Update: COVID-19 and Boston
This serves as an update to an earlier published article on 03/02/2020 titled The Coronavirus and Its Effect on Boston by staff writer Sun Woong Choi. This is an update regarding developments with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated since the Biogen conference where an infected then-employee attended and subsequently resulted in 97 persons getting infected, a massive uptick in confirmed Massachusetts cases.
The state of Massachusetts went into a state of an emergency on March 10. Additionally Governor Baker put in a stay-at-home order on March 22, originally until April 7. This stay-at-home order has now been extended until the first week of May. This shut down any non-essential businesses, and restaurants and cafes were reduced to take-out only. Governor Baker also limited public gatherings at that time to be only ten people.
Harvard University, Tufts University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and of course, Boston University, along with other universities throughout the city have closed campuses. They have shifted the spring semester to online, using a popular application called Zoom. These campuses closed quite quickly, giving students only a handful of days to move out.
Public and private schools have also been closed by a gubernatorial order until May 4. The city of Boston is providing free breakfast and lunch meals to Boston students at specific meal sites. All Boston public libraries have been closed until further notice.
All city construction has been suspended at this time. The MTBA system is still available but its services have been reduced.
Starting on April 5, the city of Boston has also now encouraged that every person while in public needs to be wearing a mask. The city is also encouraging that any person that is not an essential worker should stay home from 9pm to 6am. Residents are encouraged to go on walks either alone or with persons living in their home during the allotted hours. City parks with recreational sports areas have been shut down. This is currently in effect until May 4th.
The Boston Public Health Commission is encouraging residents to keep practicing good hygiene by washing hands frequently, not touching one’s face, routinely cleaning and disinfecting things, and only going grocery shopping once a week.
Boston has dramatically shifted since the original article. Boston and the state of Massachusetts is still far away from their peak with the coronavirus. Currently White House officials are especially watching the Boston area as well as the Chicago area in the instance that these areas follow the same trend of New York City. Public health experts expect a continuing surge in COVID-19 cases in the city in the coming days.
As of April 9, there are 2,812 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Boston with 325 recoveries and 34 deaths. There are 18,941 confirmed cases in Massachusetts.
Update 04/13/2020: Two million cases have been confirmed worldwide.