This is the fourth of a series of surveys checking in on the economic consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic in my district. The additional dimensions explored in this survey were: Housing status (rent/own) and the variations in response depending on form of outreach.
- Roughly 1/3 of all those reporting working outside the home before COVID-19 expect to be working from home “in the long run”. This result appears consistent across the respondent groups in the survey.
- A majority of respondents feel that the state is opening too fast. The percentage with this view ranged from 48% to 66% among the different respondent groups. Many people qualified this in comments by noting that if people were better about wearing masks, etc., we might be better able to sustain more opening.
- The percentage of respondents who are renters varied significantly across the respondent groups, ranging from 71% among individuals in Boston who have corresponded with my office to 18% on Allston-Brighton news lists to only 9% on a Belmont news list. However, the rate reporting behind on bills was low in all groups.
- Response rates are vastly higher for individual emails than for impressions on Facebook. Individual emails appear to have much higher response rates than list emails, but the list denominator is unknown — we don’t have subscriber data for the news lists as of this writing.
Survey Process and Sample
The survey process included the same methods as in our March, April , and June surveys. However, in this survey, I sent different forms to the outreach groups, so that I was able to compare response rates and results across groups. My outreach emails include no open-tracking tokens so as to fully respect the privacy an anonymity of my constituents. So, until this survey, I had no clear sense of the group sourcing of the responses. Here is the breakdown:
|Reach||Repetition||Form Views||Raw Response||Deduped Response||Net response rate|
|Email to 3 Allston-Brighton community google groups (“AB Groups”)||?||2||176||101||92||?|
|Email to 1 Belmont community mail group|
|Individual emails to Boston correspondents with my office|
|Individual emails to Belmont Watertown correspondents with my office|
|Facebook advertisement targeted to whole senate district (Belmont, Watertown and parts of Boston)|
|Individual email to subscribers to my office new email list|
As discussed in connection with the the March and April surveys, “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.”
The initial mailing was on Sunday, August 9 with a repetition on Tuesday, August 11. Some recipients got an extra emailing through an error on Sunday, August 9. Due to delays in Facebook ad approval, the Facebook ad ran from August 12 through August 17. Although the forms remained open online through August 18, only 83 entries (3%) were made on the emailed forms after August 12.
The individual emails to correspondents and formal subscribers to my news list were not overlapping, but the community groups and Facebook outreach could overlap all groups. Between the potential overlap and the repeated sends, there were a total of 276 possible duplicate entries, where IP address and browser type were the same. These are not necessarily true duplicates — they could be the people in the same household. However, in caution, we only retained the last entry in each case.
Age of Respondents (Self Reported)
|24 or under||25 to 64||65 or over||All Ages|
|AB Groups (3)||0%||63%||37%||100%|
Zip Code of Respondents (self reported)
|Back Bay (02116)||Fenway|
|Allston-Brighton (02134, 02135)||Watertown (02472)||Belmont (02478)||Other||Total|
|AB Groups (3)||0%||0%||82%||0%||13%||5%||100%|
Question 1: Massachusetts’ COVID-19 response so far
|form||About right||Should open faster||Opening too fast||Total|
|AB Groups (3)||43%||1%||55%||100%|
Question 2: Own economic situation
|OK for now||Behind on bills||Secure for at least 1 year||Total|
|AB Groups (3)||27%||2%||71%||100%|
Question 3: Shelter payments
|Subsidized Rent||Market Rent||Mortgage||Taxes Only||Total|
|AB Groups (3)||2%||16%||46%||36%||100%|
Question 4A: Work arrangement before COVID-19
|Working outside home||Working from home||Unemployed||Not working (retired, partner works, other)||Total|
|AB Groups (3)||68%||10%||2%||20%||100%|
Question 4B: Work arrangement now
|Working outside home||Working from home||Unemployed||Other not working||Total|
|AB Groups (3)||18%||48%||10%||24%||100%|
Question 4C: Expected work arrangement “in the long run”
|Working outside home||Working from home||Not working||Total|
|AB Groups (3)||35%||39%||26%||100%|
Question 4C: Expected work arrangement “in the long run” — responses limited to those working outside home before COVID-19
|Working outside home||Working from home||Not working||Total|
|AB Groups (3)||48%||44%||8%||100%|
Cross Tab: Economic Outlook vs. Shelter Payments
|OK for now||Behind on bills||Secure for at least 1 year||All|
The underlying data appear in this spreadsheet. The survey questionnaire appears here.
Extremely concerned about influx of parties in Allston and BU doing a hybrid model. I have seen many parties in Allston with college kids doing nothing (no masks no social distancing).
I agree with this comment! With students coming back to university, there is a potential for this to get worse and the virus to be spread from them. I am sorry to say that the majority of the people I see on the street without masks are people 30 or under. There also was an article in the NY Times on current secret, European rave parties where a Swiss woman age 21 was interviewed and said that while she was scared of the virus, “she did not care as she wanted to party in her 20’s.” If this is the attitude of our youth and nothing is done to keep them in check, then we are in trouble with the tons of college students that come to school in the Boston area.
Baker also needs to see where this virus “creep” is coming from, and act accordingly. 9 people or less at a party outside without masks is even too much. Pods of two families that socialize together of no more than 8 people total makes more sense. There is something wrong in Massachusetts when New York State is doing better than we are at controlling this.
There is actually very little evidence of virus transmission outdoors, which is surprising. Realistically, college students are going to party – I’d prefer to have them party outdoors, even if it’s noisier for the rest of us.
