It’s on all of us

When we begin to reopen, whenever that occurs, we will all need to accept continued personal responsibility for controlling the spread of COVID-19. 

Governor Baker faces difficult judgment calls about the pacing of reopening.  Without expressing an opinion on the particulars of his judgment calls, he is taking fundamentally the right approach – namely, an incremental and data-driven approach.  

For all the reasons that we had to shut down, the potential consequences of re-opening too fast are unacceptable.  Given the risk of a catastrophic second surge, the only safe way to proceed is incrementally.  We will want to open in phases and evaluate the disease statistics daily for any early indication of an upswing. 

As we slowly reopen while the virus is still at large in the community, it will be more important than ever to do the basic things that all the public health professionals tell us will reduce the rate of transmission:  Wear masks, don’t touch our faces, wash our hands frequently and especially after making contact with high touch surfaces, stay home when we feel sick, work from home whenever we can, maintain physical distance from each other. 

Some businesses and employers will need to change their operations to support more distancing.  If the conclusion is that people have to come in, can they come in on some kind of shift system?  Does everyone need to come together at the same time? 

The Governor  bears primary responsibility for pacing the reopening, but it will be on all of us to take the personal precautions that will make the reopening work.  People managing the work of others will bear special responsibility for protecting their employees.  Customer-facing business managers will bear special responsibility for protecting their customers.  The testing, hospitalization and death rate numbers will tell us whether we are all being careful enough to make the governor’s reopening work. 

There has been a lot of discussion about the role of testing and contact tracing as a strategy for controlling the epidemic.  The state has made huge progress in the expansion of testing.  We had lab capacity for only a couple of hundred tests per day at the start of the epidemic.  We have built the lab capacity to do over 30,000 tests per day in a few frenetic weeks.    

Despite the increased lab capacity, we are tending to test only about 10,000 people per day.  The Governor has announced targets of testing 45,000 people per day by the end of July and 75,000 by the end of December.   

The further expansion of lab capacity will be relatively easy.  Recruiting enough people to get tested will be the challenge that may keep us from achieving Governor’s stated goals.  A consortium of  consultants and experts has prepared a widely-circulated presentation about strategy for reopening.  Although we have already hired 1000 contact tracers, the consortium suggests that our contact tracing operation might have to expand ten fold to trace and test enough contacts to control the epidemic. 

The consortium presentation also highlights the importance of the speed of tracing and testing.  We have to catch people early in their infection cycle.    If we don’t catch them quickly, they may continue to move around and infect others for several days before they become aware of their disease.  As we open up, tracing will get harder and harder because infected people will have more known contacts to trace and also more untraceable anonymous contacts. 

While the consortium endorses the goal of widespread testing, the take away from their presentation is that it is going to be very difficult to achieve the scale and rapidity of testing that we need to control the epidemic. 

We will succeed in rebuilding our economy only through a carefully staged reopening and sustained adherence by all of us to personal practices and lifestyle choices that control transmission of the disease.

Published by Will Brownsberger

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

95 replies on “It’s on all of us”

  1. The leadership is wrecking the economy to save a few hundred under age 60. More effort to protect our elderly and people in projects. Less shutting down the economy. We will be careful we don’t need the government telling us what to do. We don’t ban driving that kills hundreds. We accept and mitigate the risks. Staying home is not the right strategy!!

    1. With all due…respect sir; Questions… “The leadership is wrecking the economy to save a few hundred under age 60.” Where would you set the tipping point number of deaths ?…and what are you sources for the “few hundred” figure.
      “We don’t ban driving that kills hundreds. We accept and mitigate the risks.”…Driving is highly regulated both from the perspective of the driver and the vehicle…Are you old enough to remember driving without seatbelts ? …which caused quite the uproar when it was mandated. And it has been pointed out in numerous discussions that I am aware of, that driving accidents are not a contagion, nor easily transmittable.
      “We will be careful we don’t need the government telling us what to do.” Do you really believe that as far as living in a commonwealth, town or neighborhood that no policing, volunteer fire depts., and traffic control, emergency services is neither needed or safe in a taxpayers’ based economy; we will just all be careful ?

      1. I’ve seen people lining up (6 feet) at entranceway. This does the trick

    2. You may find the government in New Hampshire more to your liking, but then again, every time I drive through there the cops are everywhere handing out speeding tickets.

    3. The road death rate is a terrible analogy; I don’t accept it, we’re bad at road safety compared to other countries and could do better. We drive badly (per-mile) and then we drive too many miles.

      And “not staying home” may be what you want to happen, but until the infection rate is down, until we have solid testing in place, until we’re good about wearing masks in public (every time I wait in line to buy groceries, I look at other people, I look at how many are wearing cheater masks, how many have their noses uncovered), I’ll default to staying home.

    4. We’ve had high flu death counts in the past, but I don’t recall any lockdowns.
      There are now about 86K Covid-19 deaths, and we regret every one of them.
      But the H3N2 flu in the 1960s killed about 100K here in America. And regular flus kill tens of thousands every year.

      Damaging the economy damages people too and probably kills lots of them.

      No one has bothered to explain any of this. That’s the point.

      We live in a region with great scientific expertise and no one knows.
      We are doing damage without any scientific explanation.
      And many contrary views are being kicked off the worldwideweb so that people who disagree are not being heard.
      There is a blackout, censoring.

      1. No one has bothered to explain any of this.

        It’s not that no one has bothered to explain any of this. It’s that people like you are listening to propaganda instead of explanations.

        But the H3N2 flu in the 1960s killed about 100K here in America.

        The total death count in the US from the H3N2 flu in 1969-70 was about 100k. COVID-19 has already exceeded that death count in three months. The data available to us indicates that COVID-19 is ten times as deadly as the flu.

        Furthermore, some of the population already had some immunity to the H3N2 flu before it hit us in 1969-70, which reduced its mortality. In contrast, there is no evidence that anyone in the US had any immunity to COVID-19 before the current outbreak.

        What all this means is that without any precautions, every single one of us is going to be infected, and at least a million people, and more likely several million people, will die. If we don’t keep the curve flat, more people will die because of lack of resources to treat them. None of this is debatable; it’s scientific fact.

        Furthermore, there is mounting evidence, quite reliable at this point, that among people who survive COVID-19, many suffer permanent damage to their health. This did not happen with H3N2.

        And regular flus kill tens of thousands every year.

        Again: tens of thousands per year, compared two over a hundred thousand in three months. Again: COVID-19 is ten times as deadly as the flu.

        Damaging the economy damages people too and probably kills lots of them.

        We still have food, water, sewer service, electricity, gas, and yes, even toilet paper, across the country. In the coming months there may be some shortages, but not enough to kill anyone, unless we as a society decide to allow that to happen because political partisanship is more important than giving people the money they need to survive.

