Happening Today

Coronavirus-related meetings, state tax revenues

Cannabis Control Commission meets, with online access to the public, to discuss possible relief for marijuana businesses amid the pandemic, 9 a.m.

Mass. Gaming Commission holds a virtual meeting to discuss the ‘operational status’ of the state’s casinos and simulcast wagering centers that have been closed for weeks as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, 10 a.m.

— The Department of Revenue is due to report on the state’s March tax-collection receipts, which are expected to be down due to the coronavirus crisis.

For the most comprehensive listing of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available), as well as MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Reminder to readers: SHNS Coronavirus Tracker available for free

A reminder to our readers as the coronavirus crisis unfolds: The paywalled State House News Service, which produces MASSterList, is making its full Coronavirus Tracker available to the community for free on a daily basis each morning via ML. SHNS Coronavirus Tracker.

The latest numbers: 32 more deaths, 154 total deaths, 8,966 confirmed cases in Mass.

MassLive has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

The estimated future numbers: State could see up to 172,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 2,500 deaths

They’re just projections. Still, SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall), MassLive’s Steph Solis and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl report on the state’s latest projections on how extensive and serious the coronavirus outbreak may get in Massachusetts. See numbers above.

Report: At least 15 dead in Norwood nursing home as virus spreads to other facilities

From a Boston Globe team of reporters: “At least 15 people at a Norwood nursing home have died of what staff members believe were coronavirus infections or related complications, the latest outbreak in an epidemic that state officials say has hit one-tenth of the state’s long-term-care facilities.” And the virus is reportedly spreading to nursing homes in Littleton, Worcester and Greenfield, where one facility has seen six deaths, the Globe reports.

Boston Globe

A day before first Holyoke Soldiers Home patient was diagnosed with COVID-19, nurse was reprimanded for wearing a mask

Speaking of highly vulnerable people packed into one facility, there are now a reported 18 deaths at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, as the Herald and SHNS (pay wall) report, and lawmakers in Western Massachusetts want a second investigation launched into what happened at the veterans home, as MassLive reports.

This separate MassLive story points to serious management misjudgments at the Holyoke facility: “One day before the first Holyoke Soldiers Home resident tested positive for COVID-19, a certified nursing assistant at the facility was reprimanded for wearing personal protective equipment while on duty.” Read what the reprimand letter says and be careful that your jaw doesn’t drop too much.

Touchdown! Patriots plane loaded with supplies lands at Logan, Kraft hailed as hero

What an amazing straight-out-of Hollywood story. Yes, Bob Kraft’s Patriots Plane landed last night at Logan Airport with about one million badly needed N95 respirator masks, some of which will be shared with hard-hit New York and Rhode Island. And this tale even has a villain: The federal government. Some of the plot-line headlines, starting with the Globe: “Kraft cheered for bringing in masks on Patriots team plane to fight coronavirus.” … From Universal Hub: “Baker got the Krafts involved in getting those masks to try to keep the shipments safe from the feds.” … From WCVB: “3 million masks ordered by Massachusetts were confiscated in Port of New York, leading to creative alternative.” ….From MassLive: “After Patriots’ plane with medical supplies arrives in Boston, Gov. Charlie Baker says ‘Our job now is to protect each other.’”

And, finally and fittingly, from the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Charlie Baker praises China, not Trump, as Patriots plane arrives.” Yes, it’s come to this: Praising China.

Meanwhile, still no ventilators …

Why are we not surprised? In its coverage of the Bob Kraft heroics, Universal Hub has this graf: “State officials said Massachusetts has yet to receive any of the 1,000 ventilators the feds had earlier promised (Gov.) Baker Massachusetts would get. Despite that the state yesterday upped its request for ventilators it may never get to 1,400.” 

Are there any ventilators we can buy from China and send Kraft’s plane to pick up?

Universal Hub

Beacon Hill update: Lawmakers pass bill extending tax deadline, allowing beer-and-wine takeout etc.

Quickly, some Beacon Hill news, from SHNS’s Sam Doran: “After a recess-filled nine-hour session, the Senate on Thursday night pushed an important COVID-19 bill to the governor’s desk. The bill as enacted includes a three-month extension for state personal income tax filings, allows licensed restaurants to sell takeout beer and wine during the current shutdown, and allows nonprofit and corporate boards of directors to meet virtually during the emergency declaration. It also makes a series of changes to give cities and towns flexibility around town meetings, tax payments and permits.”