You can continue to look like a refugee from Commie China and that should be your choice, not the government’s. I, for one, will continue to live and look like a free American. No mask for me. Do some research and you will see they do not filter out the virus, but they make you feel safe, that’s all.
The masks are not meant to protect the wearer. They reduce the chances and speed at which an asymptomatic person speeds the virus so that the healthcare system can keep up. The virus spreads when respiratory droplets from sneezing, a cough, or spit or spray of any sort comes from ones mouth and lands on people or surfaces others touch. The mask catches those droplets which reduces the chances you spread the virus. Wearing a mask is about caring for your more vulnerable fellow Americans more than your own looks or appearances. This is not about ones freedom to be reckless. Likewise, you don’t have the freedom to drive 100 mph when the posted limit is 65 mph. I do not like wearing a mask either, but I do so because it shows my concerned fellow Americans that I care about countless others.
Masks do protect the wearer, although they do protect others more. Study after study after study confirms this.
Thank you for an accurate, apolitical, non-hysterical explanation!
Gordon, Where is the research that gave you this info?
Your political rights have nothing to do with choosing to do your part as a good citizen against a deadly virus.
I couldn’t agree more with you. Schools need to open. The economy needs to get back on track.
Our first responsibility is to our Boston school children, then to the transient college students.
When I’ first saw the survey I wrote you a note thinking the survey didn’t apply to me but then I took it anyway!
I am so frustrated that we went to Phase 2b (indoor dining) and Phase 3. The governor may well have prevented schools from opening. How can he simultaneously say that more than 25 people indoors is unsafe and say that the “science doesn’t support” not reopening the schools. The growing number of districts moving toward remote opening is an indictment of his insistence that it’s safe to open schools. If he’d been less gung-ho on gyms, maybe we’d be in a better place. Also the mask rule and travel restrictions are not enforced. I’d love to send my kid to in-person school more than anything. Unfortunately the governor and people who don’t take this seriously have prevented that from happening.
I dont know if people notice or not but baker is a rhino who seem to speak after marty walsh and taking his leads from walsh. As we all know mass is a big city which would help better if he states which county or city is most effected with this virus then stop them from entering until their clear
Agreed about gyms! Also, bars should not be allowed to open until there is a vaccine. And there must be enforcement of masks and social distancing when college students return.
Sorry but anyone who thinks schools are safe to reopen under any circumstances is nuts.
Sorry I should’ve said current circumstances. Harvard School of Public Health professor explains how the FDA is holding up a cheap, 15-minute at home test that could revolutionize testing and reopen schools. He is asking for states to add their voices to the building political pressure so the Senator should see this as well. https://youtu.be/cP-MHKU_cQE
Yes. We are looking at the rapid tests with interest!
This is not the only cheap at-home test under development (and not even the only one at Harvard). The X-prize Foundation has a competition for cheap, reliable tests that looks as if it will do a good job of identifying top contenders.
Agreed that there is a trade of gyms and other things vs. safe schools. More on that here: https://willbrownsberger.com/time-to-hit-the-brakes/
NPR reported on illicit gyms this week (MA wasn’t mentioned). Like speakeasies, they typically are in basement locations, poorly ventilated, and do not require members to wear masks. I consider such end-runs around regs much more dangerous than any activities the governor has authorized, and hope he continues to make mid-course adjustments whenever and wherever the best facts warrant. I give him good marks. Were all Republicans as scrupulous.
I am concerned about the students returning to school in the fall and the rise in COVID spread. Even today when walking down Comm. Ave, Allston, I’ve often encountered a few college-age individuals sitting on the steps of their apartment buildings, some smoking pot and without masks. One time an individual looked directly at me and coughed frantically and spat on the step of his building. Not sure if it was intended to intimidate me.
I am not looking forward to September and how it’s going to impact public transportation, the supermarkets and the way of life of folks like myself who are at high risk. I think it was a wrong decision to allow schools and colleges to make that decision. I’d have liked to see the city and state set the guidelines based on the health and safety of its residents. The colleges and universities should have followed the example set by Berklee College of Music and only offered online classes.
Enforcement of proper mask use needs to be enhanced. or do some people think you breathe through your chin?
That’s because you’re a little fascist Barbara. Leave your mask on forever if you wish but stay out of everyone elses business. The states and countries that have done most poorly are the ones that locked down the hardest. Fauci and company have changed their minds on masks and guidance so many times they can no longer be trusted. I believe in science but science is hardly ever “settled”, especially given the evolving nature of the Wuhan Bat Flu (and all viruses). Fauci doesn’t follow the science because he’s invested personally in this pandemic.
I’m NOT a scientist, however I still possess the common sense that God gave me. That’s more than I can say for many of you “Sheeple”.
Joe, I wish you would read this (if WIRED will let you):
Localities lock down harder as things get worse, especially if they aren’t on top of things. Things don’t get worse because they lock down. They get worse because local and state governments are disorganized, dysfunctional, or don’t keep their eye on the ball.
San Francisco had an alert team and proper channels of authority to battle the virus, and public officials did a damn good job. In cities that have fared worse, such teamwork was lacking, as it has been from the Trump administration this entire year.
I agree! like if you need to take a breath its fine, take a second and move away from people. But I’ve seen way too may people moving crowds of other people with their mask around their neck or on their wrist. Your mask protects other people. Cities and the state as a whole need to do a better job enforcing mandates (or just having them in the first place) if they want this reopening to not result in another mass outbreak.