        Nobody needs to be “damaged” or die as a result of the measures we are taking to lessen the impact of the pandemic.

        Damaging the economy doesn’t need to damage people, because we can prevent that through social and financial policy measures. The fact that our leaders in Washington are choosing not to do that is part of the problem, not the solution.

        Furthermore, “people’s lives vs. the economy” is a false choice. The only way to save the economy is to beat down the pandemic. Trying to reopen the economy without first beating the pandemic won’t work. More people will die, and the economy will still be in the toilet.

        We live in a region with great scientific expertise and no one knows.

        This is simply not true.

        We know. People spend their entire lives researching pandemics. It’s called epidemiology, it’s a branch of science, look it up. The way COVID-19 is behaving is not a surprise to the experts. We aren’t in a knowledge vacuum. We understand wehat’s going on, and we understand what needs to be done to minimize loss of life. Not everything, no, but a hell of a lot more than you are claiming. And we’re learning more every day, and what we’re learning is confirming that if we don’t continue to take precautions, people will die unnecessarily.

        The Trump administration is engaging in the propaganda technique perfected by the USSR and employed by Putin to this very day, colloquially known as flooding the zone with shit. Generate so much contradictory and confusing information that a double-digit percentage of the population becomes incapable of discerning truth from falsehood, throws up their hands, and proclaims, “no one knows.”

        It’s not true.

        Expertise matters. History matters. Knowledge matters. Science matters. Truth matters. We know what to do.

        And many contrary views are being kicked off the worldwideweb so that people who disagree are not being heard. There is a blackout, censoring.

        And yet here you are spewing your ignorant propaganda talking points and no one is “kicking you off the worldwideweb [sic]” or censoring you.

        Imagine that.

          1. Mr. Kamens,
            Thanks for your thoughtful response and explanation. We need people like you in politics whether it is running for office or working with a good leader.

  2. I think the widely varying risk levels by age groups and health status need to be a major driver of the strategy. Those at lowest risk can and should be the bulk of the workforce that ramps up our activity, and we should continue (and expand as needed) protections for those that are most vulnerable, whether or not herd immunity or a vaccine ever arrive It may be difficult to implement a plan that calls for variations based on individual circumstances, but there will be substantial inequity – economic and mortal – if we attend mostly to either the low risk or the high risk group’s needs. We need to think of this situation as needing constant active management over a long period of time – a chronic disease as opposed to acute. Accumulating expertise and mastery in balancing sometimes competing interests in analysis and decision making seems like the road to achieving optimal outcomes.

  3. I just came across a petition to Baker to include reps from affected communities on the task force – seems appropriate also for the consortium which is top-heavy with Bain, Merck, Ropes & Gray, and high-end academia. Not going to include the petition link, but here’s the call to action:
    “Please sign the petition to urge Governor Baker to protect essential employees and frontline communities in reopening plans, and balance his Advisory Board with folks who are experts on public health and community impacts, not CEOs.”

    1. Yes. I sure the concern that the reopening board was heavy on business leaders and light on other categories. But just be clear, the consulting group is not the same as the reopening board.

  4. Hi Will,
    I have the greatest respect for you and for the character exhibited by Governor Baker, especially in view of the schools decision. We could face a second wave, different s or l type mutated viruses, of greater potency. I suggest day night social business distancing in order to get things open and working, placing time on our side. About 25 per cent of our businesses are essential, so this opens, on at least a part=time basis, the other 75 per cent. So, of these, half opens during the day, half opens at night or evening hours. Of these, no store can be next to another store, except for large retailers. Also, more people could be allowed in a store than now. A second wave could be really bad – infecting up to 60 per cent of population, without immunity. We are again looking at the Spanish reported flu, so named because the Spanish were the first to report the contagion. As against this, we will have perhaps 15 mutations, 5 or 6 cures, and the coronavirus is susceptible to alcohol, disrupting virus replication. Social, and business social distancing saves us. I suggest that time be placed on the side of the population through day night opening business social distancing. This is not vague at all. No lives are to be listed as all are important. We are going to see much, much worse. We must use the warm months to prepare. We must be warfare that this is a military virus which causes 4 weeks after cures unless statins are taken which lowers that risk.
    We need to understand that we are facing a population defoliant which could infect us to 60 per cent and then kill us off. Again, I suggest social business distancing so that we open intelligently, as safely as possible, and in a way that shows that we care for our families, our neighbors, and community.
    If allowed to do so, let me please thank you and the Government, requesting all to be as safe as possible. Thank you for your message.

    1. Mr. Brownsberger, We have talked in the past on universal healthcare.
      I am admittedly and 100 % for universal healthcare as it is far more efficient and it covers all of us as it should because we are all deserving of it. As you can see it is also the only logical was of handling situations like this. You however insisted that you did not believe in universal healthcare because of your personal experience with brain cancer and you thought your care would have been less with universal insurance. Do you still not believe that universal health insurance is the logical and sensible way to go?

      1. Hi David, I don’t recall that conversation. It doesn’t sound like things I would have meant to say. I do believe that everyone should have access to health care. How we get there is complicated and there is a lot of confusion about that. But I absolutely feel everyone should have access to health care.

    2. Hi Representative Brownsberger,
      The State needs to implement resources to all businesses and it is imperative that lawmakers be accountable for their actions and words as well as transparent throughout the country and statewide.
      The disparities throughout community is critical and public health care and safety. The MBTA is draining money, nursing homes need to be investigated for deplorable living conditions, throughout Boston. Housing is a widespread discrepancy as well as health care. I would ask the Mayor and Gov Baker to be mindful.
      The virus is a opportunity to restore systems and policy and ethics. Congress is not doing enough and the government administration are incompetent.

      Take care,

  5. My comment might not be relavant but it is an observation that is gratifying; 99.9 % of individuals that I see on the bicycle and pedestrian paths around the Watertown Sq-Nonantum-No Beacon-Charles River Road circuit are wearing face masks. Some persist in maintaining their “individuality” sans protective masks, and one can only speculate at to their banal motivation(s). Senator Will, a salute for your continued efforts to receive comments from your constituants and maintaining a open diolouge.

