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Public-health expert rips Charlie Baker on Covid-19 response; says we now have more new cases than Florida and Texas

Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, a job he took after moving from Harvard earlier this year, yesterday said he'd had enough of what he said is Charlie Baker's cavalier attitude toward Covid-19:

Massachusetts has more new COVID cases per capita than Georgia, Florida, or Texas.

Our wastewater data (below) shows more infections in the community than we had in April.

Our hospitalizations, deaths are up 100% in last 3 weeks.

But our casinos and tanning salons are still open.

For many months, I defended Charlie Baker against critics, saying our governor has done a good job.

Over past 6 weeks, I've gone from uncomfortable to aghast at lack of action.

Its incomprehensible.

They must see different data because no rational explanation for lack of action.

Jha pointed to the data from Deer Island, showing cases in eastern Massachusetts will shortly be exploding even more than they've been doing.

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Comments

I thought Baker did a good job this spring, but I've been appalled with him for the past few months. The change is so drastic, it feels like two different people.

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How dare you besmirch the record of Saint Charlie. Everyone approves of his efforts, even those in the ICU. Saint Charlie always leads from behind. This time, he's not even jetting off for a ski vacation.

ALL HAIL SAINT CHARLIE!

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Yeah I am a bit disappointed about Charlie this time around too. I thought he was doing good with his actions in the spring, but now he's not.

I get it, he faced alot of crap when he forced everyone to shutdown. If he does it again many small businesses with close. As someone described below, its a snowball effect.

Its a hard choice, especially around the holidays. Thats part of the issue too. If he closes down the state during the business shopping season of the year, it will put the nail into so many stores...

I get it.. Business vs Life. Of course Life matters more than business. But this now is turning into damned of we do, damned if we don't situation.

I agree the issue isn't Charlie so much, but the Fed. O Orange one takes a good chunk of the blame but everyone in the Fed isn't O Orange one and has a mind of their own too. I do put much of it onto Mitch McTurtle tho.

But without some sort of relief or aid, closing will just keep businesses closed forever.

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If a large proportion of staff is too sick to work, that hurts businesses too. Not to mention what happens when hospitals and ICUs are overflowing.

I get not wanting to go to lock down. But even going back to Phase 2 would help a lot. Though a true lock down could provide a much-needed circuit breaker, just like what happened last spring.

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Phase 2 would help a lot because people wouldn't be tempted to go to restaurants and such because they'd be closed.

But, frankly, the spring circuit breaker bought us a lot of time by getting case levels low enough that even with exponential growth the baseline was low enough that we didn't get to dangerous levels for a couple of months (it appears that it's been about doubling every two weeks since early October). And it only takes two weeks to circuit break, after which you have about 8 to 10 weeks where cases are low, which is probably enough to get us towards the point where a vaccine can start having enough effect that the spread rate starts slowing down.

We have a perfect circuit breaker coming up with the holidays. Schools are already closed. A lot of offices are closed or shut down. Restaurants are already quiet during that period. If you could somehow get people to stay the eff home, there would be relatively low business issues.

So come out and say:


"We are going to have a hard shutdown from Dec 23 to Jan 4. We expect that only the most essential of workers will be out during this time: grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. We strongly suggest that you buy your groceries beforehand so that we can knock the spread down to zero during this time. We will take over hotels as needed to house front-line workers who may be exposed to the virus. There will be no outside-your-household gatherings for Christmas or New Years. There will be a strictly-enforced quarantine for anyone entering the Commonwealth (this would work better if it were a regional or national effort, of course). After that time, we plan to reopen, and we believe that by reducing the baseline levels of the disease, we will be able to limit the spread such that, if the planned vaccine rollout continues as planned, we will not need another shutdown of this type."

Of course, Saint Charlie would never do this. He's too perfect. (Obviously Trump wouldn't, either.)

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In other words, given the information known, it won’t work.

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I'm vocal on here about masks, so its not like I am *against* lockdown. Infact, I support it. I've know lots of infected people and a few who are having severe issues with it. But I have bartender, wait staff, and hotel worker friends who are suffering too. I see both sides.

