Even with the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine arriving in Massachusetts, the number of cases continues to rise.
And with the vaccination spreading for months, health experts and doctors say it may not be long before a complete shutdown of the state’s economy becomes necessary.
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Governor Charlie Baker said all along he would allow public health data to guide his decisions on whether to undo the reopening again. On Sunday, a series of new restrictions went into effect, including a statewide rollback to Stage 3, Step 1 of the state’s reopening plan. New restrictions on outdoor restaurants and gatherings were also included in the latest round of COVID-19 regulations.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said last week he would not rule out a city lockdown if the situation did not improve.
“People say shut down everything, and some say,” Don’t shut everything down, “he said.” If we feel we need to close it, we will close it. “
Mayor Marty Walsh said Boston has no plans to backtrack on its reopening plan for now, but that may be a possibility if infection numbers rise.
Hospital leaders and other medical experts told the Boston Globe that additional restrictions or a complete lockdown could become a reality by the end of this month.
“I would be extremely shocked if there was no more significant downturn or state shutdown by January 1st,” Eric Dixon, chief executive of UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, told Globe.
“The real concern is that there might not be any options left except for the lockdown,” said Sam Scarpino, director of Northeastern University’s Emergent Epidemics Lab.
“It’s not rocket science. It’s just mathematics,” Dr. John Santiago, an emergency room physician and state legislator from Boston, said on Twitter. “The longer you wait, the worse everyone will be.”
Amidst the push back from re-opening in Massachusetts, one Danvers restaurant owner called for the state to escalate.
Massachusetts recorded its fifth day in a row with more than 4,000 cases of the new coronavirus on Sunday, with 4,677 cases.
There are now 11,098 confirmed deaths and 279,574 cases, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. There will likely be another 251 deaths linked to COVID-19 at this time.
More than 1,700 people were reported to be hospitalized on Sunday due to confirmed cases of the disease, with more than 340 in intensive care units and nearly 180 intubated.