  6. Thanks for these thoughtful comments. Two quick points: 1) It might be useful to add some new messaging as we go through this, even if we know it, I’m not sure everyone understands i.e. “flattening the curve” is good, but it only means hospitals aren’t overwhelmed, and infection is not rapidly increasing. It doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, it doesn’t mean we are way down on infections, it doesn’t mean there won’t be deaths–some people I’ve talked to, truly don’t understand this. 2) Along with steps to re-open, let’s be thinking about how we want to be going forward, lots of good thinking about use of open space, fewer cars, open streets to pedestrians; really encouraging local farms and CSA’s; making contact tracing a job which can employ, equitably, folks who are permanently job less, or likely to be; encouraging business to, when they can, find or help build local supply chains, just a few examples. We should not re-open quickly, so we have a brief window to work on some of these. Thanks! Nikki

  7. Always glad to hear coherent logic from an elected official!

    There are a number of other things that need to happen:

    1. First, we need to recognize that money, not science, is the reason we are reopening now. We are just barely seeing a more encouraging slope, and that has been driven by the lockdown. The curve will spike up as soon as we reopen. (Everyone seems to have forgotten this global pandemic started with a bad lunch in a single neighborhood in China.) The people lobbying for reopening don’t care; their primary goal is to kick employees off unemployment insurance by offering work that could kill them, then firing anyone who refuses. We have to ban this sleight of hand trick before we reopen. Extend UI for currently furloughed employees who refuse to return to work until some later specified stage.

    2) Businesses are being forced to confront the bad behavior of a portion of their customer base. Shoppers have been endangering minimum wage workers with pushy, dangerous behavior born out of some misbegotten sense of freedumb, and now even Yelp-shy businesses are posting firm warnings to obey the rules. Stores seem to remain a major vector of transmission and we need some temporary regulation that empowers not only managers but workers to enforce the rules.

    3. Food distribution will remain a problem for vulnerable individuals. Can the state host a come to Jesus meeting with food and delivery industry businesses to see if we can improve capacity and access without forcing people into Whole Foods Market basket?

    4. The total lack of a federal communication plan is unsurprising but the state needs to do more as well. There are plenty of local ad agencies sitting idly by who could be tapped for some pro bono work to create online and offline campaigns to explain the rules, increase the adoption of masks and combat misinformation. Memos won’t hack it.

    As always, thanks for staying engaged with voters.

      1. Those question marks were supposed to be the clapping emoji but apparently the system doesn’t recognize them.
        Great points and I enjoyed your dark humor.

  8. Thank you Senator Will for your recommendations and your wisdom as well as our Governor Baker.
    I believe firmly that we will
    overcome this cowardly disease that killed the weakest of us, a huge number of those in the elderly home centers.
    Stay safe and healthy.

    1. The disease is neutral. It is systemic inequalities, especially for Black and Brown people, disabled folks, elders, and those living with financial instability/poverty that are suffering and dying the most. It is our greed, personal sense of entitlement, and disregard/lack of empathy for our fellow human beings that is to blame for the vast majority of these deaths. All of the flaws and weaknesses of our current modus operandi are being exposed. It is well past time for us to be the ethical, caring people that we want to believe ourselves to be and to make permanent changes to the way we operate on macro and micro levels to build a society that is fair and just.

      1. The disease does not necessarily look neutral. Vitamin D deficiencies appear to be an important driver of severe reactions, and these deficiencies are common among people with dark skin at more northern latitudes. (White people literally exist to better harvest the slanted rays of a northern sun, according to some scientists.) Also, black people seem to have a more difficult time coping with oxidative stress following viral infection. This information comes from published studies in highly reputable journals that my background in dissecting frogs for high school biology don’t quite equip me to critique, but actual experts seem to deem them credible. If true, I think this is another example of our pathetic public communications efforts.

  9. James’s comments make sense thank you. Remember the virus can come in through our ? eyes also.
    People need to work to survive. The rate of depression is sky rocketing. Towns should cut taxes some as we are not using all the services now. Hopefully vaccines will come soon. Fresh air is good for people and exercise. I wonder about spraying business’s down ever few hours might help? Stay safe! Everyone’s opinion counts
    God Bless!

  10. Thank you so much Senator Brownsberger for continually keeping us informed and engaged in everything that is happening. It is very refreshing and much appreciated during these difficult and too often uncivil times.

  11. Great summary and I too support the Governor’s approach. I hear too many acting like they know what is best. Like any major decision, the Gov.’s decisions may be proven to be incorrect at some point in the future, but he’s the Gov. and he’s proven that he’s listens to all points of view before proceeding. He’s especially concerned about causing a significant spike in deaths. Maybe he’s fearful he will be blamed. That’s ok, as long as he keeps up his attention to the science, the medical, and the economy and balances the needs of all.

    “The testing, hospitalization and death rate numbers will tell us whether we are all being careful enough to make the governor’s reopening work.” I’m think I know what you mean, but I’m concerned that there that will be too many opinions at to what constitutes success or failure. For example, the Chamber of Commerce might look at the number of jobs to measure success, while hospitals might look at deaths. It might not be practical, but the Gov. should be a little clearer as to how he is judging success (specific metrics) before moving to additional phases. I understand the reluctance, but without those metrics the debate will continue and there might not be any meaningful conversation.
    Face coverings – can’t individual communities pass ordinances to require them? Or would that take a State Law?

    Many arts and cultural institutions may not open this year, or if they do, only on a very limited basis with strict physical distancing.

    Thanks for keeping the conservation going.

  12. Reading between the lines, I think it’s clear that Will expects Baker to announce at least a partial easing of the shelter-in-place order on Monday. Although I’m not surprised, I am 100% convinced that if our primary concern is protecting people’s lives — rather than the economy — then it’s far too early for this. To be blunt, if Baker eases the shelter-in-place on Monday, then people are going get sick and die unnecessarily.

    Without expressing an opinion on the particulars of his judgment calls…

    Will, I’ve been a fan and supporter of yours for many years, and I know that your primary m.o. is to build bridges and try to understand others’ point of view, but in these extraordinary, life-or-death times, I’d ask you to consider speaking out a bit more strongly. In other words, please do “express an opinion about the particulars of [Baker’s] judgment.” Do you, or do you not, believe that we should start easing the shelter-in-place on Monday? You have access to all the same data as Baker, and you’re just as smart as he is, so your opinion is every bit as valuable as his.

    We will want to open in phases and evaluate the disease statistics daily for any early indication of an upswing.

    I really don’t understand this “wait-and-see” shell game that people are playing. We know what will happen if we reopen now. There will be an upswing. The data on this is clear and incontrovertible at the scale we’re discussing. All of the reputable epidemiologists are in agreement on this. Why are we pretending there’s an unanswered question here?

    The Governor bears primary responsibility for pacing the reopening…

    Why? The legislature has a Democratic super-majority. If the legislature believes that the governor is proposing to ease the shelter-in-place too soon, you can pass a law requiring for it to continue, overriding a veto if necessary. Why are you relinquishing your power at a time when it could literally save lives?

    While the consortium endorses the goal of widespread testing, the take away from their presentation is that it is going to be very difficult to achieve the scale and rapidity of testing that we need to control the epidemic.

    Will, this is a fine example of your distinctive style of understatement.

