Happening Today

Coronavirus-related meetings

— Gov. Charlie Baker meets privately with legislative leaders; it is unclear if the group will meet in person or by conference call, 2 p.m.

Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security is accepting written testimony by email only on House and Senate versions of legislation dealing with first responders who contract or display symptoms of COVID-19, 5 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton hosts Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, for a ‘digital fireside chat,’ 5 p.m.

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: 15 additional deaths, 231 total deaths, 12,500 cases

WCVB has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts, as of Sunday afternoon. The numbers show a slight decline in deaths over previous days.

Advisory or mandatory? Walsh ‘recommends’ curfew and wearing of masks in Boston

Mayor Marty Walsh seems to be inching ever closer to far more strict stay-at-home rules in Boston. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and the Globe’s Andy Rosen report on his “recommended” curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. and his request that people wear protective masks when going out.

These aren’t mandatory measures, but he is ratcheting up the rhetoric and guidelines as officials brace for a likely coming surge in coronavirus cases across the city and state. In a Globe opinion piece, Shan Soe-Lin and Robert Hecht argue it’s time to get serious in Massachusetts: “Issue a stay-at-home order, not an advisory.” 

Speaking of protective masks, from CommonWealth magazine: “Baker says mask guidance appropriate.” But not necessarily for him. From state Sen. William Brownsberger: “We should all be wearing masks.”

Dr. (and state Rep.) Santiago: It’s getting nastier in emergency rooms

Speaking of the projected surge, Universal Hub reports that Jon Santiago, an emergency-room doctor at Boston Medical Center and also a state representative from the South End, is noticing things are getting worse in emergency rooms, including “troubling questions about such things as who to put on a ventilator.”

There are faint signs that the state may be bending the curve a bit on the coronavirus outbreak, as these MassLive and CommonWealth pieces suggest. But most still expect a surge of some sort in coming days and weeks.

Universal Hub

Still waiting on ventilators … and unemployment guidelines … and small business loans … and …

One guess who everyone is waiting for these days. … From SHNSs Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Mass. Gets Small Fraction of Ventilator Order.” From MassLive’s Scott Croteau: “Federal government delivers 100 ventilators; Gov. Charlie Baker expects more ventilators to come in increments before COVID-19 surge.” Fyi: State officials were hoping to get all the ventilators last week from the feds. It didn’t happen.

Meanwhile, from WCVB: “Department of Unemployment still waiting for federal guidance to fully implement CARES Act, officials say.” … From the Globe’s Sean Murphy: “State unemployment agency adds staff, still nearly overwhelmed.” … The BBJ’s Greg Ryan (pay wall) reports that some local banks, as of late last week, weren’t processing emergency small-business loans because of lack of guidance from you-know-who. …From Bloomberg at the Globe: “Federal aid program for small businesses gets off to a rocky start.”

And, finally, our favorite headline of the day, via MassLive: “Competing against Feds for medical supplies is like ‘The Hunger Games,’ Rep. Jim McGovern says.”

State to launch aggressive tracing program to try to ‘stop, not just slow’ virus

We were wondering what authorities were doing about tracking down those who may have had contact with infected people. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) and WBUR’s Martha Bebinger report on the state’s planned launch of an aggressive tracing program whose goal is to “stop, not just slow, the spread of the virus.” It involved a new team of 1,000 people overseen by a nonprofit.

Nursing homes: Bearing the brunt

The Globe’s Robert Weisman and Laura Krantz expand on the paper’s overall excellent coverage of the nursing-home tragedies unfolding across the state, reporting over the weekend on dangerous coronavirus clusters forming within scores of facilities.

Meanwhile, from WBUR’s Lisa Creamer (as of Friday): “51 Of 98 Residents In Wilmington Nursing Facility Test Positive For Coronavirus.” … And from the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi: “Plan to turn nursing homes into COVID-19 recovery sites stirs anxiety.”

Boston Globe

Sen Pacheco ‘outraged’ over plan to convert Taunton hospital into all-coronavirus care facility

Rebecca Hyman at the Taunton Gazette reports that state Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, is “outraged” over plans to turn the entire Morton Hospital in Taunton, not just its ICU unit, into a coronavirus hospital. SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) has more on the Morton Hospital conversion plan.

Taunton Gazette

Thousands of carpenters threaten walk-off over Baker’s coronavirus construction edict

From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “A trade union representing 13,000 carpenters in Massachusetts ordered all workers to walk off job sites on Monday, even as Gov. Charlie Baker has said some construction could continue as most industries shutdown amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.” 

Meanwhile, the Globe’s editorial board has fired a somewhat tepid shot across the administration’s bow over ongoing construction work, not exactly saying all construction should be banned and yet … well, you decide what it’s trying to say.

Boston Herald

Health care updates: New testing site at Gillette Stadium, Joint Base Cape Cod, Hampton sheriff opens recovery center

From WGBH: “Gov. Charlie Baker on Sunday said that the state had opened a new COVID-19 testing site for public safety personnel at Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.” … From WCVB: “A third field hospital to treat coronavirus patients in Massachusetts will be set up at Joint Base Cape Cod, according to Gov. Charlie Baker. … The military base, which is located in Bourne, will join the field medical center that has been established at the DCU Center in Worcester and another that is being developed at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.” … From MassLive: “Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi opening First Responder Recovery Home for frontline workers.” … From Nora Princiotti at the Globe: “Former football player Myron Rolle is on the front line — as a doctor at Mass. General.”

And, finally, from WBUR: “Mass. Hospitals Are Losing $1 Billion A Month, Says Hospital Association.”