+I believe that the country has been thrown into a unnecessary shut down; if older folks and others with underlying vulnerabilities, then they (meaning me) should remain home and out of the strike zone for this virus. I beleive that if we remain doing half hearted openings, our country will be irreparably damaged: politically, economically, and defensively. No modern country can be incapacitated for long, and in my opinion, we need to get on with living. I have had the time to observe birds at our bird feeders: birds of the same species behave toward one another as they do other species, in that they push and shove others aside in order to feed, ie., Darwin’s survival of the fittest. In the Sunday Globe of today, it is noted that Belgian deliberately refused to admit folks from nursing homes and other areas, to hospitals, the purpose of course was to let them expire (die for the insensitive). There was no shortage of hospital beds….the cost was unacceptable (in their studied opinion) and/or the hospital staffs just did not want to be bothered. Actually, on a cost basis ratio, that makes sense. Modern societies have allotted billions of dollars for the care of the seriously ill, physically deformed and elderly, yet MILLIONS of babies are aborted annually: what is wrong with that picture????
The so-called obama-care medical scheme had health care covertly rationed, and the authors of that scheme made no bones about those under 15 and over 55 would not be particularly attended to; just remember, “You can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan.” Really? I am 85; and yes, I would like to continue living; I am in excellent health, and prior to the advent of “the virus,” I was working 5 hours, 5 days a week, and working out at the local gym 2 1/2 hours every other day after work, 3 days a week. If it’s time for me to go, so be it; no heroic actions to keep me going. Anyway, I firmly believe that if you are a irredeemable drag on society, it’s time to go. Medical costs are sky rocketing, families are hard pressed to come up with health care premiums (for those too young or not informed, the United States’ corporations began offering health care to employees at the beginning of WWII, in order to attract workers to staff their factories during the material build up to support the war effort, because there was an extreme shortage of industrial workers (and women began their march toward economic independence which is still a work in process.) An so began the cradle to grave mentality inculcated in the American work force. With the stupid policy of the political and industrial class allowing U. S. manufacturing activities to migrate to Communist China (read GREED and more GREED), American industry flipped the bird to the American worker, wages stagnated, foreign workers were brought in to be trained by American workers and then they were deep-sixed, by the way, it was just discovered that a Government agency was doing the same thing until President Trump put a stop to it. You have to wonder about who is on your side. And here we are, a Nation all but incapacitated as never before, due to a “pandemic” that has not yet killed more than a typical annual influx of a flue. We are being played, big time.
I believe that the average death in the U.S. to the flu is 24,000 – 62,000 deaths annually since around 2010 and 34,200 deaths occurred during the 2018–2019 influenza season. Over 160, 000 have already died of Covid-19 in the USA as of August 7, 2020. I don’t believe “we are being played big time.” but we are lacking leadership at the federal level.
The traditional way of estimating flu mortality is seriously flawed. Earlier this year Scientific American ran a piece on it written by a local doctor. Puzzled by the official numbers, he asked around various hospitals in the Northeast. In every instance, clinicians reported not having seen ANY flu deaths or else exceedingly few. Nowhere close to the totals we have been led to accept. All COVID-19 deaths are actually counted in the ICU or by a death certificate. None are estimated by algorithm. Most flu “deaths” are estimated based on a complicated mathematical algorithm. Actual flu deaths are much fewer than the official numbers indicate. This means COVID-19 is orders of magnitude more deadly than seasonal flu.
Here’s the reference: Scientific American, April 28, 2020. “Comparing COVID-19 Deaths to Flu Deaths Is Like Comparing Apples to Oranges” Subheading: “The former are actual numbers: the latter are inflated statistical estimates”. By Jeremy Samuel Faust. Dr. Faust is board certified and is a practicing physician.
Will C —
Reading your diatribe made me sad. We know awful people are out there, but to read your rant confirms those folks live right close to me and my family. Besides the several inaccuracies and conjectures in your missive, much of it is way off topic. I will try to focus on Sen. B’s purpose of the survey:
1. How do you know most “old people” CAN stay home? Who buys their groceries, checks them medically, does their banking (that generation is the lowest demographic as subscriber to electronic/on-line/tele-med transactions… Many simply do not have the means nor the support to “just stay at home.”
2. Since late March/April, there have been, and continue to be, clear shortages of ICU beds in hot-spots; those cities/areas were overwhelmed b/c the epidemic raged quickly and out-stripped healthcare capacities at that time.
3. Which is why governments/leadership needs to mandate reasonable limitations on public interactions (caps at bars, etc), and urge citizens to adopt safeguards (masks, social-distancing, hand-washing, etc.) Too bad our nation’s ultimate leader lacks the vision, brainpower and commitment to protect all citizens; he fails to listen to experts, plays a game of divide and conquer, bullying and denigrating pitting different groups, and cannot build anything remotely like a coalition to solve the nation’s challenges.
4. At 85, I presume you have SSI and Medicare? Yes, you paid into the system, but you’re generation is drawing some of the best benefits out of it, even as the funding winnows significantly (ie, there will be far less available for my generation, which works just as hard and contributes…). Are these not obvious subsidies for you? Do you have a defined benefit pension, which is a rarity in the current age? Did your education perhaps come via the GI Bill? Perhaps you overlook how the government programs have helped you/family members for many years, in many ways (again, an assumption on my part; do tell if you don’t accept these programs, and how you get medical, education and retirement benefits).
