residents-infected-stanford-estimates/
2) Link to the actual study: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.14.20062463v1
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.
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: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6913e2.htm
2) Half the deaths in Europe in nursing homes: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/nursing-homes-coronavirus-deaths-europe/2020/04/23/d635619c-8561-11ea-81a3-9690c9881111_story.html
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:
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.
Freshly inspired by Fox News?
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.
“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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well said SM….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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)?
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.
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.
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??
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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!
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.
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