In our January 30, 2020 edition, our front page headline was:
“DON’T BE NAÏVE- CORONAVIRUS IS A SERIOUS THREAT
China has a direct flight to Logan Airport, so don’t be complacent when it comes to viral pandemics. U.S. health officials are expanding their checks of international travelers for signs of coronavirus. A source told WBZ-TV that coronavirus screenings will start at Boston’s Logan Airport “soon”. The airport has so far not been screening passengers for coronavirus, because there are no direct flights from Boston to the hardest-hit areas. Nonetheless, direct flights from China cannot unequivocally affirm that those travelers from the Wuhan area have not traveled through other parts of China to travel here.”
There’s no doubt in either Governor Charlie Baker or Mayor Marty Walsh’s minds, based on available information, that Massachusetts is one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus. The Commonwealth has reported over 41,000 cases of the virus – more than any other state except New York and New Jersey.
On a more positive note, in a new WalletHub ranking of “States Slowing Down The Most During The COVID-19 Pandemic,” Massachusetts is near the top at No. 10. The survey looked at the decrease in the percentage of visits to different kinds of places during the pandemic, in categories such as retail and recreation, grocery and pharmacy, parks, transit stations and workplaces. Massachusetts saw a particularly high score when it comes to transit changes. The MBTA recently noted that ridership on the T is down 90%. The state most slowed down by coronavirus is Hawaii, according to WalletHub, followed by New York and New Jersey.
You need no more advice from this newspaper, since you get daily briefings from the Governor, the Mayor, and the President. Sometimes these briefings, especially in the case of President Donald Trump, get downright confusing. Regardless of your source of information, you may want to listen to those level-headed members of your families, who implore you to isolate or keep your distance, wear a mask at all times, re-connect with your family and important people and have closer communication for the God you worship.
The hard, cold facts in Massachusetts are 152 new deaths, 1,961 total deaths, 1,556 new cases. Whether we are near, at or over the surge plateau isn’t exactly clear. But Gov. Charlie Baker sent yet another signal that the numbers are looking relatively (stress: relatively) good these days – and yesterday he opted for a football metaphor in saying, “This is a little like the third or fourth quarter and we’re holding our own here,” Baker said. “Don’t let the virus win the game. Play it all the way to the end.” In other words: Do your social-distancing jobs, everyone. People are still dying in large numbers.