    Let’s be clear: we are not going to be able to achieve the scale and rapidity of testing that we need to control the epidemic, and therefore if we start easing up on the shelter-in-place order now, there will be another spike, and more people will die. None of this is legitimately debatable by anyone interested in the truth rather than in being polite.

    Even Baker’s best-case scenario of 75,000 tests per day by the end of the year won’t be enough.

    I wrote this recently on twitter on the question of reopening schools in the fall:

    There are ~1.4 million students in MA schools and colleges, which can’t safely reopen unless all students and staff are tested regularly. At 75k tests per day, it’ll take nearly 3 weeks to test just the students, during which there’s no capacity to test anyone else.

    If there’s still a substantial number of new infections daily by then, then some of the students will become infected and contagious after they’re tested before there’s capacity to test them again, likely causing an outbreak at their school.

    For K-12 schools and commuter colleges, the outbreak won’t just be among the students; it will travel home and friends and relatives outside of school will also be infected. This doesn’t seem to lead anywhere but much more infections and deaths than we have now.

    It *may* be safe for residential schools to reopen as long as students are required to live on campus and not have contact with anyone outside of the school community, and everyone in the school community is retested regularly, but that will exceed the state’s testing capacity.

    Also, it will be impossible for residential schools in urban areas to enforce “no contact with anyone outside of the school community” rules. There’s no question that students will violate the rules.

    @PresidentAoun claims that @Northeastern in Boston will be able to reopen in the fall, but I just don’t see how it can be done safely given @MassGovernor’s statement about testing capacity and the other factors I’ve described.

    1. People are going to get sick and die via Covid, the flu, etc. We cannot close our economy because a few may die from opening it but we do need a logical approach that balances work and Covid containment to minimize risks (not eliminate it). The federal governmnet cannot continue to provide teh COVID safety net for uch longer.

      1. No one is saying that completely eliminating risk from the virus is an achievable goal. But we could have and should have saved a hell of a lot more lives than we have so far, and we can and should save as many lives as possible moving forward.

        The faith I practice and my moral compass tell me that saving even a single human life is more important than anything else in the world, certainly including “the economy.” Our goal should be saving lives, not saving money.

        The federal government hasn’t provided any sort of meaningful “safety net.” The vast majority of what it has done so far is to waste money bailing out corporations that we didn’t actually need to be bailing out to protect the economy. The assistance provided to individuals has been far too little and far too low compared to what was needed and what has been done in other countries. We’re admitting defeat before even trying to win.

        Money is a social construct. The government could certainly provide a meaningful safety net for as long as necessary if they chose to do so. So far they have not. Our elected representatives will own their failure and the resulting deaths for the rest of history.

        All the data and history available to us makes it clear that saving lives vs. saving the economy is a false choice. In fact, the best hope of the economy recovering quickly is minimizing the mortality of the pandemic.

        1. Obviously we have some different opinions and that is alright with me. I also value life but as I said before we need balance. BTW Do you not think that the precious COVID relief bills placed a safety net under us? If not, then I guess Dems and Repubs should not have passed thise bills and spent the money.

          1. John, the people on Will’s email list are clearly politically active liberals by and large who, one would guess, can ride out this pandemic either because they work from home, are retired, or have other means of survival, like being an elected official or a civil servant who gets regular paychecks every month.
            You think Joe-6-pack posts here very often?
            The question is not “money” as some wish to phrase it. Jobs, rent, mortgages, medical care/procedures/medicine/appointments, are not about “money” (which the Federal government does not have in any case), but rather lives, education, and health. No, toilet paper is not an issue. That is condescending and a disgrace to even bring that up.
            John, you cannot expect a liberal to understand any of this since their sympathy for the “WORKING class” (an antiquated term that seems to come from the days when inherited wealth held sway) is all talk. They live in a bubble of their own.

            1. …are not about “money” (which the Federal government does not have in any case),

              You do understand that, sort of by definition, the Federal government can “have” as much money as it needs, right? The Federal government can literally print money whenever it needs it.

              Somehow for right-wingers there is always enough money to fight wars and build walls, but never enough to help people who are suffering. Can you explain how that works, exactly?

              the people on Will’s email list are clearly politically active liberals by and large who, one would guess, can ride out this pandemic

              Yup, Leon, you’re right, I’m politically active and liberal and, so far at least, my wife and I both remain employed, and as long as that remains true we will be able to ride out the pandemic.

              We’re privileged, and we know it.

              I would like to hear your explanation of how you get from there to concluding that people like my wife and me don’t care about people who are less well-off than we are. Your argument seems to be that people who aren’t currently suffering during the pandemic can’t possibly care about people who are.

              Tell me something. Do you think President Trump is suffering during the pandemic? He appears to be one of those “elected officials or civil servants who get regular paychecks every month” that you mentioned. Do you think he cares about “Joe-6-pack”?

              If so, then what do you think makes him different from the “liberals” who don’t?

              you cannot expect a liberal to understand any of this since their sympathy for the “WORKING class” (an antiquated term that seems to come from the days when inherited wealth held sway) is all talk

              I hate to break this to you, Leon, but the ony person in this conversation who has used the term “working class” is you.

              But let’s talk about who “is all talk” here. What would you say you’ve done recently to help people less well-off than you are?

              I spend one morning every week using vacation hours from my job to deliver food boxes to people who need them.

              For the duration of the pandemic, my wife and I are diverting all of our retirement savings — approximately $600 per week — and donating it to pandemic relief efforts ($5,400 so far).

              I was arrested last year protesting as part of a civil-disobedience protest against ICE.

              My wife volunteers for an organization that helps ICE detainees.

              I spend a great deal of time advocating for policies and politicians which will help people less well-off than my wife and me.

              How about you, Leon?

              P.S. Were you planning on responding to my other response to you in this conversation, or are you just going to ignore it since I so thoroughly debunked everything you said that there’s no coherent response for you to make, but you’re incapable of admitting you were wrong? I’m just curious.

        2. Jonathan – you wrote: “The faith I practice and my moral compass tell me that saving even a single human life is more important than anything else in the world, certainly including “the economy.”

          The world suffers from overpopulation, which is why this virus has a run of the planet in the first place.

          1. Can we please try to keep eco-fascism to a minimum in this conversation? We’re trying to have a grown-up conversation here. Thanks.
            P.S. Overpopulation — which in any case is a highly debatable concept — has nothing to do with this pandemic.

    2. Thanks, Jon.

      Your thoughts are well taken and I agree the legislature has a role.

      We don’t have anything to react to yet though. I agree that a broad reopening at this stage does not make sense. Our numbers are too high. But is there some dimension of reopening that makes sense? We’ll see.

