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Why East Boston's coronavirus rate is so much higher than the rest of the city

State Rep. Adrian Madaro (D-East Boston) explains East Boston's test positivity rate of nearly 8%, compared to 4.2% in Mattapan and, according to today's stats, 1.4% statewide.

Our community isn't worse at wearing masks/social distancing, or taking fewer public health precautions than any other. That's not why our rates are higher than the suburbs. Our COVID infection rates are higher because our communities are systemically more vulnerable to the spread of this disease. This was true at the beginning of the shutdown, and it has become truer as MA has progressed through the phases of Reopening.

Many working-class Eastie residents don't have the privilege of working from home. Their jobs require them to go out to work, and in most cases they're interacting with coworkers or members of the public through jobs in the service industry - construction, cleaning, restaurants, etc. While the shutdown meant some (but not all) of these service workers were staying home, our state's reopening means that even more are back to work out in the public now. This means Eastie residents & surrounding communities have an increased risk of COVID exposure and infection.

And housing is expensive and hard to find. Most Eastie workers live in apartments that are full of family or roommates, and short on space. People share rooms. When everyone's living together in a small space, there aren't many opportunities to social distance. This means that when a worker gets sick, they have nowhere to quarantine.

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Comments

You have 6 people living in a 2 bedroom apartment, and another 4 people living in an illegal basement, multiply that by a couple of hundred, I certainly place the blame on housing inspectors for turning a blind eye, and local city councilors and at large councilors who represent the neighborhood for not enforcing the housing law , that’s the real problem. And everyone knows it!!!

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that people have to live that way.

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That's the scenario for too many.

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Also, the 116 and 117 continue to be absolute shitshows. The bunching is worse than I've ever seen before and I've regularly been on buses that look like the Green Line at rush hour (except it's noon) and I swear we have no room for people. Even though the buses are pretty well ventilated and people pop open windows, it's still somewhat anxiety inducing. Shame on the MBTA.

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The windows open on those buses?

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You can crack the ones in the back open. Don't really think it makes a difference.

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The problem is the T is running busses on a (modified) Saturday schedule. Even though many essential workers in Eastie, in addition to those in the surrounding communities of Chelsea, Revere, and Everett, depend on busses for transportation.
I know most busses are going back to regular weekday schedules on Aug 31, but this should have been done in June.

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Mbta should have every rider wearing gloves also, it’s obvious, people have to wrap their hand around those filthy handle bars on the buses and trains. Wearing Gloves should mandatory on the mbta.......

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This is ecologically sad. Parks and rec said they've been working at this for how many months!

Then they get complaints of dead animals floating around there.

Then parks and recs response.

The article make it seem like Parks and recreation we're proactive, when it seems they didn't take action into dozens of 311 calls came in.

Does everything have to be politically manipulated.

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Is the Dorchester native who got the Parks and Rec job a Marty crony or a good hire to lead the dept.? On paper looks like a standard path for a connected guy vs. hiring the best possible candidate but maybe I'm wrong.

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You've commented on the wrong article.

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They should just get some grit, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, get an MD or a law degree and move to Lexington. Problem solved. Next.

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Night classes at RCC and BHCC, right?

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Or between Job #2, Job #3 and that side gig?

Who needs to sleep or eat!

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I do fully agree with this statement.

I also believe that many people in the red zones where Covid is worst in the state right now are not obeying the rules away from the main streets. I walk around and see masks everywhere but then at night I see yards packed for parties. I see lots of people on porches all crammed in. There seems to be this sense that since people work all day with the public that it is ok to let their hair down at night with friends. A situation I fully understand but all this does is take high exposure people with access to a lot of people and mash them all into one spot. Then repeat the next day.

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They were considered "essential workers" and either work in places where people don't obey the rules or where social distancing is impossible (e.g. health care folks who assist with grooming, toileting, etc.).

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I might also add, as a longtime East Boston resident, that when walking the 8-10 blocks from where I live to Shaw's I see about maybe 60% or less of the people wearing masks. And of those, many have them hanging off their faces and not covering their noses. For a while two or three months ago I'd say it was a lot less than 60%. Not to mention a lot of people are huddling lose in front of convenience stores scratching tickets like they haven't got a care in the world. I hope this doesn't raise a chorus of "blaming the victim", because in this case I am the victim of the people not wearing masks.

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Lottery office has been closed for months but stores are still encouraging some of the most vulnerable to venture out and take part in cash only gambling. A cashier can't touch your reusable bag, but if you've been coughing on scratch tickets for a week, sure!

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Roxbury, Dorchester, and Hyde Park all have significantly lower positivity rates than Eastie, and higher than Southie or the BB/Beacon Hill. Is Eastie that much of an outlier on percentage of essential workers? Maybe, but it does seem like there’s something going on to the north with flare-ups in Lynn, Chelsea, and Everett too.

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Mattapan and Hyde Park have as much a concentration of essential workers than East Boston has. I would imagine that the only difference is the housing situation.

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Waited as long as I could.

I didn't realize the state rep was also an epidemiologist.

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His assessment of the situation is correct, regardless.

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It's no fun if you don't take the bait

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But I went into a packie in Maverick Sq. two weekends ago, and it was literally the worst display of COVID abandon that I’ve seen since March. Many, many people crowded inside without masks. (Not having removed their masks, but rather entirely without them.)

At the risk of painting with a broad brush, many of the folks inside did not strike one as public-health conscious. Many appeared intoxicated, some may have been spending most of their time on the street. Though there was a plate glass barrier at the register, I don’t recall the clerks wearing PPE either.

Wowza, do I regret going in there.

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