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Massachusetts breaks 1,000 in Covid-19 cases, first time since mid-May; one indicator suggests worse to come

Covid-19 sampling from MWRA sewage.

Latest data from MWRA sewage testing suggests continued growth in cases.

The daily Covid-19 stats from Massachusetts show 1,128 new cases, the first time we've gone above 1,000 daily cases since what might have been our first surge was ending in mid-May, and the third day in a row we've exceeded 900 daily cases.

The latest data from MWRA sewage at Deer Island - which give a rough gauge of how many people have begun excreting the virus and so are likely infectious - suggests continued growth in cases: Today's numbers, which are "leading" indicators, show that some samples from the southern half of Boston, South Shore communities and towns along Rte. 9 to the west suggest coming infection numbers not seen since our surge days.

Not that we need sewage samples to know our numbers are already going up. On one test-positivity graph, which shows the rate of positive results per 100 tests, we're now at 1.5%, up from 0.9% a month earlier. However, that's an average of seven days of results and is based on the total number of tests given, not on the total number of people tested - some people get more than one test. Another state graph, which shows daily positivity rates based on the number of people tested, shows that more than 6 out of every 100 people given a test on Wednesday and Thursday tested positive, up from rates under 3% a month earlier.

The number of people hospitalized due to Covid-19 is also increasing - from 375 a month ago to 547 yesterday.

The one good number today was the stat showing 8 deaths - a lower number than we'd been seeing in recent weeks.

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Comments

Especially on the MBTA if you don't wear a mask you don't ride.

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Voting closed 77

Maybe the T should only run for essential workers.

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By necessity, I must ride the T daily. I don't know how a mask mandate could be enforced when the T employees I see are not wearing masks or are wearing them ineffectively. The main problems on the T as I see it:

1) people wearing masks that do not cover their noses, or otherwise wearing them so loosely that all their breathing escapes up over the mask and into the air. And I don't want to hear any "I can't breathe with a mask" excuses. It is extremely unlikely that the large number of people I see wearing masks incorrectly have "breathing issues". PEPOLE MUST BE EDUCATED IN HOW TO WEAR MASKS AND IT MUST BE ENFORCED. I don't want to see any noses.

2) Endless people who insist and insist on eating and drinking on the T. I see people remove masks to eat candy, popcorn, McDonalds food, Chinese food, and one gem of a woman I saw removing a mask so she could suck on a lollipop. People have become so used to having their every little immediate personal want gratified that all else, including the health of others, be damned.

3) people who remove masks to talk on phones.

And none of the above even includes the multitude of those I see on the T with substance abuse/mental health issues who have no idea what planet they are on, let alone that they should be wearing a mask.

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Voting closed 16

Agree, but "wear a mask" isn't enough, the mandate needs to be stronger. I see a lot of people "wearing" a mask below their nose, while of course breathing through their nose. I've seen people "wear" them on their chin, their neck, and one moron who walks around wearing on top of his head like a beanie.

Also the mandate needs teeth. That means enforcement and penalties. How you do that I don't know, but without that it's just blather.

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The MBTA buses all have "Face Covering Required" signs on them. Hopefully, people are obeying these signs.

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Is the average age of death still 82, well beyond US life-expectancy? Do we know how many have caught the virus and fully recovered? Of course many will recover without ever knowing they had the disease. Printing the recovery numbers and very advanced average age of death might help put things in perspective for those still frightened by this. Encouraging words from the MA Commissioner of Education sthis week, “we continue to see little to no evidence of COVID-19 transmission in school settings"

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Voting closed 44

Death is the worst outcome but not the only bad one. Friends and neighbors have had Covid and for some it was a few days of feeling under the weather and for others it was a month of fevers or a trip to the hospital. A friend and her wife have it now and are very sick, and their children are essentially fending for themselves until the parents recover. I don’t think the figures you want released will tell the complete story you think they will.

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Voting closed 119

Our friend has his story and he's sticking to it, and no matter how many times you tell him that even young people can develop long-term health issues even if they don't die or that young people can spread it to old people will make him reconsider.

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Voting closed 117

And thanks for not banning anon users as some have called for.

UH is a better place the less of an echo chamber it is.

Keep up the good work.

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Fish is right, it's no big deal, let's just get back to normal. Murder is so rare these days, we can probably lay off all the homicide detectives while we're at it. And drownings almost never happen, I guess we don't need lifeguards at the pools either. /s

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Voting closed 52

I think the real problem is a combination of several factors. Among them, the spread from asymptomatic spreaders. Early on, in the Boston Unnamed Homeless Shelter Study (um, my name for it), they separated out the asymptomatics from the rest. They got the good idea to test them anyway. 36% or thereabouts tested positive.
This was among a population not noted for textbook cleanliness standards.

There was a study by Stanford on a Cali prison that showed something like a 97% positivity rate.
Hell, I could be positive right now. So could you.

Another problem is the inconsistent mask rules. If we clamped down, Soviet (Or Chinese Communist) style for two weeks early on, it might have made a difference. Problem with that is it's impossible in our style of society. Most people simply don't have the means to survive in our homes for two weeks, suddenly and unprepared.

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I think a good percentage of the new cases coming out are dormant cases that weren't checked in the summer - ones where people feel great, yet when they get the test and come out positive, they say, "but...I followed all the health protocols perfectly! How could I get COVID?"

In the early stages of the pandemic, it made sense to impose social and economic prohibition because we weren't sure if this disease would wipe out hundreds of millions of people; once we learned about the disease and how to combat it using current health protocols, we were able to tamp it down to a reasonable level. Once people began getting into their normal routines again and restrictions were eased, COVID creeped back - we didn't eliminate the disease, but temporarily delayed its spread.