The Senate action followed House passage of the same bill earlier last evening. SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) reports that lawmakers are making progress on other legislation, including proposed housing-protection measures.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

‘The economic shocks from the pandemic are reaching deep into the Massachusetts work world’

And here’s some quick (but huge) economic news: The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that new jobless claims in Massachusetts set another weekly record from March 22 to March 28, with 181,000 people filing claims in the Bay State.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Tim Logan and Shirley Leung attempt to gauge just how deep the pandemic is hitting the state’s economy – and they finds it’s hitting deep into just about every sector at this point. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) has more on the jobless-claims report and the economic carnage out there. … Now back to pandemic health-care news. …  


Tufts Medical Center’s corporate parent furloughs and cuts pay of 2,000 workers

Back to health-care news: Have the federal-stimulus relief funds for hospitals been released yet? They better do it soon. From the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey: “The parent company of Tufts Medical Center on Thursday announced temporary layoffs and reduced hours for nearly 2,000 of its employees, the latest hospital system to make cuts amid a sudden drop in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.”

And from the Standard-Time: “SouthCoast Health announces furloughs, pay cuts amid pandemic.”

Health care updates: MassMutual Center to house patients, Health Connector to help trace cases, UMass Medical staff hit hard, Tufts students help repair masks

From SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “The Massachusetts Health Connector board on Thursday agreed to take on a new role in the ongoing fight against COVID-19, unanimously approving a bylaw change that will allow the authority to support efforts to trace the contacts of people confirmed to have the highly contagious virus.”

Meanwhile, from Michelle Williams at MassLive: “MassMutual Center in Springfield identified as site to house beds for coronavirus patients in Western Massachusetts.” … Also from MassLive: “40 UMass Memorial employees have tested positive for COVID-19, there are currently 27 patients in ICU.” … From WBUR: “Boston Students Help Repair Medical Masks After Tufts Receives Damaged Donation.”

Hospitals getting ‘game changer’ mask sterilization contraption

In addition to the Kraft family heroics, here’s some more encouraging health-supplies news. The Globe’s Rebecca Ostriker reports that Partners HealthCare and an Ohio nonprofit have teamed up to install a “mammoth machine” in Somerville that can sterilize up to 80,000 badly needed respirator masks a day. Wicked Local reports the decontamination system will be located in a former K-Mart building in Somerville.

‘Hardworking’ T worker dies

Another casualty on the coronavirus-workers frontline. From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “An MBTA worker who died after testing positive for coronavirus was a ‘hardworking guy,’ Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday. ‘Every single person who is affected by this has friends and family, so when we talk about the T … I don’t want to talk about the person who lost his life as just a number,’ Baker said, his voice cracking at a press conference at the State House.”

Boston Herald

Walsh: Don’t make me issue fines over social-distancing

Sounds like the mayor has just about had it with those not even trying to follow social-distancing guidelines. From CBS Boston: “Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday that he is ready, if necessary, to use police and fines to enforce social distancing rules. He said that this will be a last resort, but that there are too many still not following the guidelines.”

CBS Boston

Beach parking areas to close, some seasonal parks opening early

Asher Klein at NBC Boston reports that the Baker administration has ordered the closure of parking lots and parkways along state beaches, as a way to keep people from gathering in large numbers. But the state is also opening up some state parks earlier than normal to give stay-at-home people opportunities to get outside in open spaces.

NBC Boston

Fore! Petition calls on Baker to reopen golf courses

Speaking of outdoor activities, there’s apparently a fast-growing petition out there calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to reopen the state’s golf courses, with supporters saying that people need outdoor activities and that duffers can and will practice safe-distancing protocols on the links. The Herald’s Hillary Chabot has the details.

Boston Herald

As inmate dies at state treatment center and a judge weighs whether to release detainees …

The Globe’s Jeremy Fox (scroll down to 9:02 p.m. posting) that an inmate at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater has died after contracting the coronavirus, according to DOC. Meanwhile, from the Herald: “Federal judge weighs coronavirus in leaning toward release of some ICE detainees.”

… accused killer sent home to shelter-in-place during coronavirus pandemic

This isn’t going to help the cause, in a PR sense, of those pushing for the release of some prisoners – and we suspect Rachael Rollins knows it too. From the Herald’s Joe Dwinell: “A Boston man accused of second-degree murder in a stabbing death in Dorchester two years ago has been sent home instead to wait out the coronavirus pandemic over the objections of Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins.”