5. You describe a “dog-eat-dog” world as being the only way to work things, Darwinian, or might I add, “Ayn Rand Land,” which is your prerogative. However, the United States I know cares for its elderly, its disabled, and less fortunate. We cannot do it all, but we should always be looking for ways to do more, and given the highly-developed economy we have, we can do much better.
That you still work at 85 is admirable; lucky you. What is your work, and what other ways do you support your community — volunteerism, civically, or as a financial supporter to non-profits? Or, are you just taking care of yourself?
Agreed! Not all people who are at risk can afford to have someone do their grocery shopping or get necessities for them.
How wise we older folk are. I’ll be 81 next month and agree with all that you say. They can continue to look like a refugees from Commie China. And that should be their choice, not the government’s. I, for one, will continue to live and look like a free American. No mask for me, thanks.
I think at this point you need to be worried about cognitive decline more than covid.
You need to keep in mind that seniors with Reverse Mortgage have a mortgage but not paying in the way one does on an ordinary mortgage. You don’t give any way to show that – and everything borrowed for taxes or anything else is subject to compound interest. You need another category for those questions.
We are already opening too fast. Opening public schools and colleges and universities will all throw gasoline on the COVID fire. As Fauci said (paraphrase), we don’t tell the virus what to do; it tells us, a context-specific version of “Nature commanded is Nature obeyed”. Along with eviction bans for tenants, we also need another ban, on foreclosures, especially landlords caught between their tenants’ inability to pay rent and their mortgagors insistence on payments. Since Trump and the Feds f—ed up on testing and tracing, we need Massachusetts to do what the Feds didn’t on those two. It’s time for a constitutional amendment to replace the fixed Mass. income tax with a progressive one, and to explicitly use income taxation as a means to redistribute income. For those unemployed, we need the state (and Feds, but they’ve screwed that up too) to spend not merely on maintenance, but on hiring people to do the myriad of things we haven’t been able to do, a la the WPA projects of the Great Depression. There’s lots more we can do in response to this, we’ll have to figure out how to pay some big bills once it’s over, and we’ll need to proactively take action to prevent a repeat, something we’ve failed to do in the past.
Well said, Aram.
Right, Aram. Precisely.
I haven’t received my federal tax refund, and I submitted my claims in Feb. I was laid off on St. Patrick’s Day. Luckiest day for an Irishman, like myself. I still haven’t received a Stimulus check, despite being eligible. I was issued a notice to quit my lease in June, which was issued illegally, so I need to use the money I was saving for online classes I received with the UI benefit, to move unnecessarily. I work in the Live events industry, and our jobs are starting to reschedule for 2022.
I’m sorry to hear that, Timothy. I got my stimulus check, as did family members, in March. But I still haven’t received our federal income tax refund that we filed for (by post) in March. An IRS automaton tells me our return is currently “under review.” Given the situation at IRS offices, it’s both understandable and frustrating. Wish us both luck!
I am just concerned about the school/work balance. As my daughter is in the METCO program, her school district, like Boston has not decided on a final plan. While I am secure in my employment my partner and I work in a Healthcare and cannot work remotely. It concerns me that me and many other parents will have to make hard decisions when it comes to their children’s education and employment. Im for keeping the children home but what will the federal and local governments do to promote the health and safety of families which include health and financial stability.
I am very worried about the situation as our numbers are slowly increasing and we are getting ready for school to open. I see more people starting to let down their guard and I think that things like indoor dining that allow people to not social distance (many meet friends when going out) set the wrong expectation and put everyone at risk. I have seen kids in our neighbor have play dates and parties with adults and kids together sharing food and within six feet of one another.
I am a nurse and I don’t want to go back to where we were before and don’t want any other lives to be lost. People really need to know what is at stack.
Agreed! New York States’ numbers are better than we are at this point, and that includes New York City. Massachusetts needs to look at this and realize that the breaks need to be put back on. Yet again, the college student situation is going to be problematic in terms of the spread of this virus, unless the students are made to comply. People get penalized for underage drinking and taking drugs, and now they need to get penalized for not social distancing, wearing masks, or having large parties.
Thank our RINO dictator governor and the liberal press for scaring you half to death and for all your inconveniences. Since 1918, viruses come…viruses go and life goes on. Protest and riot crowds with no precautions are OK, but class rooms are forbidden? Get a life. people.
Gordon, There is a difference between a virus and a flu. You should do a little research before you post again.
Let’s disagree in a kind way with our neighbors.
You go right ahead to exercise your right to be inconsiderate to others by not wearing a mask in public. Should enough people follow your lead, you’ll be able to blame Charlie Baker for the spike in COVID-19 cases that will almost certainly result.
My wife and I are both retired we were going on trips but all got cancelled due to COVID-19. We got all our money back so we are all set. Miss traveling but go on the travel channel.
There is nothing in this survey about schools. I am glad our district (Watertown) is starting remote. I feel we should be remote for a while until the state has minimized the virus substantially. A MAJOR problem is employer expectations of employees whose children are remote schooled. Especially elementary age kids. We haven’t talked about the responsibility of large employers in this pandemic. Can they reduce the work week by a day? Agree on “no meeting” days so their employees can at least be free to help their children get on zoom classes? Are there policy incentives to get employers to offer employees reduced schedules without losing their jobs? They are completely left out of this conversation. Families are not the only ones who should shoulder this burden.
Lisa Cappocia I totally agree.
This is a critical point although it should in no way be limited to parents.