    3. I too feel that we are not equipped to handle the return of students in the fall. President Aoun’s decision to reopen the classrooms and residential halls at NU seems to be foolhardy. I know that Harvard’s Medical School will continue online teaching in the fall and the university has also suggested that it’s also considering online teaching for its other schools. I think that the Governor should institute a policy that applies across the state at least in the densely populated areas like Boston for ALL schools and colleges to continue with online education in the fall. The public transportation is also hardly ready for the influx of thousands of students. Some scientists have shown concern that even if things ease up now, a second more intense wave of the virus could return in the fall/winter as it did with the Spanish ‘flu.

  13. “Test and trace” needs to include the much more difficult third step, quarantine for anyone identified as having been in contact. This is not a small thing. The risk of infecting your household is high and requires sacrifices from everyone in your household. You can’t physically go to work for two weeks, risking further income loss. And if you do get sick, all of your contacts have to do the same. Many people will struggle with these mandatory requirements. But if they do not follow them, all the testing and tracing will be wasted effort. Please update the message to get people ready for mandatory quarantine as the third step of the more palatable “test and trace” Regimen.

    1. Good point, but I’m not sure the Commonwealth can afford to pay for all the hotel rooms needed to quarantine every contact (10’s of thousands even at the current rate of infection), and Donald Trump and his lackeys in the Senate are certainly not going to let funds for that get in to the next stimulus bill.
      I’m also afraid that the epidemic will soon be getting badly out of hand in rural states, which in turn will seed new cases elsewhere at a very significant rate and make it even more difficult to keep things under control here.

  14. So, I don’t quite understand the bit about recruiting people for testing. My husband very likely had mild signs of COVID-19. He had a persistent cough, sinus pressure and drainage, and eventually weird purple spots on his toes consistent with “COVID toes”. But he never once had a fever. We called his doctor when the toe spots turned up and she told us that he didn’t meet criteria for getting tested. Last weekend, when it turned into an ear infection, we called again and the doctor prescribed antibiotics over the phone, she said that he very likely did have the coronavirus but still didn’t meet the criteria for testing, but he should isolate himself anyway. If we have all this extra testing capacity, why couldn’t he get a test?

  15. We cannot let business interests sacrifice the lives and families of “essential” workers which in addition to first responders include low-wage workers, who tend to be but not always, people of color and immigrants. Gabriel Camacho – Watertown

  16. Will: If we are doing the great job you describe, why is our fatality rate 12X the great state of California? 1,882/39,510,000 Vs 3,916/6,900,000. (14 May CDC #’s).

    12X??? It is not as though CA is a small sample size. It is not as though they did not face a far greater travel load from China, dense cities, etc. But it is worse than that: per the CDC data, on a per-capita basis, we are the 3rd WORST state in the country. (I’m used to seeing Mississippi in that position, not MA) And that is with our enormously highly capable hospital infrastructure with plenty of capacity.

    The 3rd from the bottom Will, the third from the bottom. Why didn’t you and Charlie mention that?? Our performance as a State has SUCKED.

    And what of Sweden? NO lockdown at all and they have experienced a ~50% lower death rate than MA (3,529/10,230,000) and are now far better prepared for the months ahead.

    No, the problem is obvious in that dreadfully bloated consultant “consortium” slide deck: while your team has been focussing on the “theoretical” benefits of virtue-signaling with masks and strangling the despised private sector and prattling about expensive drugs some day in the future, we also adopted the same shameful, disastrous policy as NYC, NJ, etc of sending infected patients to unprepared assisted care facilities (including in Belmont). Your policies and the other eastern elite cities differentially infected the small, vulnerable populations rather than keenly focusing on protecting them.

    Our performance as a State is a disaster and the root cause is a gross mis-direction of efforts. We can and should be protecting the vulnerable, but then, in the broader populations, counting on herd immunity and targeted practical measures, implemented within an open economy, to limit the spread. The extended lockdowns are at best of neutral benefit, but far more likely a net-negative, particularly when the broader adverse impact is accounted for in delayed treatments, depression, suicide, etc.

    But I’m sure you and your “consultants” will keep getting paid and congratulating themselves on their great work while they bleed the state white with the policy equivalent of leeches and blood-letting.

    1. There is no reputable evidence for the claim that “the extended lockdowns are at best of neutral benefit, but far more likely a net-negative.”

      I wholeheartedly agree with your point that Massachusetts has not done enough to protect our vulnerable populations, including both assisted care facilities and jails and prisons, but it’s not either/or. We should have done a better job protecting the most vulnerable populations in addition to sheltering in place, not instead of it.

      1. And what might YOUR evidence be that SIP is working? You say I have NO evidence? I present (for starters): Sweden, Hong Kong, Singapore, Georgia, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Brazil, Beijing etc etc…all either never under lockdown or lifted.

        All of these places are currently doing MUCH better than MA without draconian SIP/business shutdown.

        What I will submit again is that there is NO evidence for is a differential benefit of SIP. But if you have a relevant geography and per capita data, please show us.

        1. *sigh*

          I am not going to go through your list and debunk every one of them.

          However, just to address one of your examples, here is a far more nuanced take on the case of Sweden:

          More generally, different populations and different circumstances require different approaches, and to suggest that the correct approach for Sweden is the same as the correct approach for Massachusetts is ludicrous.

          For one thing, 30% of Sweden isn’t under the thrall of a demented madman who is actively preventing their government from protecting people against the pandemic.

          But by all means, please feel free to continue asserting that you know better about how to minimize the harm of a pandemic than people who have worked and studied in this field for their entire adult lives.

          Here’s what Dr. Fauci has to say about the risk of reopening too early: . But I’m sure your opinion on this question is worth more than his. It’s not like he’s spent his entire career focusing on pandemic response or anything.

          1. Suit yourself, you indeed have your opinions. I stand by my many reference geographies as debunking any notion that what we are doing here in MA has ANY demonstrated advantage. Death is as we say, a HARD study end point. Sweden has almost double our population and is doing at least 50% better. That is not “nuance”. Fauci? A boob. He was wrong in January. He was wrong about AIDS, SARS, so forth. His track record is demonstrably poor. And as he admitted in recent testimony has no broad basis for the validity of his opinions as regards overall impact.

            1. You’ve debunked nothing. You are ignorant and loud, and that is the full extent of your contribution. No one cares what you think. WaiL into the wind.

    2. Just for the record, Jon: The consulting team was not created by me or otherwise by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is just a group of professionals that has done an analysis that has been widely shared in Massachusetts and, I understand, outside Massachusetts.

      1. Hi Will: Sorry, but that is weak. You linked us to the consultants and repeatedly, specifically pointed to their work as shaping specific policy decisions. It is disingenuous to then say “just some folks”.

