Happy hump day! It’s Wednesday right? Yep, just checked, it’s Wednesday. My picture tonight is one of the walls of our work out room (aka The Pain Cave) that the kids cleaned, decorated, and organized as their present to their mom on Mother’s Day. When I was down there tonight I looked at this and thought - this is the perfect message for this entire crisis. I hope it resonates with you as well.
Well, we knew yesterday was too good to be true; and unfortunately deaths went back up to more typical numbers with 174 new deaths being reported today. Our average is still tracking with a downward slope so while I would have loved to see an even lower number, I do not think the rate signifies any need to sound the alarm at this point.
There were 1,165 new positive cases reported today which brings the up ratio of positive to test up by 1% to 14%. This brings the total positives statewide to 80,497 out of 410,032 tests performed thus far. As I have discussed before, getting more citizens tested and also having an antibody test that is reliable is so critical. Once we understand the real numbers we can determine the actual risk we are facing as well as create a more comprehensive plan based on mathematical probability as opposed to supposition and emotion.
During his press conference, the governor hinted that the first organizations to reopen under new safety standards will be the ones that “don’t have a lot of close contact with customers,” as well as those for whom it will be “relatively uncomplicated” to implement social distancing protocols. hmmmmmm. maybe tomorrow he will do some charades to help businesses know if they should start calling their employees to see who is going to come back to work and who is staying out because they are making more on unemployment. Sorry for the political snark - I have spent the past few days getting calls and emails from small business owners (many of whom are friends) that are beside themselves and are begging me to do something to help before they lose everything. It really is heart wrenching and I’m frustrated that there is not something I can do.
Governor Baker also said that we should expect a “slow roll out of the gate” requiring “a level of patience associated with this that will make people uncomfortable” in order to ensure that the state doesn’t have to reimpose restrictions due to a subsequent spike in cases from opening too soon.
Again, I’m not sure who is writing these comments for him but he sure seems to be missing the mark and only creating more anxiety. I genuinely like and respect the Governor, but I just don’t get what he is trying to do as it seems so foreign from all of my past interactions with him.
I pray my expectations aren’t too high for Monday’s announcement; this plan needs to have a comprehensive strategy relying on metrics (within reason) and real benchmarks that will automatically trigger lessening restrictions and moving on to the next “phase.” And any rollbacks need to be with a preponderance of the evidence showing that is our only manageable option.
Not much on the legislative side today. We did a few land taking bills and finalized the bond bill that allows for state funding of programs to continue even though tax collection have been shifted to fiscal year 2021. It will be very interesting to see how those numbers come in. So much uncertainty on the revenue front as it relates to creating a new budget with the biggest wild card is what the feds will do from a state and municipal bailout bill. The ever ballooning national deficit for funding all these bailouts is another story.
I hope you have a great Thursday and stay positive. It is imperative that we remain focused and keep doing what we are doing. We are not out of the woods yet and the key for these phases to work is to stay focused and protect the most vulnerable. Once Massachusetts begins to open up we need to remember where we were a few weeks ago and how far we have come. For now, I will have faith in the Governor and his team. We still are saving lives and the better we do with social distancing, masks, and washing our hands, the quicker we will get back to normal. Frustrating - definitely. But please stay the course.
And, of course, keep being awesome!