People are starting office work at 7 or 8, having meetings scheduled during lunch, working til 7, swallowing dinner and then going back to work afterwards. All for the same pre covid salary. As employees suffer, companies rake in the windfalls This is utterly unacceptable and must stop immediately.
Thank you, Lisa. This is a really important line of thought — I am very concerned about making at home schooling work for both parents and kids — it is one of our central challenges.
As a manager, I think this is a huge problem (and it doesn’t just apply to people with kids, many people have difficult living situations that make it hard to concentrate from home). If I’m under pressure to reduce costs, and one of my staff is not performing well because we have reneged on our bargain to offer all employees a safe, temperature-controlled, quiet location in which to work, what am I supposed to do? Also, the increase in utility bills will hit many people hard, especially as winter is coming.
We have considered moving out of our apartment because the rent is so high. I know we would normally still be required to keep paying the lease until the apartment is rented to someone else. I think landlords should move to offering month to month leases due to the unstable job market and covid. Many of the leases in the city of Boston require a full year. If the state legislators could help encourage this somehow it would be helpful. I understand that it’s also difficult for landlords because they need to get paid as well. Tough times! Thank you for your consideration.
Yes. Housing is one of the other top areas of concern — many people may hit a financial cliff.
I think we are opening far too fast, and that the uptick we are seeing is a direct consequence. I am worried that the returning college students will contribute to the spread of the disease and that things will get much worse quite quickly once they are back in town. I have two school-age kids and I am worried about the possibility of a return to in-person schooling too soon, I am hoping that Belmont will have the good sense to start school remotely and maintain remote schooling until things are genuinely safe. That said, remote schooling presents a substantial challenge to my family, as we both work full time and have no childcare due to the pandemic. I am not sure how we are going to manage watching over the children while also working full time from home.
CDC guidance pre-covid based on evidence was that quarantine, shut downs and widespread use of masks were ineffective at stopping viruses. In some cases mask user were more likely to contract viral infections. An examination of surgeons found that the patients of surgeons who wore masks were more likely to experience post-op infections. As for quarantine, our experience here is more evidence that it is ineffective. This virus slows dramatically as a population approaches a 20% infection rate. This is the rate reached in New York, Stockholm, Sweden, New Delhi, India, in fact all over the world regardless of lockdown, mask use etc. If your population reaches 20% infection your mitigation measures did little or nothing. I don’t see the point in continuing them.
Life is definitely easier when you can just make shit up.
We are opening too fast. We don’t have the testing, tracing and isolation protocols in place to open the economy. People are dying. Hundreds of thousands of people and it’s like everyone is in denial about this. How long can the hospitals and health care workers and health care system be under this amount of pressure before it collapses. I get it. It’s too horrible to contemplate for most people. But there’s things that can be done. We need fast RELIABLE testing for starters. We wouldn’t except a pregnancy test that was 70% accurate. Secondly we need extensive contract tracing and isolation support. We need to employ people who unemployed with testing, contact tracing and making PPE. We need to put all resources to dealing with this virus or it will destroy us completely. We can use this as a time to rethink and reset the way we do things. Rebuild our infrastructure and schools while they were empty. We are wasting opportunities that we have. We need to protect the people. If the Federal government won’t the states need to ban together and do what they won’t. Eviction bans need to be enforced and mortgages need to be suspended. The state needs to step up and do what the federal government won’t.
So well,stated Kare!!
Survey’s are frustrating, they’re so black and white. So I’m glad to be able to add some color to my answers.
I had just lost by job before COVID struck. I have reason to believe I’d been able to start a very good job within 1-3 months if it weren’t for COVID, but now it’s been 6 months and although I’ve worked very hard on my applying to >150 jobs and networking like crazy, with the job market so quiet and unresponsive since COVID, I fear it could be many more months before I can get a job, and probably at a greatly reduced income; the pay rates I’m mostly seeing are now worse than they were 10 years ago. It’s pretty depressing given that cost of living has increased and the fact that I’ve done a great deal of training and gained excellent experience and led more that would normally have increased my income.
A question on the survey was whether I’m worried about paying bills. I can pay bills because I’ve sacrificed to save hard for retirement, but this period of only unemployment income followed by lower income will mean needing to work much longer before retiring. With age discrimination and potential for illness or need to care for my aged parents, I worry that I may not be ABLE to work long enough now to be able to afford to retire before I’m truly elderly.
It doesn’t help that my landlords raised my rent again during this period. Housing costs in Belmont are already so challenging. I’m nearly sure I will not be able to afford to continue living here after I retire.
Also: you asked about opening too fast combined with people doing acting inappropriately. Those are separate questions. I think if people were acting with care, opening wouldn’t have been too fast, but with people congregating and not wearing masks, we’re at great risk.
Also asking about opening too fast didn’t specify if you were asking about past or future. So far I’ve felt that opening pace was reasonable. But the prospect of children and teachers returning to school, often in badly ventilated buildings, in addition to college students and faculty returning to the state with likelihood of congregating, often indoors, without mask wearing, feels WAY too risky given how this virus spreads.
Thank you for sharing this color and detail. I appreciate it.
Employers aren’t following all the rules of reopening just as the people aren’t. People who are at high risk are scared and torn between losing their jobs and being exposed to the virus. They also aren’t able to freely leave their homes because people aren’t following the rules of wearing masks and social distancing. I don’t think we can reopen safely with the apathy of people to others and safety.