        More important: do you have any direct, cogent explanation on why our state is at the bottom of the performance curve? Why should we trust you, Charlie or your high paid consultants going forward when your policies so far have done so badly?

        Again, per capita:

        12 times worse than California.
        50% worse than Sweden.
        47/50 of US states.

        Thanks Will, no answer expected.

        1. Hey, the state didn’t pay for that study. It’s just a worthy document.

          I really don’t buy into the framing of the question. Comparisons across areas are very complicated. The goal here has been to avoid a peak so high that we couldn’t handle it in the health care system. It looks like we have done that. Give me a call on my cell, 617-771-8274, if you’d like to have a conversation about the ins and outs of a comparison. I don’t think we can close this discussion trading comments on line.

          1. The goal here has been to avoid a peak so high that we couldn’t handle it in the health care system.

            This, right here, is the key to this entire discussion.

            The most likely scenario is 12-18 months to develop a vaccine for this virus, if indeed we are able to develop one (it isn’t a given).

            I know Trump has been saying we are going to have a vaccine by the end of the year, but, like so much else Trump says, that is a lie. While it is not entirely impossible that we will have a vaccine in mass production that quickly, it is exceedingly unlikely, and it certainly isn’t what most of the people who know something about developing vaccines are saying.

            So, all of our planning needs to assume that we’re not going to have a vaccine for at least 12-18 months.

            During that time, we need to slow down infections, for two reasons:

            1) We need time to produce the PPE and other equipment and supplies we need to treat infected people and minimize the danger to uninfected people.

            2) We need the rate of infections to be low enough that our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed, because if hospitals are overwhelmed, then people will die who wouldn’t have if they’d gotten the care they needed.

            If we’re lucky, then we’ll keep the rate of infections low enough that when a vaccine is ready there will still be a lot of people who haven’t been infected yet.

            But even if that doesn’t happen, i.e., even if it takes so long to develop a vaccine that everyone ends up getting infected in the meantime, we still need to slow the rate of infection to minimize unnecessary deaths due to lack of supplies, equipment, and healthcare system capacity.

            1. Jonathan – you wrote: “I know Trump has been saying we are going to have a vaccine by the end of the year, but, like so much else Trump says, that is a lie.”

              When accusing somebody (anybody) of wrongdoing, we should be more precise with words. What Trump said about having a vaccine by the end of the year was a prediction, not a lie. A prediction that does not turn out true is not a lie, it’s just a wrong prediction.

            2. OK, here’s some “precision” for you.

              Trump lies as naturally as breathing. Nearly everything that comes out of his mouth and his Twitter feed is a lie. Everything he says is entirely situational, entirely designed to benefit himself without regard to anyone or anything else.

              Developing, producing, and distributing nationwide a safe vaccine in seven months would be unprecedented in history. Nearly every bona fide expert in this field says the likelihood of that occurring is somewhere between zero and tiny. It is impossible for Trump or anyone else to say with any degree of confidence that such a thing will take place.

              Making plans for how to deal with a pandemic based on the baseless ravings of a narcissistic con-man with dementia who doesn’t give a shit if anyone in the world dies as long as it’s not him would be unwise for anyone who does.

              Is that precise enough for you?

  17. Will,

    I think this talk of re-opening is too soon. It is being driven by our nutty president. Even in those essential businesses that are open, clerks and cashiers are contracting the disease and some are dying. I am reminded of a operation to excise a skin melanoma. The dermatologist not only removes the diseased area, but a fairly wide area around it. The purpose is to make sure that no cancerous cells remain.

    Applying this reasoning to the epidemic suggests that the Commonwealth should wait three months after the last case is recorded and then take baby steps.

    1. I entirely agree that any talk of easing the shelter-in-place order is premature, but “the Commonwealth should wait three months after the last case is recorded and then take baby steps” is absolutely impossible, unless we literally confine every resident of the state to their homes for several weeks and use the national guard to distribute food and other needed supplies for two weeks to break the infection cycle. That’s obviously not going to happen, which means that there are going to continue to be infections for the foreseeable future. The goal can’t be to entirely eliminate the virus. The goal is to get infections down to a low enough level that we can test, trace, and quarantine infected people and the people they come into contact with.

      1. Of course the goal is to eliminate the virus, or come as close as we can. The Internet is flooded with drifting goal posts all of a sudden, which boil down to, “I’m bored.

        The economy will not recover until the pandemic is over. That’s a 100-year-old lesson.

      2. One point I forgot to mention. In order to help people who lose their jobs over the long lock-down period I recommend, both Houses of Congress should pass the three trillion dollar bill that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have proposed. With interests very low, this should not put too much burden on our debt.

  18. We need either walk-up or house-call testing, for everyone without a car. Not just in Chelsea and Somerville, but in Belmont, and anywhere else where in normal times residents can do just about anything via the MBTA or occasionally calling a taxi or rideshare, or asking a friend to give them a ride.
    I just read about how Hong Kong is doing testing for people who fly there right now: they’re handing out test kits, having everyone watch an instructional video before providing samples, which are then tested while the person quarantines. If Massachusetts can do that, they could put the video online (YouTube or similar), and a technician or even volunteer in suitable PPE could put the manila envelope with the test tube and paperwork at my front door, ring the bell, and step back. I would follow the instructions, put the sample safely in the envelope, leave it outside my door, and call or text to tell them to come get it.

  19. It’s too soon to talk about a second wave. We haven’t even finished getting past the current wave. While it’s heartening to hear that testing is on the upswing, there still isn’t nearly enough testing projected for a re-opening.

  20. What’s on all of us is to ignore our political and business leaders and seek out expert opinion ourselves, e.g. Erin Bromage or other epidemiologists, to look at raw data and trends ourselves and think about what it means, and to look at how other parts of the world are doing things. I think if you do that you’ll continue what we’ve been doing. Maybe outdoor activities are low enough risk. But anything inside is suspect unless you can get out quickly. Social distincing doesn’t help after an hour or so in an enclosed area according to Bromage.

    It’s obscene to even be discussing reviving the economy in a state with among the highest per-capita death rates from the virus in the world. Let Prince Edward Island talk about how to re-open their economy. Our number of active cases are still climbing. It’s far too early to have this discussion.

    Do we even know the rate of incidence in the general population? From the numbers I see (which are still horrendous), what Massterlist (SHNS) reports as confirmed from one or another news source, my sense is the testing is of people who had reason to go to a hospital or get tested. When tests are done it’s the rate is something like 1 in 3, yes? Probably it’s not that high generally, but do we know that? What random trials have been done and where are those numbers?