But yes I agree a phase 2 would help alot. We've learned alot since the spring and we're realizing its about spray, airflow, and that masks do help. So yes, banning indoor dining would help a ton.

But as we saw, many places could not survive on take out only and just closed. How many more will close too?

My overall point to my post is I feel like Baker is not doing as much as he should be doing, or was doing.

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But as we saw, many places could not survive on take out only and just closed. How many more will close too?

They wouldn't have to close if there were a federal response. Instead, all we got is grift.

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6 weeks ago, many of us here on UHub were sounding the alarm saying that the writing for a surge was on the wall - the numbers were ticking up, weather was getting colder, Thanksgiving was on the horizon, and holiday (indoor) shopping season was eminent. It’s nice to be validated by Jha.

Baker (and Walsh, et. al.) have hammered the now-cliche “we’re going to continue to monitor the data and make decisions based on that”. WHAT DATA ARE WE WAITING FOR, CHARLIE AND MARTY? What magic data point that will prompt action beyond a 9:30pm curfew?

Remember when Baker changed the color-code criteria on the town-by-town map so that Mass showed fewer towns in the red? Wow, that really helped to mitigate spread! Let’s move some more goalposts.

We’ve talked repeatedly here how Baker and local mayors have to eat the crap sandwich of doing what’s right for public health (shutdowns and shelter in place orders) and grinding businesses and working people into dust, but if he isn’t going to actually take action and he isn’t actually going to lobby the Washington GOP for direct aid to the Commonwealth, then he should be transparent and state that he has given up. It’s time to stop pretending.

Claiming that Covid policy is data-driven while taking bare-effing-minimum action when the data so plainly demands intervention is extremely weak. Leadership has punted and punted and punted and even if the curve “flattens” right now, December is set to see the highest number of new cases of any month yet. It is December 6.

Is anyone willing to lead? Or are we just running out the clock until the January 20th Biden inauguration?

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If we act more aggressively, more people will be out of work, fewer taxes collected, and the more state services will have to pick up the slack. Baker can't print money. It'd be a death spiral without federal support.

It's a pick-your-poison. Do we try to cope with increasing cases or increasing destitution?

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But If that is the case Baker should be transparent and say he isn’t actually “monitoring the data” or that the data has to be super catastrophic for him to act. Stop with the charade. Lobby the Washington GOP for immediate relief.

Do s o m e t h i n g. Lead.

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The virus is a spreading because people are ignoring government advice. They are having private gatherings. They are not wearing masks. They are traveling and not isolating. The only thing which could change their behavior is if they think their lives are seriously at risk. Nothing Baker orders will change that.

I fault the government's response in every possible way but in the end even the best policies will fail if people do not comply.

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Going to hair salons. Tanning salons. The casino. Smoking on crowded sidewalks. All allowed by Governor Baker.

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So you really think Baker would order people smoking on public sidewalks or be arrested? For the police to hunt down and stop private gatherings?

People who take it seriously aren't going to restaurants even if it's allowed. And people who don't give a shit aren't correctly wearing a mask even if that's been mandated for months.

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You conveniently did not respond to the more salient parts of Lee's post: restaurants and cafes, hair salons, tanning salons, the casino. It's true that people who take COVID seriously already aren't going to those places. Baker could shut them down and then the people who don't give a shit also wouldn't be going, and their failure to wear masks properly wouldn't matter as much because they wouldn't be doing it around so many other people.

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.. going to do those things.

He’s useless.

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I have written about 20 emails to Charlie's office on the subject of covid guidelines since the start of the pandemic I am always respectful and trying to suggest changes or question the guidelines. None of them were acknowledged or answered, not even an auto reply.

I have come to the conclusion that Charlie and his staff don't care. He thinks he can rest on his popularity.

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You mean human beings?

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I have personal knowledge about employees of a hospital in Cambridge smoking on their breaks. They still congregate outside in a designated smoking area, with no masks, no social distancing, conversing in a group, just like the before times. I know one of the smokers. He just tested positive and is currently self quarantining. He doesn't know where he got it.

It has been reported in the press that covid has spread among hospital employees in employee cafeterias.

