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Mayor relates sad coronavirus story out of the South End; says no way Boston will fully re-open next week

COVID-19 Media Availability 4/27/20

Mayor Walsh today recounted a story about a 70-year-old South End resident who was hospitalized with Covid-19 last week. He asked his doctor and a social worker if he could somehow marry his long-term partner.

They started the process and the City Clerk's office rushed to get the paperwork ready - and the couple spent two days married before the man died on Saturday, Walsh said at a press conference at City Hall.

Walsh added that no matter what Gov. Baker announces about the current state of emergency, which expires May 4.

"I can tell you right now Boston will not re-open on May 4," Walsh said, pointing to the continuing surge in cases and the need to develop a comprehensive "recovery framework."

"No question May 4 is too early" for re-opening the state - especially if done "without a clear and thoughtful plan," he said.

"We can't afford to make any mistakes," he added.

Walsh urged Bostonians to keep those masks on in public. And don't even think of tossing them on the ground. Also don't even think of going into a supermarket without one: "Quite honestly this is unacceptable," he said.

He said he only heard of Somerville's new face-mask requirement a few minutes before press conference, but plans to talk to Joe Curtatone across the river today.

"If we need to, we will," but hopes people will mask up voluntarily.

While Gov. Baker downplayed the current importance of antibody testing, Walsh played up the importance - including testing that starts today with Mass. General in East Boston, Roslindale and the 02121 and 02125 Zip codes. He said knowing where the virus has been is critical to deploying public-heath and other resources and that he plans to expand it in coming days.

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It's a requirement--but you likely just mistyped:

He said he only heard of Somerville's mandatory face-mask **ban**

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Was thinking "ban on going out maskless," but the way I wrote it needed to be fixed, so I did, thanks.

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Because of inaccuracies, antibody testing isn't good for deciding if individuals have had COVID-19.

However, aggregated results of antibody testing could be useful for getting a picture of how many people in a given area have had COVID-19 as long as there's a reasonable estimate of the test's sensitivity and specificity that can be used to correct the estimated prevalence.

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Yes. Also important detail: the randomly selected 1000 participants will receive both diagnostic (viral) and antibody tests. That gives two important data points for each that can be put through statistical analysis.

Doing a random sample of just the diagnostic testing would be useful, because you'd be able to identify people in the population that are infected and then monitor them for development of symptoms, or lack of development of symptoms.

I'm no expert on this, but I think that looking at a snapshot in time like this study will do, it would help give credibility to the antibody test (both specificity and selectivity) if the prevalence of asymptomatic carriers is determined to be the same from both tests within the same population at that single time point. Obviously if you have no indication of ever being infected, you can definitely become infected later and test positive in a subsequent test.

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Yay, he's repeating the questions now! Good work, whoever doggedly emailed him previously on that front.

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It's the governor who continues to not repeat questions.

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Walsh urged Bostonians to keep those masks on in public. And don't even think of tossing them on the ground. Also don't even think of going into a supermarket without one: "Quite honestly this is unacceptable," he said.

Which is pretty much what I've come to expect from him. The guy is much better at lip service than public service, and clearly happy sticking to low hanging fruit when it comes to getting things done.

Think about how absurdly militant this town is about enforcing every minute detail of so many other policies and regulations, sometimes to the point of absurdity. STFU and do something about it.

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But we really really really do need to open up some streets to pedestrians and shut down some to motorists.

Why isn’t the Mayor on this?

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Name a street that can be shut down, that will provide meaningful recreational opportunities to a reasonable number of people and won't be overly burdensome to the motoring public. (Memorial Drive being closed on Sundays meets this criteria and I fully support that.)

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The construction ban has loused up infrastructure improvements. Who suffers most from poor infrastructure? Guess.

All the schools are closed, so the kids have to work over the internet. Don't have broadband in your neighborhood? Sorry, that's nonessential construction. Can't have it.

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I for one have appreciated being able stay at home without the 30+ unit building going up 10 yards from my back porch being worked on for 60 hrs/week. The first few weeks of this were absolutely miserable.

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Does it make you equally happy to know that Marty has stopped the extension of broadband to those Boston neighborhoods that still lack it?

It’s a lot easier to work and study during this shutdown if you have adequate internet access.

But if your area doesn’t have it, per Marty you won’t be able to get it until after the shutdown.

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but hopes people will mask up voluntarily

Narrator: They aren't and won't.

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I had a wealthy friend who also got married in their hospital bed, shortly before passing away, for tax/estate purposes.

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He's just working within the rules that society has laid out. Best wishes to his widow.

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