    The Governor’s approach can’t ethically be data driven in the near term because deaths and people showing up to be tested lag the time of first infection by a couple of weeks. If you wait for numbers to increase (more — it’s not like numbers of active cases are going down as it is, not like we’ve exited surge number one) you’ll see a bunch of people dieing all at once and the infection firing up with little that can be done about it. What happened to the early distinction we had between containment, where contact tracing is realistic, vs. community spread where the measures we’ve been taking our necessary? The cat was out of the bag back in February and remains on the loose.

    People here have a sense of exceptionalism. I don’t mean American Exceptialism but the idea that we’re among the sane, liberal, intelligent states. Well look again at the data. We may have many of the best experts in the world but somehow we also have among the worst results. I can’t say the responsibility for all this death necessarily rests on political leadership vs. our own response (I myself resisted using a face cover for too long I’ll admit) vs. other factors.

    But let’s not fool ourselves. If we’re now deciding we have to turn back on more parts of the economy we’re little different from someone like Chris Christie who thinks that people (presumably not him and his family) have to die in service of the economy in an analogous way to how soldiers had to die to stop Hitler.

    If that’s what we believe, we should be as outspoken as Christie, so we can think clearly about what we’re talking about doing. But let’s not fool ourselves and tell ourselves that we’re data driven and analytical while we condemn hundreds more to die earlier than they otherwise would have, all to avoid carrying as much public debt, to help our friends’ businesses survive, or to relieve the public’s (those of us who don’t get sick) anxiety and depression.

      1. Okay.
        I want to make clear here that I appreciate you as a senator, how you make yourself available directly to constituents, and in no way wish to smear you with blame. I recall reading a Nova Scotia politician’s memoir (What I Learned About Politics: Inside the Rise — and Collapse – of Nova Scotia’s NDP Government by Graham Steele) where he wrote that contact with constituents was both the most rewarding but also sometimes the most exhausting and demoralizing part of the game. No doubt you could have a much more lucrative and easy career elsewhere, even as a web developer never mind law.
        That said, I relate to Jon’s emotion and framing in terms of end results, and I guess I’m trying to parallel him from the left side of the spectrum. I think he made a particularly good point about nursing homes. But again, the point is not to drag you or the executive through the mud (though for the latter, I’d breath a lot easier if Maura Healey were in charge, as nice a fellow as the Governor seems to be).
        The question is what can the legislature do to find out what the worst errors were and to address them with oversight actions on the executive and with legislation (because unfortunately the time frame of this virus seems likely to be all too compatible with the time frame the senate works under). A couple points come to mind…
        1. at Holyoke Soldier’s home a nurse tried to wear protective equipment and was punished. What avenues did she have or should she have had for whistleblowing and how could her experience have been used to act sooner (or at all?) to save lives?
        2. What can be done about nursing homes? In Nova Scotia all but a few of the deaths were in one nursing home. Fairly early they shifted hospital workers into nursing homes to help out (their system is organized differently) and now it’s broadly recognized that tenants sharing rooms and bathrooms must end. Here there has been reporting about ownership manipulation of nursing homes where capital splits companies into a liability ditching org and a profit generating org, sometimes even having the prior buy from the latter at large markup. In general, what can the senate do to fix the problems this crisis has revealed about nursing homes? What needs to be done in the near term to protect people there supposing there is a second, third, fourth wave of infection, and right now for that matter? There is some kind of legislation pending now, right? I’ve lost track of the details.
        3. The composition of the reopening committee is loaded with corporate executives with obvious vested interests. There are only two MDs. It’s not obvious from the brief state web site description that either of them have epidemiology backgrounds. Though I respect Secretary Pollock, she very much represents the management and state executive side of MBTA leadership. It’s unclear to me how T drivers will be protected being stuck in enclosed spaces where the virus will circulate for hours. A mask and six feet of distance can only accomplish so much. So they should have their union leadership present in any discussions of reopening. That goes also for the workers not represented by the various CEOs on the committee, if only they had union leadership. State workers have union leadership, but I’ve heard stories there about workers coming in, eating close together at a cafeteria, etc. As usual the rank and file state worker can tell you stories that you won’t hear from the six figure state manager. What can the senate do about this sort of thing? Could you at least get a rule established about transparency and public transcripts for the committee’s meetings? I’d like to know if the two MDs are getting their say sitting around with these powerful white male CEOs there or if they get talked over. I approve of the reps (mostly from Cambridge and Somerville?) who drafted the letter to the governor and would appreciate a similar letter being drawn up by senators, should you share their sentiments. I’d also like to see at least one person on the committee whose exposure to the virus is more than that the landscapers tending the grounds of their McMansions are undocumented workers from Chelsea (okay, lost my intention to be nice there at the end, sorry).

  21. I am concerned that although we have enough testing capacity, we have not yet tested everyone in our prisons and jails and all staff members. This should be an ongoing process especially as they are licking them down instead which has mental health impacts, beyond that at least one correctional officer, and at least seven incarcerated individuals have died. Thanks for all you are doing.

  22. I look forward to hearing a stated health objective for the reopening effort. The Mass. HTC presentation you linked to suggests keeping RT below 1.0 as a target. The Governor’s “If public health metrics fall below thresholds, may move back to a prior phase” from Monday’s four-phase slide begs the question ‘what thresholds?’ Without a specific objective there’s no way to measure progress and no accountability.

  23. I respect your dedication. We are being governed by fear and not reality. Fauci is a fear monger. Roosevelt would have fired him in 5 minutes. I have a public track record of sounding the alarm about germs. Many of the same people panicking today refused to take my warning seriously. Safety to me is job #1.
    History is my guide not our overpowering central government. The media is using death numbers without historical context controlling the mindset. I refuse to be mis-lead by this daily drum beat.
    The governor has failed to give any indication on what can open and how no excuse at this time leaving us hanging. The name of this game is keep changing the narrative to justify the dictatorship. We are not government subjects. Beacon Hill has crossed the line. I understand freedom loving producers have to suffer thanks to big government voters who are under the false impression that Charlie is doing a great job. Thinking the government is their friend. What a misguided assumption.

    1. I keep looking for your screed against Mitch McConnell working to give law enforcement warrantless access to our internet history. Obviously as a passionate libertarian, you must’ve written one, but silly me can’t find it. Link please, I’d love to read it.

  24. The trade-off we nee to make is between waiting for data, testing infrastructure and making decisions early before it is too late.
    Am fully cognizant that different people have different news sources but my news feeds say the economic impact of “re-opening” is not enough.
    Anecdotal examples from Sweden, Texas, etc. say that with reduced foot traffic, opening up makes no economic sense – e.g. a restaurant with 50% less customers cannot cover costs of rent, labor, utilities etc.
    However, this is just anecdotal, if there is a thorough analysis, I would love to see it.
    As long as the economic up-side is unknown and we are seeing children get hospitalized, I would rather err on the side of caution but completely and totally understand the need to take care of people who have been impacted economically.

