Hey, there! Log in / Register

Coronavirus numbers starting to rise in greater Boston, even if very slowly, so Somerville again postpones phase-3 reopening, this time to Aug. 3

Somerville announced today there'll be no health-club or theater openings there until at least Aug. 3, due to what Mayor Joe Curtatone says is a "modest" rise in new Covid-19 case in the Boston area and because of problems with the state's contact-tracing system, which is supposed to help tamp down new cases by getting contacts of people who test positive to stay at home.

Most of Massachusetts went into phase 3 - which allows limited openings of more indoor facilities, such as health clubs, and relaxes standards for outdoor gatherings and some sports - last week. Boston joined phase 3 this week. Somerville had originally planned to join Boston, then postponed its plans for a week. But today, Curtatone said, in a statement:

We are just as eager as our businesses to restart this part of our economy, but the last thing we want is to move so quickly that we risk the kind of deadly surge and damaging reclosures we’re seeing in states that opened too quickly. While statewide case numbers have been holding fairly steady in Massachusetts as a whole, we’re seeing new case numbers start to tick up modestly in metro area counties. Couple this with growing concerns over the adequacy of the State’s contact tracing effort, which is essential to safe reopening, and the only prudent response is to press pause for the time being. We all know how small confirmed case increases can quickly become exponential with this virus, so we want to, at a minimum, see new 7-day and 14-day rolling averages ideally decreasing but holding steady at a minimum and evidence of promised contact tracing improvements before we take this next step. We are holding Somerville to a higher, safer standard.

According to the city:

The 14-day rolling averages in four metro Boston counties are rising. The averages in Middlesex (rising from 42 to 48), Suffolk (from 33 to 39), Norfolk (from 20 to 29), and Bristol (from 22 to 28) counties have all shown modest upticks in new cases according to the New York Times hotspot tracker as of July 16. Additionally, on July 10, the State opened additional testing locations in Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, and New Bedford, citing that these communities "have continued to see a higher number of residents testing positive for COVID-19."

City officials add they are also concerned by problems with the state's touted contact-tracing system. Although Somerville has built its own system for contacting people who were in close contact with people who test positive for the virus, it doesn't have enough workers to handle a surge of new cases.

Curtatone added:

Our hope is that the 7- and 14-day averages over the next two weeks will show that cases are trending down. Our hope is that promised improvements to State contact tracing efforts will be effective. But if the situation does not improve over the next two weeks, we’ll be glad we delayed. What we do now will determine how safely we can reopen schools in the fall, whether businesses that struggled to reopen can avoid costly reclosures, and how many people get sick and how many die. These are serious times and we must take every step with the caution it deserves.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 

Ad:

Do you like how UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

Man, Curtatone needs to get out of his city more often.

up
Voting closed 21

Greater Boston CSA is around 8.3 million. One of the largest in the country. It's analogous to Washington DC- Northern Va CSA, S.F. Bay Area, etc.

up
Voting closed 29

I'm going to assume that you and the mayor think Laconia New Hampshire is in "Greater Boston," along with Woodstock, CT.

Sorry, but Bristol County is part of the Providence MSA. It is not Greater Boston.

up
Voting closed 24

Greater Boston Combined Statiatical Area really should include Providence and a southern NH (not really any part of CT). The reason it isn't is R.I. politician's egos would be hurt by the fact their state relies heavily on a large city and metro area 40 miles north of the state's border with another state. Likewise NH, at least southern NH.

up
Voting closed 4

Hell, I'm getting extremely worried. Covid is roaring right along and I'm seeing less people with masks every day.

up
Voting closed 117

I just gave you a thumbs up! If we want to avoid a catastrophe to Boston and communities who keep it strong and as a example of brainpower and health to the rest of the country then WEAR A MASK! Keep using hand sanitizer! A second round of this would be lights out much worse than before for all of us.

up
Voting closed 23

He is right. And like you I am worried.

Remember folks, when things get REALLY bad in a few weeks in the southern states... people have cars and we have these things called interstates.

We aren't stopping people at the state line....

it will come here and spread fast.