SJC: Some prisoners can be released … slowly … carefully

WGBH’s Jennifer McKim and SHNS’s Chris Young (pay wall) report that the Supreme Judicial Court handed prison-rights advocates only half a victory late last week, ruling that individuals facing nonviolent charges and held on bail ahead of trials can be released from prisons during the coronavirus pandemic. The court is requiring regular release hearings and inmate updates at correction facilities .

Meanwhile, Deborah Becker and Liam Knox report at WBUR report that all Mass. prisons have been put on lockdown after a third inmate died of COVID-19. Also from WBUR: “9 ICE Detainees Released From Bristol County In Effort To Stem Virus Spread.”

Duxbury man arrested for allegedly spitting on produce at Stop & Shop

He’s obviously disturbed. That’s the only logical explanation. From the Patriot Ledger’s Anastasia E. Lennon: “A 65-year-old Duxbury man coughed and spat on produce at the Kingston Stop & Shop on Saturday afternoon, according to police. Kingston police responded to the store shortly before noon after a physical confrontation unfolded in which bystanders held the man to the ground until police arrived.”

Universal Hub has a video of workers/patrons holding the man down on the ground.

Patriot Ledger

New York Post front page: ‘Thank you, Pats’

As the headline writers put it in their own front-page headline at the NY Post, it was “something we thought we’d never say,” i.e.: “Thank you, Pats.” Here’s the tabloid’s cover story about Bob Kraft’s pandemic heroics.

NY Post (front page)

Businesses near Salisbury Beach ordered to close in attempt to disperse crowds

This is why we may soon be moving from stay-at-home advisories to stay-at-home mandates. From WCVB: “The Board of Health in Salisbury ordered several businesses near the beach to close Saturday in an attempt to disperse crowds that were not maintaining the recommended safe distance between people during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Police said the crowds gathered in the area of Broadway, near the beach, to enjoy the relatively nice weather.”


Paying tribute to MBTA’s front-line workers …

The Globe’s Adrian Walker rightly pays homage to the T’s front-line workers, many of whom only five years ago were viewed as cowering stay-at-home types. They’ve really stepped up their first-responder game.

Boston Globe

TMI? ACLU raises questions about coronavirus patient disclosures

Privacy watchdogs are raising alarms about a state directive that requires local health officials to disclose the addresses of coronavirus patients so that first responders can act accordingly, Bill Kirk reports in the Eagle-Tribune.

Eagle Tribune

Back to the drawing board: Acting Gardner mayor steps down due to health crisis

First the city of Gardner lost its newly elected mayor back in January, when he took an administrator’s job in a nearby town, and now acting Mayor James Walsh — who had been filling the seat pending a now-postponed special election — says he’ll give up the role due to concerns about his health amid the coronavirus pandemic, Stephen Landry reports in the Gardner News. 

Gardner News

Medication time: Dispensary shutdown sparks medical marijuana surge

A sudden surge in new medical marijuana certifications reported by regulators last week likely foreshadows far more to come, with firms that certify new patients telling Shira Schoenberg at  CommonWealth magazine they are slammed with requests for remote consultations. 

Meanwhile, the Cannabis Control Commission said during a Friday meeting it would explore ways to help retail pot shops losing millions in revenue each week after Gov. Baker declared them non-essential businesses, Cyrus Moulton of the Telegram reports.

Huh? State tax-collections last month actually beat benchmarks, but …

Maybe it was the early-month surge in people buying emergency provisions and filing taxes early? Who knows. Anyway, SHNS’s Colin Young reports that state tax-collections came in higher than expected in March, despite the late-month near lockdown of the economy. But Revenue Commissioner Geoffrey Snyder says the state’s big revenue hit is mostly definitely coming.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Sexual and domestic violence services available during crisis

From SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall): “Citing ‘deep concern for those who are experiencing sexual and domestic violence,’ Jane Doe Inc. is encouraging everyone in Massachusetts to be aware that services remain available” during the current coronavirus emergency.

RFK’s granddaughter and her son presumed dead in Maryland canoe mishap

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her 8-year-old son, Gideon, are presumed dead after authorities called off a frantic search for the two following an apparent canoe mishap late last week in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Maeve McKean is the daughter of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and the granddaughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and the Globe’s Lucas Phillips have more.

Green light: Army Corps says full speed ahead on Canal bridges replacement

All they need now is the cash. The Army Corps of Engineers says after weighing alternatives and taking public input, it will move ahead with a plan to completely replace the two bridges over the Cape Cod Canal, though the coronavirus crisis could impact the project’s ability to secure funding, Ethan Genter reports at the Cape Cod Times.

Cape Cod Times

Ride-share vehicle as a robbery get-away car?

Universal Hub reports that a Dorchester man was arrested over the weekend on armed-robbery charges after allegedly sticking up three people and then jumping into a waiting ride-share get-away vehicle. No word on the fate of the ride-share driver.

Universal Hub

Attention readers: Hosting your events online?

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, large gatherings have been banned in Massachusetts. Because of this, more and more organizations are hosting events online. If you have one that you want to publicize, you can submit it to our Beacon Hill Town Square events page or email dart@massterlist.com.

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


Nurses union: Brockton, Taunton Steward hospitals not supporting staff during coronavirus outbreak – Brockton Enterprise

The MFA will furlough more than 300 employees through June – WBUR


Worcester Red Sox’ move to Polar Park in 2021 in jeopardy, but Pawtucket could emerge as savior – MassLive

Tax collections held steady in March. That likely won’t last – Boston Globe

Attleboro mayor seeks cash for coronavirus expenses – Sun Chronicle


Romney warns Trump: Don’t interfere with coronavirus relief oversight – The Hill

Why the Trump administration won’t be able to make the stimulus work – Politico

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