Completely random - but I smoked a brisket today. Thanks to some great advice from my buddy Matt Chatham, aka the Piggy King, it came out awesome. Not the best thing for my diet but CiCi got me a smoker for Christmas and I finally had some time to start trying it out. I know, weird way to start my post tonight but I was really happy. This learning how to smoke meat thing could be dangerous - but delicious. I hope everyone else is using this time at home to try some new things, start some new hobbies, or at least clean out the attic. As I have repeatedly said, it is so important to look at the silver lining on this quarantine and be positive about the future. Dwelling solely on the negative or fretting about what will happen next is bad for our mind and our spirit.
Unfortunately, the numbers increased today. 221 people passed away within the last 24 hours bringing our state’s total to 2,182. 1,745 new positive cases were identified creating the total statewide since the beginning of testing to 42,944 residents. That is a death rate of 5% of those who have been tested positive. Now obviously that is artificially high as we are still only testing those who have more significant symptoms, have pre-existing conditions, and/or have had significant direct contact with someone who had tested positive. There remains a large number of the population who have been infected who are asymptomatic or have milder symptoms. Nevertheless, 5% is a significant number and one that we should not dismiss out of hand.
One critical need in order to get a handle on the virus and determining if herd immunity is starting to take effect is the development of a rapid antibody test. Several universities as well as a number of laboratories are working on it with the CDC. One of those laboratories is here in Cambridge and I am fortunate enough to have a remote meeting with their CEO tomorrow so hopefully I can get some insight on how this is coming along. I know the White House and Dr. Birx’s original goal was to have something in place by the end of the month - at least for hospital workers.
It was a very quiet day on the hill today although Governor Baker did say that it appears that the surge is not going to be as bad as originally predicted. "We have a health care system that is not going to be overwhelmed by this thing,” Baker said, “and the reason it's not going to be overwhelmed is because we've planned effectively, worked hard with our colleagues in the health community, and the people of Massachusetts, for the most part, did exactly the right thing about social distancing and hand washing and all of the issues we raised about disinfecting surfaces.”
And for a little good news - thanks to Charles River Apparel I was able to distribute masks to a hundreds of senior citizens around the district as well as many of our fire departments, the Wrentham Developmental Center, Wrentham District Court, The Home for Little Wanderers, and several other essential businesses that were unable to get them for their employees.
The good news is that I still have quite a few left. Our family project for today was to create little bundles of masks in ziplock baggies and line our fence with them. So, if you or someone you know are in need of a mask, please stop by my house (11 Wright Farm Road in Norfolk) and grab a package off the fence. There are 6 masks in each bag and the only thing I ask is if you don’t need all 6, please share them with a friend or neighbor.
I hope everyone is doing ok and staying focused. I know it is still hard to adjust to the fact that our children will not be going back to school and will be doing the remote learning thing for the rest of the school year. I hope my kids don’t end up too traumatized by my lack of teaching skills.