My point is that there needs to be more regulations, and more enforcement of regulations, because even hospital employees who should know better and still spreading covid by acting like it's the before times.

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Elected officials are hired (figuratively speaking) to lead and make tough decisions. Anyone who has been a parent, anyone who has cared for parents at and of life, anyone who has held a role of management/responsibility at their job, pretty much *anyone* knows what it’s like to face a challenge and have only two choices where option A is a nightmare and option B is a catastrophe.

It’s an unenviable position to be sure, but decisions are required nonetheless. We pay Baker to manage this crisis. He signed up for this gig; Governors spend a year asking the citizenry to entrust them with this job. And as someone who has made tough decisions on a massively lower scale, I have empathy for the guy, but Baker is doing nothing to mitigate Covid spread.

Baker “monitoring the data” isn’t doing any more to prevent the spread than you and I monitoring the data from our sofas. Intervention is required and it is Baker’s duty and responsibility to make tough decisions and take action. Baker could publicly demand Mitch McConnell and (Baker-endorsed) Susan Collins pass meaningful relief for independent businesses like restaurants and individuals. He could become more strict on malls/big box retail/grocery store capacity. Roll back some restaurant restrictions/capacities. Gyms and tanning salons need not be open. Roll back office capacity. Issue a stricter shelter in place order.

And of course individuals are being irresponsible and gathering independently and traveling and not quarantining. The reason they feel free to do so is that our government has sent the message that we are kinda-sorta “back to normal” and we have abused the word “safe” to the point where people have become complacent or apathetic. A clear message needs to be sent to take this more seriously and that is not done via Baker’s and Walsh’s press conferences that no one watches. Send that message through tougher life-impacting restrictions—that is within Baker’s power.

This whole “what do you want Baker to do?” argument is tired when we are to set match Q3’s total number of new cases in week 1 of December. And if Baker’s position is that his hands are tied and he isn’t actually “monitoring the data” and he is using that phrase to disguise a perpetual punt, then he should be 100% transparent and say “this is the status quo, you’re on your own, and I hope you like this field hospital ‘cause that’s all I got ¯\_(ツ)_/¯“.

Be real with us, Charlie.

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Chuck doesn't have a magic bag he can just pull from.

In case you missed it, the majority of GOP politicians wont even publicly admit Biden won.

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Reset to April.

Seriously. Nobody should be going out except to get groceries, if that.

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It's called the Rainy Day Fund. It's for really rainy days like right now.

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1/2 the rainy day fund is used to fund the July 1 2020 -- June 30 2021 budget. The legislature just passed that bill.

That leaves the other 1/2 for the July 1 2021 -- June 30 2022 budget. Sure, we might be DONE with Covid-19 by July 1, 2021. It doesn't seem prudent to bet on it though.

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I mean, you could say a shutdown might help the economy that way. Keep people alive since apparently our only real function is to keep "the economy" going. Maybe Baker would understand that argument?

Clearly it's not about public health anymore.

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Considering that we're a net payer of federal funds, the word I'd like to use is "rebate."

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Maybe we should take Florida and Texas approach to Covid and see if the numbers go down. Not sure any of these policies set forth have any effect. What is the point of a 10 pm curfew?

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What is the point of a 10 pm curfew?

What is the point of being out past 10 pm with a pandemic raging? Where do you need to go and what do you need to do?

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Or maybe you’d just like to get some fresh air without having to dodge all the people walking past your front door during more regular hours.

It’s not good for public safety when streets are deserted. It’s not good for public health when you’re restricted from exercising to the same window of time as everyone else in your neighborhood.

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The curfew applies specifically to allowed hours of businesses. Care to manufacture more objections?

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... need to walk the dog. Not all dogs can go from 9 to 7 without a pee break.
... need for fresh air and exercise. Not everyone can or wants to be outside on busy streets even more crowded than they already are because of pointless curfews.

Did you read my post???

Or do you just like to make people repeat themselves?

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It limits only hours of some businesses (mainly sit-down restaurants). I think it's pointless, but it's also not that limiting.

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I assumed it was the same silly curfew from last spring. I should have informed myself. However I see no reason for any sort of curfew.

