Massachusetts’ coronavirus numbers have been trending in the right direction over the past few weeks.
There were 140 confirmed new cases reported Tuesday, with 18 confirmed deaths. While still sobering, it’s a far cry from the thousands of daily positive tests — and hundreds of deaths — seen earlier this spring.
The improving numbers have led to a growing sense of impatience among Massachusetts residents and businesses that the state’s “reopening” has gone too slowly.
Compare that with the experience of dozens of states in the South and Southwest, which reopened much sooner than Massachusetts. States like Florida and Arizona have seen record numbers of cases in recent days, a spike that can’t simply be tied to increased testing.
With such conflicting state-by-state approaches, it’s no wonder Americans are unsure exactly how to be living their lives as we enter the summer months.
It’s up to the federal government to provide that clarity, and it can do so by resuming the daily briefings oft the federal coronavirus task force.
The task force hasn’t held a briefing since late April. At the time, the consensus was that halting them was a good thing, as they had devolved into a daily brawl between the president and the press. While they were good theater, little real information was exchanged.
But shelving the updates means Americans aren’t getting real-time information and advice from the nation’s top experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Health, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, or U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
We need to hear from the trio again as we navigate the next phase of the pandemic.
“This is when a one-government approach is needed more now than ever,” said Andover’s Howard Koh, who served as President Barack Obama’s assistant secretary for health. “Get all those people together in one room every day at the highest level and track outcomes and address all the questions and try to maximize coordination as much as possible.”
We’re not suggesting the relaunched briefings run live on TV for more than an hour every afternoon, as the previous incarnation did. Nor does the president need to take part. We suggest the task force follow the lead of Baker and gubernatorial counterparts like New Hampshire’s Chris Sununu and New York’s Andrew Cuomo. Their briefings are generally devoid of politics and full of information, which is something we could all use right now, as we as a nation try to figure out together whether it is once again safe to venture from our homes.