I indicated that we were opening at about the right speed, but I was torn between that choice and “too fast.” If the numbers are heading in the wrong direction, it is too fast. I would follow the advice of the scientists rather than the economists.
Wow, I didn’t know the average “flue” kills 160,000+ individuals a year. News to me.
I guess underlying vulnerability cases like me are being told to take one for the team, Trump’s “warriors”. He’s the last person I would die for.
I will keep going to work while my boss requires it because I have loyalty to my boss, and seeing as I must take the T to get to work, it’s only a matter of time before I’m dead. And I guess as long as there is such apathy towards the idea of compassion in this world, I’d rather not have to live in it anyways.
Can we keep everything that’s open EXCEPT indoor dining? I can’t believe that’s allowed at all OR that it was allowed before other, much safer activities. And can there be public health campaigns to try to convince people to wear their face coverings?
I replied that we are opening at about the Right speed but I have serious concerns about in-person schooling (my wife is a teacher) and indoor dining. Sadly the lack of a coherent science-based national approach has made it impossible to put an effective control regime in place that might maintain risk at an acceptable level. In the absence of such an approach we cannot simply blindly hope for the best. I fear that is what is happening with schools reopening. All of us parents want school to reopen but we should know enough about this virus by now to know that do so is to risk all of the progress we’ve made, potentially bringing us back to the dark days of spring when people were dying by the scores every day. A wealthy democratic society that cares for the vulnerable would not be so reckless. Unfortunately, I fear that our self-centered and inequitable society is incapable of the collective sacrifice and shared sense of purpose that is required to adapt to this challenge and emerge stronger. Instead we expect others – caregivers, educators, grocery store workers – to risk their lives so that we can delude ourselves with the illusion of normalcy.
We live in a condo association and have fortunately paid off our mortgage. No one in our building has gotten the virus knock on wood. I have been ordering CloroxWipes and Purell and Microban 24 from Amazon and Ebay. We have tons of masks and give them to our neighbors. We meet with our doctors via Zoom or with a facemask. My mother who lives in San Diego hasn’t left the house in 10 days and she has COPD and she used to be a smoker.
I wish we knew more about this disease. Consistent policy would help. National Pediatric groups feel that in person school is safe, particularly for those under 10. There should not be too much debate about this. We should at least open elementary schools.
Why did we allow marijuana dispensaries and liquor stores to open but not churches? Why Walmart but not a lot of small businesses.
Other than the nursing homes, Massachusetts has had a reasonable response. Hopefully we can make this as fair as possible for everyone and allow more businesses to open taking precautions.
I am enormously frustrated by the people who are casual about mask-wearing – mask over the chin, no mask at all. Masks and social distancing have clearly reduced the transmission rate significantly, but the moment we relax the virus will roar back. And people are relaxing way too fast. Personally I’m anticipating at least 2 more crises before we get a vaccine, even in the best case – there will be one in September as college activity kicks up, and another in ~January when we inevitably relax from that wave. Then if we’re really lucky a vaccine (or vaccines) will roll out in ~March, and if it works well enough and enough people take it outbreaks will start to be less common by ~July. I just don’t know how we’ll get through another year of this. The only thing that would shorten the timeline is a national 4-5 week shutdown followed by rabid contact tracing, but that’s not going to happen under this administration.
Governor Baker has done a very good job with this virus. Our state is one of the models for the rest of this country. It is not perfect but nothing is. However for school aged children it is very difficult. Their school buildings just cannot accomodate the protections needed to keep them and the school staff safe. The Districts should impose virtual learning until there is a vaccination. ( Dr. Fauci is cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccination sometime in the beginning of 2021) I think we have to hold on with respect to the schools opening until that vaccination comes into play. With respect to the courts they are doing a great job. Just about everything is done remotely. We have to face science and realize there is a wait until this dangerous virus is conquered by the vaccination. We all may be behind in school, with our legal proceedings,with our work, financially etc. but if we follow the scientific protocals we will all be alive to catch up when this virus is controlled by the medical community with a vaccination. Staying alive is the goal without that nothing is possible.
No one mentions special needs people and how these citizens have been totally forgotten! With all the unused schools, gyms, theaters, auditorium s and outdoor facilities available it’s obvious no one thinks out of the box or cares about the most vulnerable and most effected group of all. We hear how kids need to get back to school, my son who is a autistic 22 year old man has been forgotten. Autistic people thrive on structure and routine , neither have been respected . His program was closed in March , no communication of any value was offered until a few weeks ago, and unused spaces were left vacant.
My employer is considering more flexibility for works to continue to work more from home. I support this. Generally people did not think more than a day or two of telework was allowed. We now have evidence that it can be successful. I was in the camp of I could never work from home, but now I feel differently. I think I could work mainly from home travel in when necessary. I only live 5 miles from work and my commute on mass transit was 35 minutes on the rare good day. spending a hour+ in the commute for 10 miles of travel is crazy and I am not sure I can go back to it.
At 77 I’ve never witnessed anything so deadly in my life.
160,000 Thousand People DEAD in 6 months and another 160 DEAD expected by December 2020. And everyone is running around with their heads up the butts; LIKE LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER.
BU & BC have insufficient guidelines for all of there students who will soon be living in Allston/Brighton and will not be following the governors or the mayors guidelines. Many seniors will again have to quarantine at home. or be killed by these college students
I am very concerned about the college openings. Several student apartments moved into my immediate neighborhood for August first, NONE wore masks, and the parental figures with them did not either. We have one of the lowest infection/death rates in the city of Boston because we have excellent compliance with masks, handwashing, social distancing, and controlled openings. We are about to infect the entire world in the service of BU, BC and Harvard among others. Let’s show some real love and stand up to the Corporate Universities for once.
