As of this morning, 60 state and city officials are calling on Governor Baker to issue an executive order to "Stay At Home" or "Shelter In Place" in response to the COVID-19 emergency. Our most recent letter to the Governor is available online via this link: https://bit.ly/2WEqDQ2
We're urging Gov. Baker to follow the example now being set by at least five other states: California, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
Physicians tell us COVID-19 is many times more contagious than the flu — and that as many as 1 out of every 5 people who are infected will contract a serious pneumonia that will require hospitalization. Epidemiologists have suggested that Massachusetts could see 10,000 cases or more by the end of this month. This means the collapse of our healthcare system is nearly imminent. Therefore, it is essential that the spread of the coronavirus be suppressed to protect the ability of healthcare providers to handle the influx of new patients and prevent catastrophic loss of life.
By "Stay At Home" or "Shelter In Place," we mean: Stay home, except for essential food, healthcare and medicine, essential jobs, caring for someone in need, or walks.
Right now, it seems most residents of the Commonwealth are indeed practicing social distancing and staying home — often at great personal sacrifice and hardship. However, we need the Governor to take more aggressive action for three reasons: First, not all residents of the Commonwealth are taking the coronavirus threat seriously and many people continue to have unnecessary in-person interactions. Second, there are many people who would like to stay home but are being compelled to show up to non-essential jobs. Third, while municipalities such as Cambridge, Somerville, Provincetown, and Nantucket have all issued local restrictions that go further than the current statewide restrictions, the experts tell us efforts to limit the spread of the virus work best when they are uniform across jurisdictions.
Other governors and many local officials have already considered the exponential math of the coronavirus outbreak and concluded that a Stay At Home or Shelter In Place order is necessary — but so far, Governor Baker hasn't made the call — despite the fact that numerous experts have told us we can expect the number of COVID-19 cases to double every three days.
We recognize that by calling for this order, we have an obligation to take all necessary actions to provide shelter for people who need space to quarantine or are experiencing homelessness. Given the nature of COVID-19, congregate settings may not be appropriate. We urge the Governor to use his emergency powers to make dorm rooms, hotel rooms, vacant properties, and temporary structures available to all who are in need of shelter.
Moreover, we must also recognize that undocumented immigrants, people of color, people who are incarcerated, and working-class folks are particularly vulnerable in this time of crisis. The purpose of a "Stay At Home" or "Shelter In Place" order is to help preserve the capacity of our healthcare system and to minimize loss of life in the coming days and weeks. And in making this call, we must also commit to rapidly delivering the supports necessary to protect all residents of the Commonwealth.
Nearly 41,000 people have joined our call to Gov. Baker
On Sunday, March 15, Somerville City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen launched an online petition to call on Gov. Baker to take more aggressive action to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. I was pleased to work with Councilor Ewen-Campen on the launch of the petition, and since last week, nearly,000 people have added their names.
Many folks are now reaching out to ask us what they can do to help push the Governor to take action. Follow this link to sign and share our online petition, available at: https://www.change.org/p/massachusetts-governor-charlie-baker-shutdownmass-to-minimize-the-spread-of-coronavirus/u/26073546
And if you are an elected official and would like to have your name added to our letter to the Governor, please email me directly via Mike.Connolly@MAhouse.gov.