Doctors know much more about how to treat COVID and the health care system itself is no longer at risk of being overwhelmed by patients or being destabilized as a result of health care workers becoming infected.
Places like nursing homes, where vulnerable people group together, have better equipment and protocols to control infection.
The actual prevalence of COVID has continued to drop.
What exactly is happening?
Business restrictions are ending as of May 29.
The general emergency Massachusetts mask mandate ends as of May 29.
People are encouraged to follow CDC guidance (advice not law) on masks
Mask mandates for all (both vaccinated and un-vaccinated) will continue in certain crowded settings. These continuing mask mandates are issued under permanent licensing and other regulatory authority, as opposed to the temporary emergency authority.
Public transportation, including MBTA, ride share, taxis, air travel, etc. (CDC order continues)
Businesses and institutions and municipalities may impose stricter requirements if they feel they need to.
What more needs to be done?
We need to continue efforts to expand vaccine to all adult populations in the Commonwealth. 975 locations are open to provide vaccinations in Massachusetts and affirmative outreach is underway.
We need to continue efforts to protect economically vulnerable people as the economy recovers from a recession that has especially harmed businesses that employ people at lower wage levels.
We need to make permanent some of the changes that have facilitated continued functioning of businesses and institutions through the emergency — for example, virtual participation in public meetings, virtual notarization of documents, virtual town meetings. The Governor left the emergency formally in place until June 15 to allow these rule changes.
The medical profession and research scientists have made huge progress in preventing and treating COVID, but they have a lot of work to do to fully tame this disease over the years to come.
We have to remain vigilant and continue surveillance testing to identify the emergence of any new variants that might defeat the vaccines.