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Did you read my post???

Did you read mine? I just explained to you, with a link, that your need for fresh air and your dog's need to take a dump are not affected by this.

Next time just click the link.

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It seems clear that no matter how bad this gets, Baker does not intend to shut anything down. The spread is totally out of control and at this point, as a society, we should probably be paying people not to work for several weeks to keep the economy afloat, keep hospitals from being overwhelmed, and keep people alive until we can bring it under control again.

I don't believe Baker ever intended to close anything down again after opening it back up this summer, and by now I think we can all see how well it's worked to nicely ask people if they would be willing make sacrifices and do their civic duty.

I hate this :-(

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One terrorist attack killed 3500 people in a very dramatic fashion and society and government went batshit crazy over that.

Virus killing more than that daily? Wimper. Silent terrorism borne of malicious negligence just doesn't get the attention of people who insist it doesn't exist and are too busy watching youtube videos that "prove" the election was stolen.

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If it doesn't touch people personally or they don't see it (like 9/11, George Floyd, Concentration Camp videos, etc) then people don't see it as a "huge" problem that should disrupt 80% of their lives.

2,354 or 13,200 or 54,333 deaths in a given amount of time often doesn't mean anything if that person doesn't know someone personally who died. That is also why Baker is rolling his political dice right now. His inaction is his action.

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(Relax, this isn't about the Incontinent Orange.)

Our entire Federal Government failed us.

Not just Mitch, not just Nancy.

ALL OF THEM.

We are living through a once-in-a-century plague and those $^@%@%@&$$ gave BILLIONS to the wealthy and left the states and the vast majority of Americans to fight for themselves.

People are sick and dying. But instead of helping us get toilet paper; Mnuchin's Country Club, Jared's friends, and Diaper Don's co-conspirators got millions for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

This administration is a criminal enterprise but the elected officials who should be putting a stop to it either simply don't care or are wholly complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

They all need to go.

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If you want to get really pissed at the feds, I’m talking non elected bureaucrats and career employees, google “Operation Turtle Speed”.

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Lovely how the denial of the reality of how a certain leader is to blame now has a special pet name.

The reality is that Trump and his idiot son in law deliberately disbanded our defenses against epidemics, stole ppe, and deliberately destroyed all the infrastructure built up to keep us from ending up in this situation.

Enjoy your nasty infection. Blame the libs if you want - you can't vote when you are dead.

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I’m talking non elected bureaucrats and career employees

You mean the career employees that Trump has been removing and replacing with unqualified seig-heiling loyalists?

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How is anyone supposed to keep their job is MA shuts down? Do you work?

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We have a constitution that makes it too easy for people to vote for gridlock. A majority of Mainers voted for Biden AND Susan Collins (= Mitch McConnell). In any other western democracy that wouldn't be possible, because the head of government is always the person whose party or coalition commands a majority in parliament.

Nothing gets done in Washington because people make contradictory votes: a Democrat for President, a Republican for Congress. Why should thy be surprised when nothing gets done? This constitution, written by people whose nightmares were of Oliver Cromwell's military dictatorship, deliberately makes it hard to get anything done in Washington. The rise of a Republican Party with a strict ideological party line -- something this country has never seen before -- changes that from difficult to impossible. Biden may not even be able to get his Cabinet nominees through a Senate controlled by Mitch McConnell, who has just been reelected for a term that's two years longer than Biden's. He's going to treat Biden much the same as he treated Obama, so we can expect four more years of government shutdowns, "fiscal cliffs", games of chicken with the debt ceiling, and nothing, but nothing ever getting done.

This constitution belongs on the trash heap of history; give us a constitution like Canada's any day.

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Nope, that one is on Maine's stupid electorate. "Wahhh, Gideon mailed too many flyers." How dare you be conveniently informed about people campaigning to represent* you!

That trash-ass welfare state gets the awful government that it deserves.

*No, I don't think that's actually happening, but I'm humoring her in saying that

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Baker is one of the few Republican elected officials urging people to wear masks and treat the pandemic extremely seriously, as opposed to publicly humiliating mask wearers and pretending science isn't real. I think
he's done a good job. In terms of those Mass. residents virus spreaders deliberately flouting medical guidelines per their Dear Leader... well, you can't fix stupid.