Yet less and less masks every day and more not so much social distancing..

up
Voting closed 19

Just saying.

up
Voting closed 17

The national strategy of "let's pretend this isn't happening" doesn't seem to be working out great, glad to see someone in charge somewhere can be realistic about that.

up
Voting closed 104

Im not sure how you can call that our national strategy. Can you rememeber another tine ever where we shut borders, and locked down virtually the entire country for months? Im having a tough tine with people continually saying things that arent tru or just toeing their party lines. I think the one thing we can really criticize is the finger pointing on both sides of the aisle, and a complete lack of honesty and unity in our policies. One could easily argue that our specific type of lockdowns made things much worse in MA. Sweden has managed to curtail this virus at half the death rate of MA and without shutdowns. They ran into a similar nursing home problem that we have seen in MA, and NY and were ironically the only places that were locked down there. However, they have only seen 200 deaths under the age of 60, which is the vast majority of people atcrestaurants, bars, schools, stores, gyms, and salons, which were all open. I think they do a far better job of detailing who is at risk, and the best means of mitigation, which are keeping 6ft of distance whenever possible(Denmark has lowered to 1 meter) washing hands, and being cautious of at risk people in particular.
At some point we must question the benefits of lockdowns as "public health" policy when they have caused a loss of health insurance for 5.4 million people(biggest loss of insurance ever), a loss of countless jobs and businesses, millions of preventive screening delays, and as science has shown, serious mental and physical health problems associated with isolation. We can be much smarter, accept viruses as a matter of nature and life and death cycle, and mitigate as effectively as we can without destroying lives in the process.

up
Voting closed 23

Rather than go into all of the dumb crap in that comment, of which there is a lot, I'll merely state that the Trump administration's "strategy" is literally to pretend this isn't happening. As such, that is "our" national strategy.

up
Voting closed 55

Your statement is the picture of ignorance. First off..I apologize for the brutal grammar and spelling in my first post written quickly on a bad phone, but please give me a chance to break it down.
And before passing judgement, know that in my opinion, Trump is a complete narcissistic ass, and someone I feel is completely unfit to be president. However, you are flat out lying when saying his strategy is pretending it isn't happening, and groundless when trying to blame it on him . When people have no data, or science, that is when they resort to political lines. It is glaringly obvious and 9 times out of 10, people end up being their own worst enemy. Lets break it down, shall we? The WHO is the first line of failure, Stating in Late January that Covid was contained in China, not cause for great concern, and we should not restrict travel. At this point Covid was already all over the Globe. They are finding sewage samples from November testing positive for Covid. Long after this in February, we had numerous politicians, on Both sides of the aisle telling people to get out and support Chinatown restaurants. Literally telling people to go about your business, and not to be afraid. Trump was actually one of the first people to restrict travel. ( I feel this was a terrible move, but we'll get to that later). He restricted travel from China extremely early, in February, when we were still be told to go to support Chinatown by many politicians on both sides. He was called a xenophobe by the left for doing so.He then gave way to Anthony Fauci and recommended literally everything Fauci wanted. Fauci originally told us not to wear masks, not Trump. The interview is right there for you to see if you want.

Meanwhile, lots of obscene mathematical models were being published putting Covid's IFR at .9%. This inspired global lockdowns out of sheer panic and doomsday predictions that 3 million people would die in the US alone, and that 80% of the world would become infected. We were told we needed to flatten the curve...to slow down the inevitable overwhelming of all hospitals. Amazing that so many people seem to forget why we locked down just 4 months ago, but that was why. However, while this was going on, dozens of independent scientists, lead by John Ioannidis, Michael Levitt, David Katz, Karol Sikora, Johan Giesecke, Stoian Alexov, Knut Wittowskli, and many more, who were highly credentialed and unimpugnable started to question the notion of the fatality rate. Many of the "experts" were forced to change course, and even the CDC has revised what was a .9% IFR at the point of lockdown, to a new best estimate of 0,26%(still somewhat high according to the most logical science I've seen). At any rate, it became clear as data emerged , that this was obviously not the disease we feared.

Cue Donald Trump, who easily could have used the moment to unify the country, show some kind of resolve, and solidarity, combined with optimism that the virus was less dangerous than feared to bring us together..Jesus, even Rudy Giuliani did it on 9/11. But instead he was Donald Trump..I remember the point this happened very clearly too..because he actually was having a great press conference with lots of people addressing testing, and medication, and treatment etc...and then a member of the press asked if he would take responsibility for the deaths. Well, he lost his shit of course, and it has been the great divide ever since. It's too bad he is so juvenile and unable to project calmness and clarity in those moments.
Since that moment, the press has been totally absurd with regards to this virus. There has been zero evidence that lockdowns were effective. MA had horrible results with theirs and has had one of the worst death rates in the world at 1120 deaths per million. Meanwhile Sweden chooses not to lockdown and gets bashed to no end, despite having half the death rate of MA, a fraction of lost jobs, no concerns about lost health care (5.4 Million US Citizens lost health care due to lockdowns Since March) and they are arguably now better suited than ANY other nation to fend off a second wave or future outbreaks.
The left, much like Donald Trump, lost it and became obsessed. Our MSM claims of Children's lack of safety at schools have as much scientific validity as Trumps famous bleach drinking. Sweden, schools open the entire time...Zero child deaths. MA- Zero Child deaths despite one of the worst fatality rates in the world. Independent studies in France, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, China, and by The WHO involving contact tracing were unable to document ONE case where a child transmitted an adult. The flu routinely kills about 200-400 kids in the US each year. This isn't even close to that. It's as if people have gone mad when you look at the data.