I strongly agree with you regarding the University openings. The official word from BC – if a student who lives off campus tests positive (during their mandatory testing that takes place the last week of August), the student is to return to the off-campus apartment and self-quarantine. What are the chances that would work out successfully? We’re all sitting ducks right now. The influx of BC students will be complete as of 8/28. I am sad to say that I believe by January, they’ll all be sent home, after entirely infecting our communities. Not on purpose, just by the sheer numbers. The almighty dollar brought them back, along with entitlements and shortsightedness. The Universities lose BIG money without the room and board.
Agreed with both of you. Let’s hope the students get sent home in less than a month. My partner, a graduate of Harvard thinks that wealthy universities like them need to contribute more financially to the state. They cry poverty when their endowments go down, but they are still extremely well-off compared to state universities and small businesses.
The universities must be made to pay for this. In punishment they should be stripped of all nonprofit status and perks.
The college opening is a huge concern. Just some additional information here on reopening plans.
I agree with Will Clifford ….I am older too….in the past older generations did what was necessary to work & feed families… Many
Went to University to improve our lives & America,! No time
to protest!…. Science proves that Children better get back to
School soon ….damage psychocially irrevocable
The number of new cases was going steadily down in June (and early July?) to around 100 per day; but in the past 2-3 weeks it has started to go up again so now it’s more like 200-350 per day. I think we should go back to Phase 2, which obviously had the desired effect of bringing the numbers down.
I agree that opening schools is the most important thing; how can people work properly, from home or in person, if their children are at home?
I’m a senior (82) and the pandemic has made me a shut-in. My neighbors are all working at home. I don’t take Lyft any more because I have no confidence that the previous passenger wore a mask. It is unrealistic to expect the driver to force anyone to do anything. I worry about almost everything – easy to do when you don’t see or talk to anyone in days. I get everything delivered which is good because I no longer drive and don’t have a car. Life, under Covid, is unpleasant at best, but there is nothing to do until we have medicines to control it. Government can only do so much and I don’t expect it to find solutions for me.
I am concerned the people who need help the most will not be filling out this survey. I think of my neighbors, a family with four school age kids. The dad drives Uber and Lyft. The mother does not speak English. I worry they will lose their home and that they may not know the resources available to them. And I don’t really know them well enough to broach that subject with them.
Indeed, there is a large group of people who are not represented in this survey.
Both people in my house are at this point gainfully employed full time and for this we are very grateful. However, we both have to both leave our home to work. With school starting soon how we will juggle schooling is a HUGE challenge. This will be true no matter if the school he attends goes full time remote or hybrid. Our child is a special needs student who has been placed by our school district in a classroom located in another community 40 minutes away. Remote school this spring was really challenging. No new learning happened, regression occurred. While teachers tried, it is impossible to deliver Speech, PT and OT services. The community where our child attends has not yet decided whether they will go fully remote of hybrid. The hybrid model is proposed as two (2) half days a week. as the hybrid model. 1) How will we both continue to work? 2) The thought of sending him to school is nothing less than very concerning given a) what is going on in other states that have already reopened; b) the Town where he goes is not in a wealthy community and I worry about ventilation issues etc. I worry that communities with less wealth will not be able to address this issue as compared to wealthier communities. This is a real equity issue for the communities of the Commonwealth. What, if anything, can the Governor and Legislature do anything to level the playing field?; c) There is a 40 minute he van ride to/from where we live. Last year 5 people rode on the van to school. We have heard nothing from our the school district or the van company as to protocols and procedures to keep students, our child safe during transport. My partner and I are in higher risk category for COVID. Assuming we felt comfortable having him attend school, transporting our child ourselves would be very difficult given his school is in the opposite direction of where we both work. How much do we take? Transport would be over an hour each day for only 2-3 hours of learning? To say the least no choice is good but we will have to make one.
Two final thoughts: 1) I wish the survey had asked about the mental health toll of folks and 2) I totally agree and want to reitterate what Julie said above “you asked about opening too fast combined with people doing acting inappropriately. Those are separate questions. I think if people were acting with care, opening wouldn’t have been too fast, but with people congregating and not wearing masks, we’re at great risk.
Also asking about opening too fast didn’t specify if you were asking about past or future. So far I’ve felt that opening pace was reasonable. But the prospect of children and teachers returning to school, often in badly ventilated buildings, in addition to college students and faculty returning to the state with likelihood of congregating, often indoors, without mask wearing, feels WAY too risky given how this virus spreads.”
I appreciate these comments.
Mostly what we can do is send money to the districts most in need and we are doing the best we can with that — avoiding cuts in local aid, even as our revenues go down. https://willbrownsberger.com/supporting-municipalities/
There is no enforcement of any mandates. People in my neighborhood are having parties, beaches are jammed, cops wearing masks under their noses, construction crews with no masks, etc. We opened too fast and September will be a nightmare. No way are the schools safe. Not enough info on buildings, not enough PPE, and a lot of denial about how severe this disease can be, even for younger people. Long lasting damage. Baker needs to enforce his bans. Terrified of colleges reopening. No leadership federally and Baker needs to go back and shut down gyms, no groups larger then 10, etc. Testing delay is a joke. I feel for families but This can be a crippling disease, even if it doesn’t kill you.