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The virus is again ransacking Europe. It's ransacking every state in the US irrespective of whatever mandates are and aren't applied. Massachusetts is actually better than most states at having people wear masks. I talk to friends elsewhere and they report the masked person is the outlier at most stores.

Meanwhile in many Asian counties it's been the norm to wear a mask when you are sick even if there is no mandate and no serious risk of death. People take public health more seriously and it shows.

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I talk to friends elsewhere and they report the masked person is the outlier at most stores.

How the (expletive) is this still a thing that is to be debated? If you're asked to wear a mask on someone else's private property, and you balk, then you don't respect private property rights, in which case, you are a Communist. Period. Full stop.

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No clue, man. If people correctly wore masks indoors COVID wouldn't be gone but it would be a much, much smaller problem.

Avoiding COVID is easy if people just do a few simple things.

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People there also take other people’s wellbeing more seriously and it shows.

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It's ransacking every state in the US irrespective of whatever mandates are and aren't applied.

It isn't "ransacking" Hawaii, which got serious about quarantines very early, and remains serious.

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“1 out of 50 ain’t bad!” 2%.

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Vermont was able to stay clear until the end of last month, but it isn't an island.

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The R0 (replication rate) is now number 5 in the country. It’s ridiculous to claim that we’re doing better than the rest of the country when the evidence is that we aren’t

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It might mean something now that we are in widespread community transmission, but it is useless for public health purposes.

Other than giving stat worshippers something to fixate over because it is a single number.

Why is is useless? It assumes uniform risk in the population. That's why. Not only is that an extremely bad assumption with COVID 19, it also doesn't tell us anything useful about where the epidemic is surging - what geographies, what populations.

If you want a single number - something directly measured - check out the MWRA data for viral activity in sewage.

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But you can close restaurants and bars and bowling alleys and casinos to prevent stupid from going out and spreading the virus.

(I heard about one instance in which a grocery store worked infected a bunch of staff at the store. Why? Because he'd been out at a bowling alley a few days before. My first reaction was "why the eff are bowling alleys open?" but Saint Charlie seems to have no qualms about that.)

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That the worker picked it up a the bowling alley? Couldn’t they just as easily have picked it up at work? front line workers are risking a lot when they go to work. Just as much as at a bowling alley.

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.

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That they were able to successfully track this person’s specific strand of Covid to the bowling alley? If contact tracing is working so well, why is Covid spreading like wildfire? Would they really be able to tell if someone picked up Covid in the lobby of their apartment building getting the mail, at the grocery store, picking up a prescription at cvs, or going to a bowling alley? It could be all or any of the above. I know we have this ability, but is it actually being executed successfully? I’m all for social distancing and contact tracing, but there are many people who pick up Covid and have no idea where they could have gotten it. Also, if front lines workers have to go out and risk their health every day like it’s no big deal (no hazard pay, for example), why wouldn’t they go to a bowling alley? Does going to the bowling alley with known friends (I assume everyone was wearing masks) after multiple shifts in the grocery store really seem more risky than thousands of encounters with strangers day in and day out?

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Look it up yourself.

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I haven't heard of the bowling alley incident and would appreciate a pointer to more information about it.

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I don’t know the source of this story, but the original poster Ari O is a longtime credible UHub participant and there isn’t much reason to doubt him.

Asking for a source for the story is totally reasonable, but the other poster’s questioning the efficacy of contact tracing and other underinfotmed musings resemble, at least on the surface, COVID denialism and echos the talking points used by right wingers and conspiracy theorists to undermine good-faith efforts to contain coronavirus spread.

Why is it so hard for the other poster to imagine a workplace Covid outbreak traced to a recreational outing to a bowling alley? Even if the person who told Ari O this story made it all up, what reason do we have to impugn the idea that local contract tracers can’t figure out how Covid got into a grocery store?

