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Three more Boston residents diagnosed with coronavirus; all contracted it at meeting at Marriott Long Wharf

Three Boston residents, all in their 40s, have tested positive for Covid-19, which they apparently contracted while attending a meeting last week at the Marriott Long Wharf organized by Cambridge drug maker Biogen, Mayor Walsh and city Health and Human Services Chief Marty Martinez said today.

It's the same meeting where a Tennessee resident and two people from overseas also contracted the virus, they said.

Two Norfolk County residents who attended the meeting have also been diagnosed with the virus. WBZ reports at least one is a resident of Wellesley, which shut two elementary schools where the person has children enrolled.

Martinez said that two of the Boston Biogen attendees showed symptoms, but the third did not.

Martinez said that fortunately, the virus is not airborne and that the Marriott had already started enhanced cleaning and sterilizing, so workers or random guests should not be at risk.

What about canceling the Marathon or the St. Patrick's Day parade? "We're not there yet," because medical experts have yet to call for that, Walsh said.

Walsh said residents need to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently, cough or sneeze into their sleeve and stay home if they feel ill. Neither Walsh, nor Gov. Baker, who attended a City Hall press conference with them, said what people who do not get paid if they don't appear at work should do about lost wages.

Walsh added that Boston's first Covid-19 patient, a UMass Boston student who returned from Wuhan, China, is doing well, but remains in self-quarantine.

Recently diagnosed patients are listed as "presumptive" because their state test results have yet to be confirmed by the federal CDC.

Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said the state can do only 40 to 50 Covid-19 tests a day, but that she expects that to rise soon as private hospitals win federal approval to do testing.



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Harvard's Longwood Medical Campus just got this announcement:

We want to let you know that Brigham and Women’s Hospital has notified Harvard that 60 people from the Marriot Hotel in Boston are en route to the hospital to be evaluated for the Coronavirus. As a result, they are closing down Shattuck Street to ensure an orderly process. BWH has the situation under control, but please avoid that area the rest of the day.

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Covid-19 has hit Wellesley (probs a Biogen employee). You could tell by the number of circling vultures, oh I mean helicopters....

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"60 people from the Marriot Hotel"

"the state can do only 40 to 50 Covid-19 tests a day, but that she expects that to rise soon"

Sounds like this is going to work out well.

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There's a group of high school students back from Italy who only just went into quarantine.

A public health official just said that *nobody* from any of the cape cod hospitals have been tested: https://www.capecodtimes.com/news/20200305/local-coronavirus-tests-need-...

...and only 25 people from the entire state have been tested.

So that means that likely nobody in that group of dozens of students have been tested, despite them milling around in the general population for a while.


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Snark oh where the snark. It’s gone bebe gone. Hmmm why da snark b gone? Did a shark eat the snark?

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Where are the people shaming those who were concerned by coronavirus with the bitchy 'get a flu shot!!' despite the fact those people had already gotten one...! Oh right, silence. There are those who take EXTRA precautions because they have loved ones who are elderly and/or serious medical conditions who would be hit hard if they unknowingly infected them with this virus before they were symptomatic were they unfortunate enough to get it.

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Yes, I was one of those people saying get a flu shot. I'm also in the high-risk group for both viruses.

Even with today's news, there have been thousands more flu cases in Massachusetts than Covid-19 (well, reported, anyway, who knows what the real numbers would be if we actually did as much testing as, oh, South Korea), and more deaths.

And it still makes sense to get a flu shot. And, amazingly, the same exact things that would reduce your odds of getting the flu or spreading it are what would protect you from Covid-19: Frequent hand washing, coughing into your sleeve and staying home.

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(Outside Massachusetts) the Canadian government is encouraging people to get flu shots, because there are finite numbers of hospital beds, nurses, etc., and COVID-19 plus influenza could overwhelm a health care system that can handle one of those diseases.

While we're about it, check that you're up-to-date on your other vaccines: a lot of adults are barely aware of adult vaccinations other than for the flu. If you're in the high risk group for flu and COVID-19, you're probably eligible for the vaccines against shingles and pneumonia. A lot of people are overdue for tetanus boosters; get it now, before you get a puncture wound and it's suddenly urgent. (I speak from experience on this one.)

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was hard to find last year. I hope availability has improved by now. Last year, I had to travel from Somerville to (independent, local) Theatre Pharmacy in Lexington to get these shots.

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I had my PCP at my healthcare center, which is in Cambridge, put me on the list for Shingrix vaccine. I ended up waiting almost a year before receiving a call about its availability, and I immediately made an appointment. I got both doses: One a year ago this month, and the other a little less than two months afterwards. Glad of it, too. I didn't have to travel that far in order to get them, either.

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Read the Plague Doctor thread below.

Are you suffering from Covfefe 45 disease?

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What? Yes, it is. That's the primary method of infection - breathing airborne droplets generated by an infected person coughing or even laughing.

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This virus spreads through droplet contact. Droplets are large and heavy and settle out of the air rather quickly.

Airborne pathogens stay in the air for long periods of time. Not a whole lot of disease are spread by airborne transmission (TB and measles are ones that do!)