Boston Herald

Reports: Herald and radio stations laying off staffers

There are reports that the Boston Herald is laying off staff members amid the coronavirus crisis that’s hit media outlets hard across the country. Media critic Dan Kennedy’s Facebook page has a few details (including the apparently now missing Herald Radio), while Herald columnist Jessica Heslam confirms on Facebook she got the axe. The Herald’s Steff Geller and Adriana Cohen are also bidding adieu on Twitter. And then there’s this: “Herald layoffs include Bruins’ reporter Marisa Ingemi, with her position being eliminated.”

In addition, from the Globe’s Chad Finn: “Both major Boston sports radio stations will implement pay cuts, layoffs, furloughs.”

Middleboro gun shop owner on staying open: ‘We have every right’

CBS Boston reports on the Middleboro gun shop owner who’s defiantly defying Gov. Charlie Baker’s non-essential business closure order, citing Second Amendment rights. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll read some of the stories of people suffering from the coronavirus, such as, oh, the couple mentioned in the post below, and conclude they have God-given rights too.

CBS Boston

The human faces of the crisis: Husband in coma, pregnant wife infected too

The Globe’s Deanna Pan has a heartbreaking story about a local couple’s struggle with the coronavirus – in which a 40-year-old husband is fighting for his life at MGH while his 7 ½-months pregnant wife deals with her own infection. “She’s isolating in their Quincy apartment with their 3-year-old son, Sebastian. She’s so ill, she can barely speak.” Unfortunately, we’re going to be seeing a lot more of this in coming weeks.

Boston Globe

Even in Massachusetts, there’s a red-blue divide during the current crisis

Think the red-blue political divide exists only between states in America? Maeve Duggan at CommonWealth writes that the red-blue divide exists right here in this bluest of blue states too, with surveys showing differences in how Democrats and Republicans view the coronavirus crisis.


Ronald Pina, prosecutor and former lawmaker, RIP

In non-coronavirus news, former Bristol County District Attorney Ronald Pina — a onetime state representative who as DA in the 1980s prosecuted the infamous Big Dan’s gang rape case and led the hunt for a potential serial killer of prostitutes in the New Bedford/Fall River area — has died at the age of 75 after a long illness, his family tells Curt Brown of the Herald News. 

Herald News

Must see TV: Trailer drops for Correia documentary; state lab scandals on Netflix

Mark your calendars. A documentary focusing on the meteoric political rise and equally dramatic fall of former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia will start airing on the new streaming service Quibi on Monday. The Herald-News has the trailer.

Need still more Bay State-scandal viewing? Now streaming on Netflix is “How to Fix a Drug Scandal,” which Kelly Wynne of Newsweek reports seeks to tie together the state’s two drug-lab scandals and even hints at a potential coverup inside the office of Attorney General Maura Healey. 

Sunday public affairs TV: Marty Meehan, Katherine Clark and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: University of Massachusetts president Marty Meehan, who talks with host Jon Keller about the university system’s response to the pandemic and its potential impact on staffing, summer session, and the fall semester.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a political roundtable discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Temporary Protected Status (TPS), with guests including Ivan Espinoza of Lawyers for Civil Rights and Kenny Azi of Kreateurs Agency.

Do Morals Matter?

Political scientist Joseph Nye, leader scholar of international relations considers the foreign policies of presidents from FDR to Trump to see which come up short in the morality polls.

Cambridge Forum

Book Talk, Slavery and the Making of Early American Libraries

Join former Athenaeum New England Regional Fellowship recipient Sean D. Moore (2014-2015) as he shares the culmination of his studies of early American libraries and how these institutions stood at the nexus of two translatlantic branches of commerce–the book trade and the slave trade.

Boston Athenaeum

2020 Robert C. Wood Visiting Professor of Public and Urban Affairs Lecture featuring Christiana Figueres

Each year, the Robert C. Wood Professorship brings a distinguished public leader to campus for a lecture and conversation to engage students, faculty, and community members in discussions of public policy and public service. The McCormack Graduate School is pleased to announce Christiana Figueres as the 2020 Robert C. Wood Visiting Professor of Public and Urban Affairs.

McCormack Graduate School

Today’s Headlines


Museum of Fine Arts losses at $1.4 million and counting – CommonWealth Magazine

Judge rules in Brookline’s favor in racial discrimination suit brought by former firefighter – Boston Globe


Attleboro mayor urges residents to fill out census – Sun Chronicle

State allows real estate to continue, worrying some in Berkshire industry – Berkshire Eagle


The 1,000-Bed Comfort Was Supposed to Aid New York. It Has 20 Patients. – New York Times

Kushner Company stands to benefit from freeze on federal mortgage payments – Politico

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