Meanwhile, Oxford University and The Imperial College of London, who published the absurdly false mathematical models, are now recipients of $1.2 billion in Vaccine development funding...strange how that works isn't it? Moderna, with their own vaccine production has been practicing highly suspicious stock trades with every news report. We see falsified medical studies on Hydroxychloriquine, and Remdisivir that later are retracted..Fauci happens to push the one with Orphan drug status that costs $3,700 for treatment over the one that costs about $5 per treatment.

Somehow the left feels righteous in saving lives by supporting lockdowns and wearing masks, when in reality those lockdowns are causing millions of job losses, preventing millions from preventative screenings and elective surgeries, and will cause catastrophic death among developing countries as the bottom of the supply chain erodes. Unicef and the UN are publishing the most alarming reports I have ever read with little or no fan fare from the public or MSM. Hundreds of thousand of infants will die from lockdowns, not from coronavirus. Hundreds of millions will be put in severe poverty and become food dependent from lockdowns, not from Coronavirus. You try to simplify this incredibly complex web with absurd quotes like "Trump pretends nothing is happening". Sorry but I think you might be the one pretending nothing is happening. Look at the other side of the lockdowns..we are making things worse, and you are being no better than Trump when you spout these things without any reality to back it up.

up
Voting closed 10

I am a clinical researcher who has devoted a 22 year scientific career to studying modeling, statistics, human disease & therapeutics, and epidemiology. In my expert humble opinion, you have provided and excellent summary of the public health and political situation; well backed by facts and data rather than ridiculous hyperbole. I too hate the way Trump and his administration have handled the epidemic, and exactly for the reasons that you have stated. This situation is far too important to be politicized in this way, and the approach from both the left and the right have failed our country miserably. Public health policy needs to adapt to the emerging empirical knowledge of this pandemic, not double down on the poorly informed strategy from March.

up
Voting closed 4

I am a German Shepherd dog whose sensitive nose can sniff out sock puppets posting comments under different names to support their own previous comments. This smells just like one.

Stop trying to pretend that holding Trump responsible for his continuous screwup of the Covid-19 pandemic is "political posturing," or that he's not the one who started and continues the politicization. He's caused the deaths of thousands of Americans. That's not a political posture; it's a statement of fact.

up
Voting closed 7

Is this Stevil in abstentia? I can’t believe people are still championing Sweden’s COVID response. Here are some recent headlines about Sweden:

“ Sweden becomes an example of how not to handle COVID-19”

“Sweden kept its country relatively open during the coronavirus pandemic, but its elderly paid a price”

“How Sweden Screwed Up”

“Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale: Its decision to carry on in the face of the pandemic has yielded a surge of deaths without sparing its economy from damage — a red flag as the United States and Britain move to lift lockdowns.”

up
Voting closed 28

I got as far as "we shut borders", which is kind of the opposite of true, as Donald Trump's leadership has rendered an American passport utterly worthless for the foreseeable future.

up
Voting closed 22

uh ...

uh ...

where _can_ we go?

up
Voting closed 17

Using a 14 day average is a good idea, but these "increases" really are not meaningful - the overall low case numbers in such populous areas indicate stability, if anything.

Denominators matter.

Also, beware of "trackers" and mass market "one SEXY STAT" data crunching things like "Rt". They are seriously flawed with regard to how public health focuses on testing areas that may have issues versus areas that are not suspected of having issues. That's because the stats they use require an assumption of homogeneous risk across the population - and that assumption is not valid in populations with varying risk factors that are being tested differentially.

up
Voting closed 33

Scientist here.
Curatone's rationale of wanting to see our relatively now numbers trending down is spot on. You don't go back into a house once the fire's just been 'stably' contained to the basement.

up
Voting closed 86

I'll see your physics or computer science or even biology degree or time spent in a laboratory somewhere, scientist, and raise you a doctoral degree and multidecade career that gives me context in understanding how epidemics work.

