‘It is incomprehensible:’ Top health expert criticizes lack of new restrictions in MA

‘It is incomprehensible:’ Top health expert criticizes lack of new restrictions in MA

BOSTON — Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker is facing increasing pressure to impose new restrictions amid a worsening second wave of COVID-19. A spokesperson for Gov. Baker’s Office told Boston 25 News on Sunday afternoon there are no plans for any targeted state-wide rollback.

That’s drawing criticism from some local leaders and health experts who believe the state should be doing more to address a growing surge.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported 4,747 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday. That brings the statewide case total to 247,559 since the start of the pandemic. The new data released on Sunday included an additional 48 COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the statewide death total to 10,763.

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“When I look at what’s happening to hospital beds and deaths, it is incomprehensible to me that we are not acting more aggressively,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

Dr. Jha told Boston 25 News that he believes Massachusetts should have been scaling back for weeks now.

“I don’t think we can justify having casinos open, tanning beds, and a lot of the indoor dining is far too relaxed for the state of the pandemic we are in,” Dr. Jha said. “There hasn’t been an adequate response despite more and more evidence that we need to do more.”

A coalition of about 30 cities and towns across the Greater Boston Area has been discussing what can be done in individual communities if the state doesn’t shift its tactic.

“351 cities and towns each utilizing their own approach to fight the pandemic isn’t going to work,” said Somerville Mayor Joe Curatone, who co-chairs the coalition. “We really need the state to do this. We can’t do it alone.”

A spokesperson with the state’s COVID-19 Command Center responded to the criticism with a statement sent to Boston 25 News:

“Massachusetts is one of the top testing states per capita in the nation, the Baker-Polito Administration recently put stricter guidance in place, including a stay-at-home advisory, strengthened mask order and early business closures. All residents need to do their part to stop the spread of the virus so the Commonwealth can keep schools and the economy open: wear a mask, wash hands, keep your distance and avoid groups. While the administration is not announcing more restrictions now, all options are on the table as we continue to evaluate the public health data.”

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