What a beautiful day! I hope everyone was able to get outside and enjoy this amazing spring day. Wasn’t it just snowing a few days ago? Anyway, I don’t know the science behind it but it is amazing what some sunlight and fresh air does for the human spirit. Even in difficult times like these it is hard to not feel thankful for the world we live in when we take a moment to look around and realize all we have.
Unfortunately, there were 76 deaths attributed to Coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours in the Commonwealth. Still way too many but the trend is continuing in the right direction with our three day average being 82 deaths per day. It is so off putting reporting the deaths of our friends and neighbors like this. I am sorry, I’m trying to just be factual but it really bothers me to report such loss so nonchalantly. I think it is important that we never start thinking of these losses as merely a number and embrace the fact that these people are parents, grandparents, spouses, friends, mentors, war heroes, and the very fabric of what makes our community so great. So please know, that this is hard for me and even when I end up reporting these deaths as simply a number, I do so begrudgingly as I wish I could give them all a more proper tribute and level of respect they and their loved ones deserve.
The positive cases were down from yesterday with 873 new cases being reported brining us back into line with a 10% ratio. Hospitalizations continue to decline with a significant drop every day for the last week and we now have under 2,500 hospitalized. ICU beds are also at significantly lower number as they were reported today at 672.
DPH and the Baker Administration now have a new reporting scale with each of 6 categories getting a red, yellow, or green light next to it to show if we are on track or not. These folks sure like making color coded displays to explain these things to us. During reopening these metrics must continue to show progress. What I’m not sure of is if a red light shows up - does that throw us back to the previous level or does it have to be consistently showing red. I’m a data guy (and since the Governor said “data” 372 times during his press conference yesterday - I guess he is as well) so I wish they spelled out the actual benchmarks and metrics which they are basing all of this on so we could all have a better understanding of how things are happening and it might not feel as random and arbitrary. People crave certainty and I think that is one aspect that is missing in this plan.
These categories are:
COVID-19 positive test rate
Number of individuals who died from COVID-19
Number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals
Healthcare system readiness
Contact tracing capabilities
And I am still trying to get further clarification and work for solutions for many of our area businesses. I hope some flexibility is provided to the local towns as they know their community best and the one size fits all mentality of many of the categories in the phasing is a bit too broad. If the local board of health can visit with a particular business and they can prove that the plan they have in place meets or exceeds the guidelines of other businesses that have been allowed to open - I believe that they should be allowed an exception. I realize that the administration has to deal with the greatest common denominator - but the plan does not allow for any exceptions or one offs. A personal training gym that only has one or two clients at a time is very different than a giant corporate gym with 45 treadmills lined up alongside another 45 ellipticals. But in the phasing plan both are treated exactly the same. Anyway, working on seeing if that is able to be fixed.
Formal session tomorrow - with 183 amendments -last I checked. I think the technical term is this is going to be a shitshow. But we will see. I’m sure that the house leadership is twisting arms as we speak to get people to remove their amendments.
And as a final thought tonight, I would like to congratulate my good friend and colleague, John Velis, D-Westfield for being elected to the State Senate, replacing the one person in the building that I have known the longest - Don Hummason who is now Westfield’s mayor. I’m sure I’ll get called a RINO by some folks, but I will always support person over party. John is a good man and is also one of the few that consistently votes his conscience regardless what his party leadership is ordering. The House’s loss is the Senate’s gain and his voice of reason, willingness to listen, and ability to come to a common solution will be missed.
I hope your day is relaxing and we all keep our eye on the prize. Lots of green circles!!! Keep doing what you are doing, smile, be kind, and know we are stronger when we are working together.
Thank you for being so awesome,