Happening Today

Patriots Day, coronavirus updates

— Today is Patriots Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts, but most festivities have either been postponed or cancaled due to the coronavirus emergency, including the Boston Marathon, the Red Sox’s annual holiday game and major historic reenactments.

— Today marks the one-month anniversary of the state’s first reported COVID-19 death

— Gov. Charlie Baker participates in a conference call with legislative leaders, 2 p.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey hosts a livestream discussion on environmental and socioeconomic inequities and the coronavirus pandemic, with Chelsea City Councilor Damali Vidot and GreenRoots chair Madeleine Scammell, 2 p.m. 

— U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy holds virtual town hall in Spanish as part of his Senate campaign, 2:30 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 numbers: 146 new deaths, 1,706 total deaths, 1,705 new cases

WCVB has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts. A total of 461 new deaths have been reported since MassterList last published on Friday.

Massachusetts now at center of national outbreak

A three-reporter team at the Globe first stated the reality on Saturday: By all statistical measurements, Massachusetts has become a national coronavirus hotspot. On Sunday, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx confirmed it: We’re currently one of the most severely hit regions in the country, report SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and CBS Boston.

NY’s Cuomo to Massachusetts: ‘We’re going to be there for you’

You’ve probably already heard this, but it bears repeating since it’s a nice political sentiment at a time when nice political sentiments seem to be in short supply, i.e. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s vow to help Massachusetts because of the help we gave them during their surge. WCVB has the story and video.


Baker to feds: We’ll need more money to reopen the economy

He’s not openly criticizing President Trump. But Gov. Charlie Baker is putting pressure on the administration and Congress to dish out more money to states if they want to reopen the economy relatively soon. Some sample headlines. … From the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo: “More testing, federal stimulus aid needed to recover, says Baker.” … From Benjamin Kail at MassLive: “Baker says to reopen economy, feds must help states facing budget crunches.” … From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Baker talks more about restarting economy.” … From CBS Boston: “Markey Says Country Currently ‘Unprepared’ To Reopen Amid Coronavirus.”

And, finally, some good news, via WCVB: “Rep. Richard Neal says agreement is ‘imminent’ on 4th coronavirus relief package.” 

Then again, the state’s economy may need another ‘Massachusetts Miracle’

Setting aside the debate over additional federal funding for states, the Globe’s Shirley Leung and Larry Edelman have a good story explaining why the state’s economy may not rebound quickly from the current crisis. Bottom line: What were once our economic strengths are today our economic weaknesses.

Boston Globe

‘We are all Keynesians now’

The Globe’s Jim Puzzanghera has another good economy/stimulus-related story, examining the political dynamics that have led to Washington shelling out so much money during the current crisis. He writes that it comes down to three things: The unique nature of the pandemic, the fact a Republican sits in the White House, and lessons learned from the 2008 financial crisis. We have a hunch it mostly has to do with the second item.

No matter what the causes, it sure seems this old dictum is true today: “We are all Keynesians now.” Republicans can deny it all they want, but facts are facts in terms of Washington’s big-spending actions. Btw, from Sharon Block and Mike Firestone at CommonWealth: “Don’t let Big Gig game the system.”

Protesters rally at Bourne rotary to demand end of Cape lockdown

In a local sign of growing political tensions over reopening of the economy, a small number of protesters, most of them apparent supporters of Donald Trump, held a rally at the Bourne rotary yesterday denouncing the current coronavirus lockdown on the Cape, reports MassLive’s Douglas Hook and the Cape Cod Times’ Geoff Spillane (pre-protest coverage). A group calling itself the “United Cape Patriots” organized the event.

As goes Nantucket? Island starts reopening after two weeks with no new cases

Is Nantucket ahead of the curve? Health officials on the island voted Sunday to begin relaxing some coronavirus-related restrictions, allowing small crews of landscapers and construction workers to head back to work starting Tuesday. Brian Bushard at the Nantucket Mirror & Inquirer reports the moves come as Nantucket has now gone 16 days without a newly reported case. 

Mirror & Inquirer

Nursing-home updates: Majority of deaths tied to long-term facilities, 25 dead in Wilmington, 10 dead in Raynham

As of Saturday, the majority of the state’s coronavirus-related deaths involved patients within nursing homes, a grim fact that confirms the “COVID-19 epidemic Massachusetts is fast becoming a nursing home epidemic,” reports CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl. … Meanwhile, from the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi and Laura Krantz: “Coronavirus claims 25 patients at Wilmington facility initially slated to become recovery site.” … From Cody Shepard at the Enterprise: “10 deaths, 48 coronavirus cases at Raynham nursing home.” … From the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo: “Deadly coronavirus outbreak sparks threat to Littleton nursing home.” … From Jessica Trufant at the Patriot Ledger: “As coronavirus rips through nursing homes, families are left anxious.” … From the Globe’s Robert Weisman and Laura Krantz: “Government actions, guidance fail to keep pace with health crisis in nursing homes.”

And, finally, from state Rep. James O’Day (CommonWealth): “It’s time to help nursing homes.”

Brockton update: From 3 individual obits to 3 pages of obits

Speaking of hotspots, how bad is it in Brockton? The Enterprise’s Cody Shepard reported over the weekend that his newspaper ran only three obituaries on a recent Sunday just prior to the coronavirus outbreak. This Sunday’s obits covered three pages for 28 people. 

The Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss this morning reports on a similar grim trend at her paper: “A stark reality: Sunday’s Boston Globe runs 16 pages of death notices.”


Chelsea update: Nearly a third of tested residents show exposure to coronavirus

And speaking of hotspot cities, the Globe’s Jonathan Saltzman reports that a MGH researcher has concluded, based on the analysis of hundreds of COVID-19 tests, that there’s now a “raging epidemic” in Chelsea.