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That it can’t happen and can’t be traced. It seems that we do have a limitation on what is possible for contact tracing though. All I’m saying is that there are many people who don’t have a clue where they got it. People who are reasonably safe, maybe they picked it up at the grocery store? Nobody knows. I wish we could be more like South Korea where they use phone data to ping you if you were around a Covid infected person. We need better contact tracing to get this thing under control. If we had solid contact tracing and enforced quarantine for those infected, it would be much easier to control. I get upset when people blame grocery store workers and bar tenders for doing something like going bowling when they are living an entirely different risk than the work from home crowd. All I’m saying is that if you are constantly exposed to Covid day in and day out with very little support or recognition (again, where is the hazard pay?), going bowling doesn’t seem that high risk. Maybe this person did get it from bowling, but is that any riskier than the grocery store work they are doing? It might be, but it seems like splitting hairs. Evidently, the coworkers got sick from work, not from bowling, proving that working in a grocery store is a risk.

Edit: additionally, people want to blame something like bowling, or having a friend over for thanksgiving whenever someone gets Covid (whether or not contract tracing was done). I’m sure these are risky things, and not something I would do. But, it is easy to blame the thing that looks recreational over the necessary things like going to work or buying groceries. Nobody wants to know that going to the grocery store is a high risk thing, especially because most people cannot afford instacart for their grocery needs. I’m not trying to be conspiratorial. I’m just trying to think all of this through. I’m allowed that.

Second edit: we also tend to blame individuals, even though this is a societal issue. If we could put everyone in strict quarantine and drastically improve contact tracing, we could live with less fear. People have bee couped up for almost 10 months now. While I do think we need to take individual responsibility, we have to admit that staying in relative lockdown is untenable for the long term. Humans need other humans. We need experiences beyond walking around our block day in and day out. Lockdown itself is a public health issue with consequences of its own that need to be addressed. The solution can’t just be sit alone all winter. Many people aren’t going to do that regardless of political persuasion, even though some will (also regardless of political persuasion). I know republicans who are very safe who social distance better than democrats I know. I hate that even having a slightly different opinion or though process means that someone is automatically a conspiracy theorist Republican. That line of thinking needs to be reconsidered.

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Did you find the link to the bowling alley story yet or are you now willing to admit you post anecdotes and made up stories to support your argument?

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How about ripping the response of the citizenry? The lack of personal responsibility and accountability is appalling.

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The individuals protesting mask mandates and gathering in private homes without precautions are indeed a-holes.

But I hold the people that ask for a leadership job via an election and to whom we pay money to manage this crisis to a much higher standard.

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Wants to cut public transportation and look the other way when passengers and staff don’t wear masks.

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Why shouldn't it be at least restricted to essential workers?

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Look in the mirror people. The problem is YOU, not Charlie. Evidence shows the spread is happening in people's homes and private get-togethers, parties, weddings, etc. Not in restaurants, casinos or tanning beds.

No one is forcing you to go out. You can shelter in place without a government edict. And you won't spread the virus. Its that simple. But it's a helluva more convenient to blame other people while you go about your business the same as always except with a mask.

At least we haven't caught Charlie going to Moo or The Capital Grill with his buddies and he sure as heck isn't flying to Mexico and recording videos telling people not to travel. He's leading by example rather than edict. For one, I appreciate it.

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It’s false to say only households and get-togethers are the only significant sources of Covid spread.

A week of contract tracing in El Paso, TX shows that half of new Covid cases stem from in-person retail shopping. Colorado has traced many of its large outbreaks to big box retailers. And the CDC now labels in-store as higher risk.

Mayor Walsh has pointed to workplace spread as a leading cause and a recent Stanford University study labels restaurants as “super spreaders” and points to a direct correlation to indoor dining capacity and significant increased risk of spread.

Of course individuals need to take more responsibility, but Baker’s current attitude “let’s do nothing and see what happens” isn’t working out. “At least” is an accurate phrase to describe Baker’s initiative to stop the spread over the last 6 weeks. At least.

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You have a job that allows you to work from home.

How nice.

And you can order stuff so you can stay home ... while someone else without that luxury gets exposed constantly to bring you that stuff.

Sweet.

Now, I have a task for you: please provide evidence where an "every man for himself" approach to an airborne respiratory epidemic has EVER worked.

