Right now, the Baker Administration is responding to this imminent catastrophe in a similar way to how they would respond to an approaching blizzard or hurricane. There's a great deal of effort being made with respect to preparing the apparatus of state government and coordinating with our municipal and federal partners - and that is all necessary and good.
However, COVID-19 is not like a weather-related natural disaster. Unlike falling snow or blowing wind, we actually have the ability to control, suppress, and practically eliminate the incidence and spread of coronavirus.
Suppression has to be our main and overriding focus right now. Every day and every hour that goes by where aggressive suppression isn't our primary focus - and every time residents of the Commonwealth are having unnecessary interactions in close proximity with each other - there's more potential for the virus to be unnecessarily spreading.
The continued transmission of COVID-19 is a catastrophic problem, because this virus doesn't spread in a linear fashion. It spreads in an exponential or logarithmic fashion. Every three days, we can expect the number of cases to double.
Physicians have told us COVID-19 is some 10 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. Our hospitals are on track to look like war-zones in the coming days or weeks.
It must be noted that other countries around the world are generally better prepared to deal with such a pandemic. Our inability to quickly deploy testing will go down in history as a great tragedy. Our lack of preparedness and our already-fractured social safety net means the outcome in the United States could be much worse than what we've already seen in China and Italy or other places around the world.
we need everyone possible to Shelter In Place right now as part of a very aggressive strategy to suppress the explosive spread of this virus — and from there we can figure out all the other details to make this situation workable for the next few weeks at least. And in making this call, we must also take immediate action to provide space for people to quarantine and provide people who are experiencing homelessness with space of their own.
If we continue on the current course, where we are all working around the clock to figure out the details while suggesting an incomplete program of social distancing, the virus can be expected to continuously spread in an exponential fashion, resulting in the breakdown of our healthcare system and other critical systems, thereby making it ultimately impossible for us to address any of other details in the first place.