Boston Globe

Fall River market owners suffer loss of three family members

Isolated tragedies are occurring all over the state. The Herald Review’s Jo C. Goode reports on one of them in Fall River, where “a popular local family” that owns Amaral’s Central Market has lost three members within days of each other. All three women worked in the market.

Herald News

Springfield hospitals’ James Bond-like subterfuge to secure medical supplies

They disguised trucks as food-delivery vehicles and tried to smuggle the goods across interstate lines. But the FBI was on to them. WBUR’s Bob Oates and Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin have more on Dr. Andrew “007” Artenstein’s wild tale about trying to secure desperately needed medical supplies in the mid-Atlantic region for western Massachusetts hospitals. It has a happy ending — and checks off all the major criterion for a successful Hollywood flick: Fish out of water, the chase, boy gets girl (figuratively speaking).

SJC performs lawmakers’ job for them: Reduces signature requirements for candidates

Beacon Hill lawmakers couldn’t reach a consensus, so it fell to the Supreme Judicial Court to decide the issue – and on Friday it did: The high court ordered the state to halve the signature requirements for candidates seeking to get on the fall primary ballot, as Shira Schoenberg reports at CommonWealth magazine. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is blasting lawmakers, suggesting their inability to pass legislation was mostly about protecting incumbent candidates.


Restaurants now selling groceries-to-go and … rolls of toilet paper?

If they start selling 409 and Clorox Wipes along with toilet paper, they’ll have lines outside their restaurants. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and the Globe’s Shirley Leung report how hard-hit restaurants in Somerville and Arlington have been given permission to sell unprepared produce, meats and other items, including a dollar-per-roll toilet paper, just like grocery stores. 

But it’s still not enough for most eateries. From the Globe: “Struggling restaurants push for legislation on insurance claims, delivery fees.”

Baker: Thank goodness for field hospitals

Gov. Charlie Baker over the weekend said that newly established field hospitals, particularly the new ‘Boston Hope’ facility at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, are helping to relieve the coronavirus pressure on hospitals and even allowing hospitals to adequately treat non-COVID-19 patients. WGBH News and the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey has more on field hospitals.

Boston rolls out trucks broadcasting public-health messages in 7 languages

Forget fancy phone apps and Zoom. The city of Boston is handling mass communications the old-fashioned way – with trucks driving around neighborhoods blaring public-safety messages in seven different languages. WCVB has the retro-technology news.


Lawmakers pass ban on evictions bill after lone House member drops opposition

The legislature on Friday finally sent the anti-evictions/foreclosure bill to Gov. Charlie Baker, after Rep. Shawn Dooley dropped his parliamentary opposition that previously held up passage of the legislation, report the AP at NBC Boston and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall).

Grudge report: Trump admits he snubbed Romney over impeachment vote

President Trump acknowledged Sunday what we already knew: That he holds a grudge against U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney for being the lone member of his own party to vote for impeachment and that those hard feelings are why Romney was not appointed to the economy-reopening task force, Brett Samuels at The Hill reports.

The Hill

Contact complications: Tracing effort gets off to bumpy start

Back to the issue of reopening the economy, Martha Bebinger of WBUR takes a look inside the newly launched state effort to trace the contacts of patients who test positive for coronavirus and finds what could be a serious complication to future lifting of social-distancing restricitons: Some of those listed as close contacts are not answering their phones when the tracing team reaches out, probably because they assume the call is spam.


Healey announces $18M settlement over Equifax data breach

In non-coronavirus news, CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg reports that Attorney General Maura Healey has reached an $18.2 million settlement with credit reporting agency Equifax over its massive 2017 data breach that impacted nearly three million people in Massachusetts.

Mismatch? Neal dwarfs Morse in congressional campaign fundraising

Not even close. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal out-raised primary challenger Alex Morse by a nearly four-to-one margin in the first quarter and now has a whopping 32 times more cash in his campaign coffers than the Holyoke mayor, Dusty Christensen atthe Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.


Pivoting your Small Business: A 30/60/90 Day Plan

Brian Moran provides practical and tactical advice with an actionable plan to help you navigate your business through these unpredictable times.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

The Economic Recovery Should Be a Green One with U.S. Senator Ed Markey

The COVID-19 crisis has hurt our communities and the economy. The climate crisis presents similar issues. Join ELM for an informative, engaging Earth Day webinar with U.S. Senator Ed Markey on how a strategic and coordinated economic recovery could be done in a way that supports our economic, climate, and environmental justice goals simultaneously.

Environmental League of Massachusetts

Affordable ways to find new customers now.

Steve Strauss talks with host Julie Hyman, sharing easy, affordable ways to find new customers even in these challenging times.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

Freedom of Information Laws and Your Right to Know

The motto “assume your government will be open, but be prepared to fight for it,” seems even more important at a time when we are depending on the government for information which will keep citizens healthy.

New England First Amendment Coalition

Art Happy with Katie series

Join Art Happy with Katie for fun, stay-at-home activities for the family!

Art Happy with Katie

Today’s Headlines


It’s sink or swim for Boston Duck Tours – Boston Business Journal

Coronavirus deals Weymouth Landing project another major blow – Patriot Ledger


Rockport schools table override request – Gloucester Times

Bristol Community College laying off employees due to virus – Sun Chronicle

Cannabis regulators ask lawmakers to advocate for marjiuana businesses seeking financial assistance – MassLive


Workers are dying at US factories in Mexico, which remained open during coronavirus – Chicago Sun-Times

Neiman-Marcus to file for bankruptcy as soon as this week–sources – Reuters

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