We are opening everything way too fast. WAY WAY WAY WAY TOO FAST. ESPECIALLY SCHOOLS. What is the rush? Masks must be mandatory everywhere – inside and outside.
I feel the state is opening too fast under the current circumstances by which I mean that universal testing and tracing isn’t being implemented in order to quarantine those who are carrying the virus. The argument that businesses need to reopen is true but then those who make that point should also agree to testing and tracing.
Your bias is evident in the wording of your survey questions. Economy is not the only reason for ending this poorly reasoned lockdown, which has become a field day for NIMBY busybodies. Looking at responses, I also see no acknowledgment of higher ed’s essential role in the social fabric of Greater Boston. I hope that college students who vote in this district will take note come election time.
I agree about your comment about higher education, as I work in an underfunded state university in Massachusetts. But college students need to comply with mask wearing and social distancing, and right now from their moving-in behavior as pointed out in this discussion, it is clear that they are not doing so! There was a NY Times article this past spring about how young adults age 18-22 have a very low risk threshold meaning that they are willing to take risks easily for their own gratification (and in this case it would be at the expense of others).
Thank you. That is fair critique — we have to recognize all the costs of not opening at the same time as we recognize the concerns.
Hello, I believe we are opening way too fast. People need to get a grip and put things into perspective. This culture can be so self absorbed and short-sighted. I like to think that we have a lot of intelligent folks around here, but unfortunately that can also render self-entitlement. Science can be scary and it has been such a shame that the mask-less have been misled down a road of nonsensical conspiracy theories. Could you imagine how things could be if the country was guided with compassion and smarts? I truly wish us all the best.
Thank you, Senator, for providing this avenue.
Yes, thanks to Mr. Brownsberger for reading, listening, and hopefully influencing important decisions and changes.
Like others, I am
concerned about taking public transport. So far, I can work from home, but eventually I may be asked to commute to work onsite, and I don’t drive. Am just a bit too far (an hour) to walk every day, due to knee and hip issues. But in pre-pandemic times, my bus (#71 route) was crowded at best, and I don’t hear any discussion of how to deal with that issue. It’s concerning.
We need to accept that it will take at least one year and probably two before a vaccine will be universally available. We can’t stay shut down that whole time – but we can go safely back to work and school almost immediately if 1) everybody faithfully wears a mask in public, 2) people going to work or school can get rapidly tested once or twice a week (the test exists now and costs about $1 per test), and 3) people accept contact tracing and quarantining when a contact has tested positive. This a small price to pay for getting society back on track now. And it’s a heck of a lot better than the “magical thinking” that somehow we’ll muddle through for a few months until we’re “saved” by the vaccine.
Masks must be mandatory inside and outside. I have growing concerns about college students returning to Boston from states that don’t require mask wearing. I’ve seen more college aged people not wearing masks since August 1. This will not help our schools open any sooner!
While I am satisfied with the governor’s covid-19 management to date, I worry that the strictly voluntary measures of controlling visitors from other states will not be enough. Germany is instituting mandatory free virus tests for all travelers coming from countries with high rates. We should do the same, and tighten other measures e.g. masks, bar hours, etc
I am well insulated from uncertainty in my own life but am so strained by what I am now understanding about systematic racism and how it infects all aspects of our lives literally. It is a heartbreaking thing to become aware of while many of us can’t really do much to help.
Mixing politics with the pandemic has been reckless. Our elected officials need to focus on what people need, not what will get them reelected. It’s okay for hundreds to gather for demonstrations; why don’t they have to adhere to limits like places of worship and retail establishments? The children need to return to school, so let’s figure out the best way to do it for everyone. I’m a public school teacher who has taught for 32 years and wants to be back teaching in person. I appreciate the opportunity to express my opinion.
I don’t believe we have hit the bottom of the fall-out, which is what alarms me more than needing to feel secure right now. Nothing is going to be the same as before, but some things were begging to be changed. Covid is such a departure from “normal”, it hasn’t felt good to review how we do everything. What has felt good, has been testing out what being a ‘cage free’ worker feels like. For some it has been the opposite – and home has become a new form of testing ground.
My hope is that we will re-build ourselves a robust and nimble new future. One that is better for the environment and both economically and socially sustainable. I hope for smart use of resources because we count them all meaningfully. I hope for smart use of space – so when you risk your life to be close together, there’s responsibility for managing those risks. I also hope for learning how to be better citizens to one another when there are fewer resources.
Thanks as always for listening to your constituents, collecting and analyzing feedback in thoughtful manner, and keeping us updated about government decisions and potential actions.
Re: stage reopening, anecdotally I have observed random groups of individuals not wearing masks despite being in the same vicinity as many mask wearing folks. For ex. in Belmont Center almost all everyone wears a mask but occasionally I’ll observe a group of 15-20 individuals hanging out together and not wearing masks. I think there’s an absence of signage very clearly stating “wear a mask at all times” – and we should have federal and state and local mandates re: masks.
One comment re: communizing – it seems premature to assess and move forward with the major highway project at Allston before we’re able to determine the long term effect of Covid on commenting, i.e. how can the state pick one of the three planks if the mix of car-public transport-bike-foot traffic changes.
The trouble is that project has a hard deadline of when the current viaduct might fail.
Yes. That project is under time pressure. But broadly, I do think we need to factor in the permanent changes in commuting patterns that this pandemic has accelerated. The survey results strongly indicate a big shift.
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