You don't know what you are talking about and pretending to while techsplaining SCIENTIST! isn't a good look.

The statistics being flogged here easily fail to describe what is going on, particularly when they are used out of context of reality, singularly, violate assumptions, and demonstrate high variation and are insensitive at small numbers.

Your analogy is nonsense in that context. This is more like not going back into a building that had been on fire but was extinguished a month ago, all because you see fog and yell OMG SMOKE!

up
Voting closed 14

... nobody can tell you're a dog PHD epidemiologist. Appealing to your own authority is not really a powerful argument.

up
Voting closed 13

For those of us who regularly read her comments, her background in epidemiology has been well established. This predates Covid-19.

up
Voting closed 5

Also, Somerville is a geographically small. The city can not prevent people from coming or leaving the city limits. The city is not stopping private gatherings. There is no mask enforcement even if it's required.

The mayor's policy is symbolic at best unless adjacent towns also limit reopening and/or they find a way of preventing movement to and from the city.

up
Voting closed 19

Geographically small, but one of the densest cities in New England (if not THE densest). We should absolutely not open back up just because others are doing it. Not to sound like my mom, but if everyone else jumped off a cliff, etc.

Knowing that your city is not proceeding forward will hopefully give more people pause, and convince them that they need to keep wearing those masks and socially distancing. Unfortunately, we've seen a lot of people in various places see more places re-open and think "great, we've got this under control!" and start relaxing their own measures. Now is not the time for that.

up
Voting closed 39

Somerville going their own won't make a difference. I'm not opposed to the policy but it is pretty meaningless.

A much more effective policy would be fine people who have large gatherings and close businesses in which they allow people to go maskless. Most people are pretty good but it's not uncommon to see someone with their mask around their chin or leaving their nose exposed.

It's also worth looking at countries which have kept their numbers fairly low. What are they doing that we aren't? Many of these countries have far more liberal policies on business reopening but take masks more seriously, for example.

up
Voting closed 10

Seriously? It could absolutely make a difference if it results in more Somerville residents following Covid best practices.

Nowhere did I say this is the most effective step, but it's definitely helpful. I agree we should look at other measures on top of this, so that we aren't all in the same position for 2021/until a vaccine is created and can be widely distributed.

up
Voting closed 19

If the problem is people not following best practices, go after those people.

Why isn't Somerville (and other towns) inspecting and shutting down business which let employees or customers shop without a proper mask? Pull over cars with out-of-state plates and fine them if they can't show proof of a recent test of being in the state for more then 14 days.

Keeping businesses closed when they could reopen responsibly is bad policy. If everyone just wore a mask when indoors around other people this thing would be manageable within a few weeks. It wouldn't be gone but the numbers would stay fairly low.

up
Voting closed 10

Pull over cars with out-of-state plates and fine them if they can't show proof of a recent test of being in the state for more then 14 days.

Are you aware that between 80,000 and 100,000 NH residents commuted to jobs in MA every weekday before the virus hit? Some of them work essential jobs and kept commuting daily. A lot of people come from RI, too. Telling them all they have to quarantine may sound effective, but it's not workable.

People going maskless should be fined. Repeat offenders should be charged with criminal negligence.

And again: More than half of COVID-19 transmission is due to people with no symptoms

up
Voting closed 15

the law is anyone coming from a new state (new england, new york, new jersey, new pennsylvania) is not required to self quarantine. everyone else is supposed to stay inside for 14 days.

up
Voting closed 4

He said:

Pull over cars with out-of-state plates and fine them
up
Voting closed 5

They have actual leadership and don't have a society that believes this is a "liberal agenda" and "not real."

You get what you pay for and too many ppl in this country got grifted by a family of grifters.

up
Voting closed 10

The 16th densest municipality in the country. 10 of the top 15 are in the NYC metro.

up
Voting closed 12

I feel like Curtatone is going to keep kicking this down the road until the supposed eventual 2nd wave arrives- or the TV cameras stop showing up every time he announces another delay

up
Voting closed 17

we shouldn't be opening anything right now. in fact, we should be closing more.

up
Voting closed 36

How about a private booth for live performance entertainment with a plexiglass barrier?
It has been successful before.

up
Voting closed 13

Girl, tell me about it.

up
Voting closed 10

But the rash of business closures coming over the next twelve months when owners start to realize Spring ‘21 is the optimistic case to reopen just sucks. Going to take a generation to recover from this.

up
Voting closed 8