4/23/20 COVID-19 Update

  • More than 100 MBTA employees have tested positive for COVID-19
  • Governor Baker gets a shout out from President Obama for his leadership
  • Trump and infectious disease specialists clash over hydroxychloroquine
  • Governor Baker hints at rules for reopening
  • Massachusetts launches CARE Act Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program
  • Internet hotspots are heading to towns without reliable internet
  • Online learning looks, well, more like learning in Rhode Island
  • Today’s COVID-19 bright spot: UMass Memorial shows early success with first COVID-19 plasma transfusion

 

  1. Whether it’s the bus drivers across the city, train conductors or maintenance workers keeping the infrastructure sound, the MBTA is the backbone of our city and their employees are getting sick. Over 100 MBTA employees, including 52 bus drivers have tested positive for COVID-19. While six employees have recovered from the virus, one employee has sadly passed away.

 

  1. Without a cohesive national plan to combat COVID-19, Governor Baker has placed his faith and the future economy of Massachusetts in a public health system known as “test and trace.” Baker mobilized a consortium of state and local public health departments, the state health insurance market and private companies including Partners in Health, to utilize their expertise in infectious disease management to coordinate the large scale testing program and is getting praise from former President Barack Obama for his leadership.

 

  1. Rick Bright, who led the Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Research and Development Authority (BARDA) was dismissed as the deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, claiming it was over his instance the government invest money into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not drugs or vaccines that lacked scientific merit like hydroxychloroquine.

 

  1. Governor Baker indicated he and his team are putting together rules for reopening the Massachusetts economy and that business who follow them could reopen shortly after the COVID-19 surge concludes. While Governor Baker maintains it’s still premature to discuss details or dates, we can be sure continued physical distancing will play a role in these rules.

 

  1. As school districts across the state prepare to spend the rest of the year at home, Massachusetts will be one of the first states to implement the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program which will send money to help cover the costs of food to households of children who qualify for free-and-reduced priced lunch. 470,000 children in Massachusetts qualify. The preloaded EBT card comes with $5.70 a day/$28.50 a week per child. Homes within school districts who implemented universal breakfast programs will also receive the benefit.

 

  1. It’s hard to imagine in this day and age but there are thousands of residents across the Commonwealth who struggle to get internet in their communities. This week, local service providers set up six hot spots in Egremont, Monterey, Hawley and New Marlborough, as a result of a partnership between Massachusetts Broadband Institute at the MassTech Collaborative, the state-owned MassBroadband123 fiber-optic network and the local internet service providers.

 

  1. With 142,000 public school students, Rhode Island laid out a clear mandate that teachers and students would continue with their curriculum online. In contrast, Massachusetts has left online learning up to individual school districts and classroom educators to figure it out for themselves while encouraging enrichment over new content for the time being. Why?

 

  1. Hours after a critically ill COVID-19 patient received a dose of convalescent plasma, the patient dramatically improved and began the process of coming off his life-saving ventilator. People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have the antibodies in their plasma that the FDA and other medical experts believe can help and potentially save COVID-19 patients. UMass Memorial has launched the COVID-19 Plasma Registry for recovered patients local to central Massachusetts.

 

2020-04-23T08:46:21+00:00