One solution to that is to have everyone in a city and town tested (as they did in the Pine Street Inn case) - they're doing that in Winthrop now with the outbreak in the Elks club. It can either be the rapid spit test (< 15 minuites) or a longer test (results in 1-5 days), but at least fine-tune where things stand before taking reasonable and measured action.

If there are a small cluster of cases, then through contact tracing those affected can be quarantined, isolated and treated with little disruption to the city/town. For larger clusters, it might require more modifications and restrictions (e.g. reducing capacity), but not require a total lockdown.

The problem with full-bore hyper-militant lockdown (complete with electronic surveillance, criminal and financial penalties, and severe restrictions) is that people will see it as an overreaction, and it may yield only a superficial or modest reduction in COVID cases. The loss in income, social unrest, and other unintended consequences are far worse than trying to buy time, only to have cases spike again.

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I don't think increased testing that discovers asymptomatic cases can account for what the MWRA graph shows.

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What would you consider the value of a human life? And does that value decrease as someone ages?

As a state, Massachusetts values life more than the leadership and citizens in most other states. It's pretty much that simple.

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Lives are precious, but we don’t manage to zero risk. Over the summer there was still risk and still death, but I don’t think a full lockdown for the summer would have been a good cost/benefit.

That said, given everything we know about the virus, non-essential indoor activities should be shut right now and there’s a decent argument we should be sheltering in place for four weeks.

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"As a state, Massachusetts values life more than the leadership and citizens in most other states. It's pretty much that simple. "

Only problem is that the statistics don't really back that up. Here's some death rates per million.

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

New Jersey 1,848/mill
New York 1,725/mill
Massachusetts 1,427/mill

Florida 765/mill

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Mass was hit hard in the first wave (along with NY and NJ) before it was clear how quickly it was entrenched in the US and spreading. The numbers receded a few weeks after a pretty substantial governor mandated shutdown.

Florida could have acted proactively and did not. They have no excuse.

I still see a majority of people wearing masks. In other states it's a minority.

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all it takes is a minority of people not wearing masks and/or not social distancing to put everybody else around at risk, not to mention their own families, friends, and neighbors.

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It’s well documented that the DeSantis administration has instructed the state to lie about its COVID stats. Data scientist Rebekah Jones was fired for not juking the numbers.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/05/22/ousted-manager-was-told-...

Florida’s Surgeon General is calling for a re-examination of deaths and how deaths are reported because:

[H]ealth experts say it is more likely that Florida's COVID deaths, now at more than 16,500, are understated.

https://www.yoursun.com/coronavirus/how-many-floridians-really-have-died...

Of course Massachusetts handled the outbreak in elderly communities poorly. But there is no credible argument to be made by comparing Massachusetts to Florida’s imaginary numbers.

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You'd have a point.

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I'm in the "there are no easy answers" camp on this, also, "wear a $#@!ing mask."

One hard truth is that the data indicates we're killing young people to save old people. Excess mortality in the 25-44 group is up significantly, but this is a demographic that the CDC estimates has extremely low Covid risk.

Using CDC and Census data, if everyone between 25 and 44 got Covid, we'd see ~18,000 deaths. If we assume an 80% herd immunity level, we'd top out at 14,000.

This year, we've seen around 25,000 more deaths in this age cohort than in 2015-2019. If you assume a 20% Covid infection level (probably optimistic), then we're looking at 4,000 Covid deaths, and 21,000 from "lockdown" etc.

Also, odds are the lockdown-caused deaths are overrepresented among poorer and otherwise disadvantaged people.

I don't want grandma to die, and I don't want her son or grandson to die, either. We are living in a real-world Trolley Problem.

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That they're the smart ones who really know the real truth about a mutating novel virus is the orange goblin's finest trick.

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I mean, the summer spread in the southern states was not expected, but I recall reading even back in the spring that Covid would return once it started getting colder outside.

The deeper question is- are we prepared this time?

Also, I tend not to put stock in test positive percentages as an indicator of how bad the spread is. I look at is as an indicator of how well we are uncovering cases. Remember that the top number is 5%, but still, if we test more and find more cases, particularly the asymptomatic ones, we will have at least some control on things.

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I think the reason why we're getting higher numbers on new cases is because we're testing far better than we did in the beginning of the pandemic, and we're likely discovering dormant COVID cases.

The Commonwealth task force should put forth not just the total number of cases, but break them down by level of severity (asymptomatic, mild, moderate, severe). I would bet at least 50%-75% of those cases would be asymptomatic, and the next step would be how to handle those asymptomatic cases to prevent further spread.

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Nostradamus predicted that a great plague will suddenly disappear on November 4th, 2020.

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He also said a lot of stuff that never came true.

I'm still waiting for Marty and the Doc to get back to 1985 from 1955 with the Sports Almanac so we can blow this awful 1985B timeline outta here.

So lets not start this sh*t unless it's going to be tested by the MWRA for covid19.

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why so many other countries in the world are apparently willing to sabotage their own economies and kill off thousands of their own citizens just to maybe exert some slight influence on the US election?

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trying to decipher what it’s supposed to imply makes my head hurt. democrats want people to.. not vote?? or something??

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the moron's argument is that the whole thing is being manufactured to help swing the election, and it'll be dropped once the election is over.

Of course, as another poster already pointed out, that's ignoring the hundreds of other countries currently dealing with this pandemic - apparently, say, Italy, is willing to shut down all their tourism and have a bunch of people die to try and swing the US election - who knew?

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is a hoax. America is the only real country.

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I tried to find the scene from Wag the Dog where Denis Leary suggests that they switch from Albania to Italy, but no luck. Even the short clip I just rewatched when looking for it though was pretty unnerving.

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