I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day. Mine was lovely - breakfast in bed, lots of cards and presents, puttering around the house, fishing with the kids, and an amazing dinner finished up with chocolate cake and family movie night. So, my apologies for not writing last night - but I was all tuckered out.
17 new deaths were reported today and 136 new positive cases. Throughout the weekend all of the numbers continued on the downward slope as Massachusetts continues to move forward in opening up the state. Intubations statewide are down to 107 - considering that less than two months ago we were worried that we needed 10,000 ventilators, it shows how far we have come.
And just to clarify - my posts where I suggest that we should open up more places and put all businesses on the same level playing field is a far cry from saying that we should throw caution to the wind and pretend like this virus never happened as some states have. It remains important that we continue to be vigilant and this is still a very real threat to those who are older or compromised. My main objection to the government decrees are two fold - first, they are arbitrary and subject some businesses and organizations to a different set of regulations than others. Second, I believe the Governor and other non elected boards (DESE) are overreaching in their edicts and most of these decisions at this point should be debated publicly and offer a legislative solution so the people’s voices can be heard. We are beyond the emergency, frantic, “we do not have time so I’m declaring martial law” aspect of this epidemic.
Indoor dining officially began today in the Bay State and hopefully that will be enough to help save our restaurant industry. The Massachusetts Restaurant Association announced today that nearly 1/4 of all Massachusetts (3600) restaurants will close permanently this year due to the pandemic. A decent number of these are college restaurant/bars or dining establishments that are heavily trafficked by tourists such as the Cape and Berkshires - but my heart breaks for those small business owners who worked nights and weekends, pouring their hearts and souls into their businesses, serving friends and families, becoming ingrained in the fabric of the community - and poof - all gone overnight.
Over the weekend I was discussing with a few friends about the opening up of certain states and I wanted to look into how other New England states were doing since they are all ahead of us in re-opening. I think these are much better comparisons for Massachusetts as they all appear to have a pragmatic approach toward combating the virus and have implemented common sense restrictions as part of their relaxing of their rules. For instance, New Hampshire has only 929 active cases, 54 total hospitalizations, and no residents in the ICU. Vermont last week reported 4 new cases and 0 current hospitalizations whereas Rhode Island today reported 25 new cases, 106 hospitalized with only 15 of those on ventilators. Connecticut has 149 current hospitalizations and has been averaging 119 new cases per day while Maine shows 460 total active cases with only 14 in the last 24 hours.
The FDA warned today of hand sanitizers made in Mexico and said if you have them please dispose of them immediately. “Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” they said in a statement. “Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning.”
And not really a Covid update - but those who have been following me for a long time know about my long term fight exposing the Chinese government building our rail cars. In that light, the MBTA announced today the new cars that have been repeatedly delayed are being delayed once again. Shocking! Considering only 2 of the cars that have been provided thus far are in service (and even those have had their problems and have been out of service). What do you expect for a mere $700,000,000? Such a waste and on top of that we are putting the Chinese government in charge of our critical transportation infrastructure. Don’t get me started. Ugh!
Tonight’s family movie was The Mummy - it holds up pretty well for 20 years old. But with all the plagues and curses that come from opening up the tomb - I’m wondering if some archeologist brought the mummy back to life at the beginning of this year and we are now experiencing the wrath of the undead. Ok, realize that might be a bit far fetched, but damn, 2020 isn’t even half over yet and nothing would surprise me at this point and frankly I don’t think I can handle much more.
Keep moving forward and hopefully more will continue to open and DESE is hearing our comments and will come out with better guidelines so our schools can open up this fall. I will keep the pressure on and I’m hopeful that new guidance will be at least going in the right direction.
Stay safe, smile, and if you live in Norfolk - don’t forget to vote tomorrow!