In his low-key way, Gov. Charlie Baker again laid responsibility for keeping everyone healthy and stopping the spread of the coronavirus on your kids, your best friend and your Uncle Bob.
Baker didn’t actually name names during his press conference at noon on Tuesday, but he did urge vigilance as he has done many times before, citing indications that people who know each other are getting too casual about wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Young people, for example, came up several times as Baker pointed out social gatherings reported recently without proper social distances. Reports from hundreds of prep schools, colleges and universities across the country note unlawful gatherings, casual contacts and rising numbers of positive COVID-19 cases, including recently at Merrimack College.
But it’s not schools Baker was highlighting in response to questions Tuesday. He suggested teenagers aren’t taking the virus seriously, in spite of the fact they can be vectors for the disease that could incapacitate their parents or grandparents. And looking ahead, Baker voiced concern about a possible spike in numbers resulting from the Thanksgiving holiday, a time when large numbers of people travel and families and friends will get together – many with precautions but many without the vigilance this virus warrants.
The governor is quick to point out that trends in the increase or decrease in positivity rates are only valid when charted over time, not by isolating a spike in the numbers.
The state is “in a strong position to be prepared for what comes next,” the governor said, with supplies of personal protective equipment ready for health care and human services workers. If necessary, the state could quickly expand hospital capacity as well.
But all that prep work and equipment won’t do much good unless people in the commonwealth are vigilant, “especially as we all move from our backyards to our living rooms and family rooms” as cold weather comes.
“Household spread. Intergenerational spread. Expect to hear these terms a lot this fall. We all have a role to play here, and it doesn’t end when we come home from work or the supermarket,” Baker said.
As part of the campaign to keep the coronavirus front and center, the state also announced the “Stop the Spread” initiative, with free testing sites in 18 cities and towns that have higher COVID-19 cases, would be extended beyond its Oct. 31 end date to the end of December.
Vigilance, everyone. Wear your mask and keep your distance. That’s how we get through this together.