This spring, Massachusetts had one of the highest numbers of cases per capita in the United States (1). It is one of 10 states that has reported over 40,000 cases (1). The number of COVID-19 cases in the state as of yesterday was 90,084 (2). As for my own town, there have been 234 cases since January 1 and the infection rate is now 996.31% (2). Although these numbers were alarming, and the Massachusetts was in a state of emergency, statistics are just beginning to trend positively. The 7-day average for positive virus test rate has gone down 67% and the 3-day average for deaths due to the virus has gone down 47% since April 15 (3).
Four Phase Re-Opening
With things starting to look up, Governor Charlie Baker has released a plan to slowly re-open the state of Massachusetts using four distinct phases (4). On May 18, the state commenced phase 1 by allowed a limited number of industries to resume operation, such as essential businesses, construction, and manufacturing (4). On May 25, slightly more industries will be able to operate and on June 1, office spaces will be able to resume work (4). Phase 2 is considered the “cautious” phase were even more businesses will be able to open with reduced capacities (4). Phase 3 is the “vigilant” phase, when the least essential businesses are able to open with alterations made considering public health (4). The start dates of these phases are yet to be determined, as the state may have to revert to a more cautious phase if cases surge again (4). Although this is the state-wide plan, hesitation has been expressed by Boston mayor, Marty Walsh (5). Specifically, the mayor is considering the percent of workers that will be able to go back to work on June 1 and is against places of worship opening soon if they can’t do so safely (5).
In addition to the state government, the hospitals in the Boston area have been working harder than ever to ensure the safety of our community. One amazing advancement that has come out of Mass General Hospital is an online tool that shows the public how vital it is to keep social distancing, even as cases are starting to decline (6). The tool is a COVID-19 simulator that shows how many virus deaths would occur in the following weeks if certain precautions (or lack thereof) are taken over a certain amount of time (6). The link for this tool is included below. In addition to this technological development, Boston-area hospitals are putting their rivalries aside to put a stop to this virus (7). The Boston Globe writes that hospitals have been sharing everything from “sharing supplies, equipment, data, and even staff” (7). A sense of camaraderie has emerged from the pandemic and will likely change the climate of healthcare in Boston forever.
COVID-19 Simulator: https://www.covid19sim.org/ (8)
- “Cases in the U.S.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 May 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html.
- “COVID-19 Response Reporting.” gov, 21 May 2020, www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting.
- “Dashboard of Public Health Indicators.” Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 20 May 2020, https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-dashboard-may-20-2020/download.
- “Reopening: Four-Phase Approach.” gov, 2020, www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-four-phase-approach.
- Murphy, Matt. “Mayor of Boston Uncomfortable with State’s Office Reopening Plan.” WWLP, 20 May 2020, www.wwlp.com/news/state-politics/mayor-of-boston-uncomfortable-with-states-office-reopening-plan/.
- Morrison, Mike. “New Online COVID-19 Model Reveals How Lifting or Extending Different Social Distancing Measures Will Affect States.” Massachusetts General Hospital, 24 Apr. 2020, www.massgeneral.org/news/coronavirus/COVID-19-simulator.
- McCluskey, Priyanka Dayal. “Pandemic Spawns New Spirit of Collaboration for Boston’s Longtime Rival Hospitals – The Boston Globe.” com, The Boston Globe, 12 May 2020, www.bostonglobe.com/2020/05/12/business/pandemic-spawns-new-spirit-collaboration-bostons-longtime-rival-hospitals/.
- “COVID-19 Simulator.” COVID-19 Simulator, Massachusetts General Hospital, 2020, www.covid19sim.org/.