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What? Yes, it is. That's the primary method of infection - breathing airborne droplets generated by an infected person coughing or even laughing.

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"Droplet" transmission means it is spread by big droplets, such as those generated by coughing or sneezing. "Airborne" transmission means it can also be spread by tiny droplets, or (I suppose) bare viral particles, which means it can travel through ventilation systems and linger in the air for hours.

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This virus doesn't seem to infect people who just happen to breath it in from the air -- there are some number of viruses which can do this. Note that: to the best evidence the [SARS-CoV-2] virus [the virus associated with COVID-19 disease] is not an "airborne virus" except in the special case of the virus being a "passenger" on or in an airborne droplet ejected by an infected person who sneezes or coughs. So to be able to be infected by the virus -- either the airborne droplet must either hit you in the face [mucus membranes of the nose, eyes or mouth] or fall onto a surface which you later touch and carry to your face for their to be any opportunity for transmission.

The range of such a droplet is just physics [aerodynamics] the same as for a fast ball thrown by say Chris Sale. The major difference being that the fast ball is for the most part on its own in encountering the air between the mound and home plate. It's velocity decays based on the air resistance which in turn depends on the frontal area of the baseball and to a lesser degree on rotation and surface roughness. In most cases the baseball arrives at the catcher's mitt not much slower than it left the pitchers hand.

The droplet leaves the infected person's nose or mouth traveling quite rapidly entrained in a stream of air. The stream of air carrying the doplets and in turn the viruses encounters stationary air and within a short distance the droplets are moving on their own. However, the droplet is quite low in mass and so the velocity of the droplet rapidly decelerates due to air resistance -- depending on droplet size. Sneezes are initially faster moving but smaller droplet sizes than coughs. Sneezes are also typically directed mostly downward due to the orientation of your nostrils. In either case after a relatively small distance [about an arm's length or so] the droplet is essentially just drifting in the air and depending on size mostly falling. The general assumption is that to be in the state of direct risk of being hit by a droplet you need to be within 2m in a direct line to the infected sneezer or cougher.

Much greater opportunity to contact a surface which could have been contaminated anytime in the past interval since the last cleaning with an 100% type of anti-virus cleanser such as alcohol or bleach.

So what is our risk of catching COVID-19 disease on say a travel on the T to attend some event such as the Spring Flower Show next weekend.

There are still only hundreds of known cases in the entire 320 Millions of us in the entire US and a handful more in Canada all of these are in isolation. In addition the disease trackers are having some few thousands of their contacts self-quarantine.

Suppose that there are 10X the number of identified cases who are not showing any symptoms and don't have any clear case connections -- so perhaps there could be 3,000 "Typhoid Mary's" out there.

The probability of you running into someone in the US carrying the virus while you take the T or attend some local event is the same as there being one of the 3,000 in the circle of people with which you would interact. Will get back to that probability in a few.

So how many people are you likely to interact with at contact distance [less than 2m] in say a T ride involving a bus, two subways and 3 stations -- surprisingly few -- ignoring rush hour and ignoring common things that you touch.

Waiting for the bus outside -- 0
Boarding the bus -- 2 or 3
riding on the bus -- 2 or 3
leaving the bus -- 2 or 3
entering the subway station -- 2 or 3
buying some rides on a Charlie Card machine -- 1
standing on the platform -- 1
entering the first train -- 1
riding on the first train -- 2
exiting the first train -- 1 to 5 depending on how crowded
traversing the station to the 2nd train platform -- 2 or 3
waiting on the platform -- 3
entering the 2nd train -- 2
riding on the 2nd train --2
exiting the 2nd train -- 2
leaving the station --2
walking on the street -- 0
total [hypothetical journey]: 27 to 36 depending on details

Let's assume that the number is 100

So what is the probability that in that 100 people you might encounter there is one of the 3,000 people chosen at random from a pool of people in the US of 300 Million to make the math simple

First we need to calculate the probability of picking one of 3,000 in 300 Million
Well the probability to pick one person out of 300 Million is 1/3x10^8. Now to simplify things let's assume that making 3,000 picks doesn't deplete the pool.

so then the Probability of picking once and getting one of the "hot ones" is 3x10^3/3x10^8
== 1/10^5

However, for each of the 100 you encounter the same probability applies so its like taking 100 picks at the lottery -- your overall probability of encountering an infected person during our hypothetical T trip is 100x (1/10^5) === 1/10^3.

Of course that assumes that at each interaction you have an equal chance of picking from a pool in which 1/10^5 are infected. In reality the cases are mostly concentrated on the West Coast with a secondary cluster in NY metro area. Riding the T is not likely to tap either of those pools.

So let's look locally where we have about 10 cases [all of whom are now isolated -- but we'll assume an equal number undetected so far] in the Greater Boston area of about 5 Million = 10/5x10^6 == 1/5 x10^5. With our hundred picks at the pile we come up with another estimate of the chance of encountering an infected person as 1/5 x10^3.

The ultimate key is then don't stay close to someone who is coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands or use a sanitizer after contacting a surface which could be contaminated -- such as something that you held onto in order to stand-up on the subway.

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