I'm waiting ...

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No, I ride the Orange line to my office every day. I work in person on a floor with other specially distanced people. Yes, I have the benefit of an office.

Maybe some of you are such sheep that you need the shepherd to steer you into the right way to act. You can take care of yourself even during the pandemic. Sure, it’s easy to blame Trump or Charlie and succumb to your own fears. Life is not easy. That’s not their fault. Do the right thing and most of the time things will work out well. You don’t need an edict for that.

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You can call out of all the maskholes, etc that you want. We can all join in a massive shaming campaign. But without effective leadership, it would create as much harm as good.

The libertarian approach to pandemic control just doesn’t work.

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Respect the private property rights of others by wearing a mask on their property when asked.

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who does the neighborhood park belong to?

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So wear a mask there if government asks you to do so.

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You have to eat. You have to pay the rent. You have to keep the bill collectors at bay. That's what's forcing you to go out. The only people who never have to go out are in their graves.

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This is how he managed at Harvard Pilgrim, too, very risk-averse and waited to see what happened before making decisions, according to what I've read. Pretty much the opposite of who you want in this kind of situation.

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What is the average cycle threshold for positive test cases in MA?

Anything over 40 is meaningless.

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Breaking News

Random person reads something online with numbers in it, now thinks they're an expert on how PCR testing works

Story at 11

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And payroll patriots are still on the payroll and all they can do is blame blue collar workers and small business owners who are stressed out,laid off and going broke. We followed the rules they break their own rules and they blame us for the spread of the virus.

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That is why restaurants remained open. Heaven forbid those who can’t go without their habitual indulgence in gourmet food, table service and conspicuous consumption be inconvenienced!!!

The hell with restaurant staff who are deemed essential workers and have to chose between exposing themselves to maskless patrons or not paying their bills.

Yet it was okay for secondhand stores to be shut down in the spring and public libraries still limited in operation. Things that are basic needs like clothing and internet access that the poor and working class are not always able to access. And now cuts to public transportation. These are things beneath consideration for limo riding Lord Baker.

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Voting closed 38

Restaurants are open because they employee people. It’s not to please the rich, it’s to allow people to earn money.

What a terrible take.

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Hahaha!

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Did you share your aerosols with some unfortunate restaurant server because you couldn’t do take out and serve yourself? You needed to feel important enough to be served and then get to decide that server’s pay with no repercussions if you stiff them?

No one except essential workers should be obliged to deal with unmasked people and only in the course of their work where mouths must be examined.

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I also regret my local library not being open. It seems like it should be possible to open my local one safely. I don't get why it has been completely shuttered all this time.

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Boston's been closed since March, right? But in the burbs the libraries are open.

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Limited hours for drop off and pick up only.
The main branch allows some access to computers if you reserve a time slot. I think they are still allowing that.

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The Boston Public Library isn't open for general browsing but they've been making books available for pickup and there's some limited access to the public computers by reservation. That's also how at least some of the suburbs are doing things too, although I guess others are actually open.

Practically speaking I guess the key thing is that just being in the library is one of the safer places you can be compared to other businesses that have opened (low density, big rooms, talking is discouraged) but libraries are built to encourage people to stay for hours and read, which is something people absolutely should not be doing right now, so the question is whether having the doors open is worth the effort if you only want people to come in to get a book and then leave.

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Voting closed 13

December weather is very different in Texas, Florida, and Georgia compared to Massachusetts. It's obvious that weather/climate is having a big impact on how COVID spreads. Glance at charts of cases by state and you see that in cooler states, cases are shooting up by orders of magnitude. In warmer states, cases are rising, but not as dramatically.

The dean should have acknowledged that. Charlie Baker has no control over the weather.

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If only someone told Charlie that it gets cold in December in Massachusetts maybe he could have developed a plan to account for that. You can’t blame the guy for not having a crystal ball.

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I had heard a lot of governors don't want to shut down and have lots more people on the unemployment insurance system. They are waiting for the feds to fix unemployment and then they will shut down.

I do not support this. We should shut down NOW.

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Voting closed 11