    1. It’s not anecdotal. The Swedish Riksbank—their Fed, more or less—released a report last week admitting that the refusal to lock down did nothing to save their economy. Enough shoppers have been frightened away to kill margins.

  25. I saw a suggestion for 4 days open, 10 days home. It fits neatly into 2 week blocks, and means that people who are infected during the open days will likely be at home by the time they are infectious and almost definitely by the time they are symptomatic. We could also alternate weeks (e.g. people whose SSN ends in an odd number are out in odd weeks, people whose SSN ends in an even number are out in even weeks). Could be coupled with other measures like working from home, masks, etc. and we could shift the number of in/out days in response to improvements or declines in numbers. The trick, of course, would be determining and enforcing the shifts.

  26. Given how important testing is for controlling and managing the spread, I do not understand why it is not possible to achieve it at the level needed. What are the constraints? My other concern is nursing homes and other group care facilities. The state is stepping up inspections, but clearly more staff, who are well trained, are needed onsite to care for residents. Finally, I think we need a strategy to get children the immunizations they missed over the last few months. Thanks for your work, as always.

  27. It will be interesting to see the consequences of all this. Will nursing aides and grocery store clerks be paid enough more that they won’t need multiple jobs? Income inequality has been reduced after previous pandemics, like the Black Death from bubonic plague. This is not as bad, however. Will universal health care, even for illegal immigrants, become the rule? Will anyone take a cruise ship?
    Will, do you have any legislative recommendations for the next sessions?
    Thanks for your work.

  28. If we can keep the economy shut down as much as possible, think (but won’t say publicly) many Democratic leaders, then Trump will be defeated.
    That’s what is behind much of this.
    But how about GOP Gov. Baker? Well, he didn’t vote for Trump and hates him. Basically, he’s on your side.

    Mayor Curtatone of Somerville just announced that he is cancelling all events through … December. Yes, December. He says he will see how things go in the meantime. What a lockdown hero.
    Let’s see who can one-up him and cancel things for TWO years, shall we?
    We may have a winner in Mayor Garcetti of LA who says the lockdown will truly end only when we find a cure for Covid-19. What a guy. He cares about public health so much.

    Why not lock down the economy every year – except perhaps for summer – when the flu comes around and kills tens of thousands?
    After all, it’s only “money” that is lost. You can print the stuff. It’s free!
    I was going to discuss the fact that illegal immigrants are crossing the border without vaccinations and possibly having Covid-19, all with the ##implicit approval## of a certain political party. I think I’ll leave that for another time.

  29. The goal of slowing the spread to not outstrip out hospital sever care and ICU resources was met. The “crisis” is over. Now many medical facilities and small businesses forced to shut down are facing bankruptcy. We are marching headfirst towards a financial depression, which will cause substantially more harm than this virus.

    The harsh reality for anyone who still believes we are all sheltering in place and quarantined is that we are NOT. Everyone is going out to public places like grocery stores, liquor stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, going golfing, getting take-out, etc from the dozens of other so-called essential businesses. People are walking the streets, meeting friends and family, and generally engaging others all while practicing safety measures. The overwhelming majority are not quarantined or in strict isolation.

    With that understanding also acknowledge that restricting other small businesses deem “not essential” noes not make us significantly less susceptible to infection. It is fear-based media-driven overreaction.

    What we have learned to stay safe while interacting in all the public situations we engage in daily can be applied to most if not all other businesses.

    It is the responsibility of the business owners to put in place reasonable safety measures to “physically” (not socially) distance workers and customers. It is equally the responsibility of every single person to assess their own susceptibility and take measures to protect others and themselves. Those at higher risk, like myself, may opt to take more precautions than others at lower risk. I’ve been wearing a mask and gloves for months when others were still opposing it. I spray and sanitize every single thing that comes into me house, including mail. I wash my clothes after going to any public place with a dense population. That is my choice but may not be that of others.

    The government can and should advise with guidance, but this is not a Marshall Law situation. Governor Baker has far exceeded his authority in preventing businesses and our society from operating. We live in free society, not a police state, and businesses and individuals own the responsibility to act responsibly. We have already proven many times over it can be done.

    Where we need more focus is in protecting, isolating, providing and caring for our elderly and health compromised. Moving Covid infected people into elder care facilities, not protecting our most vulnerable was simply criminal. Quarantine and protect that small portion of the population while letting the sting and healthy get back to work.

    Pointing political fingers and making childish accusations against those who offer opinions on how to solve problems does nothing to help the situation. So let’s help Will by working together to provide constructive criticism and ideas that he and the legislators can assess.

    Be smart. Be safe. Remain socially close but physically distant when needed, but live your life.

    1. There is so much wrong here that it’s difficult to know where to start.

      The fact that you put the word “crisis” in quotes, as if it’s debatable that this was or is a crisis, renders everything else you say meaningless and precludes the necessity of taking you seriously.

      The crisis — the real, actual crisis that really, actually exists — is not “over” because a small majority of people have antibodies for the virus which means that if we go back to normal now infections will explode and people will die unnecessarily, just as they would have if we hadn’t sheltered in place for the past 2+ months.

      “Save people’s lives vs. save the economy,” the choice you are proposing, is entirely bogus. The only way to save the economy is to save people’s lives. The economy will recover far faster if we keep people safe than if we don’t. The economy would be in far worse shape right now if we hadn’t started sheltering in place 2+ months ago.

      The only way to save small businesses once the pandemic gained a foothold in the US was to quickly offer meaningful financial assistance. Neither our state government nor the federal government stepped up to do what was needed, so here we are.

      Isolating only the sick and elderly is useless if healthy, asymptomatic spreaders are allowed to wander around infecting people. A recent round of testing in Boston showed that 1 in 40 asymptomatic people are infected and actively shedding the virus.

      Thinking that protecting the economy is more important than doing everything we can to protect the life of every single person in this country is sociopathic.

  30. I voted for you and Baker but I think MA has done a terrible job deciding what is necessary to stay open and what is not. Home Depot is not a necessary place to stay open !!
    Liquor stores are not necessary. Book stores are just as necessary and I can go on. The decisions make no sense at all. Now the rumor is that ‘places or worship’ are on the list to be opened up this week. Small businesses are struggling and now ‘you’ want to open places or worship – I am speechless.

    1. For the most part I agree with you. However, liquor stores are, in fact, an essential business, because there are a lot of people who are addicted to alcohol, and alcohol addicts can die of withdrawal if they’re cut off cold turkey. Closing the liquor stores would have endangered a lot of people’s lives and forced a lot of people into hospitals at a time when our primary objective needs to be keeping as many people out of hospitals as possible.

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