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Boston, hospitals begin looking at how to handle bodies when people start dying faster than morgues can handle

Mayor Walsh said today city officials have been working with local hospitals on a plan on how to temporarily store bodies when people start dying in greater numbers from Covid-19.

Walsh provided no details, but said that, unlike in New York City, nobody is talking about temporarily storing them in trenches in public parks - whatever the answer, it will be away from public view, he said.

As of yesterday, Boston has had 19 deaths related to Covid-19, but, especially over the next couple of weeks, there's going to be "la ot more loss of life," Walsh said at a press conference outside City Hall.

Marty Martinez, Walsh's chief of health and human services, said he hopes to release data on the racial and ethnic breakdown of Covid-19 numbers within a couple of days. He said that while the city has detailed data on the neighborhoods where people testing positive live, it only has racial and ethnic data on about half the roughly 2,000 confirmed cases in Boston so far.

Martinez added that, to date, about testing has shown about 200 cases among Boston's homeless community. He said that some shelters have had "universal testing" and that roughly 30% of people tested were positive - but he emphasized that most people who tested positive showed no symptoms.

Walsh said that police are empowered to break up groups of people at local parks or on the street, but continued to hope that people would voluntarily distance themselves without having to have police do it for them. He said crime appears to be down in Boston over the past month - with arrests down 21%. But he added that anybody at home who feels unsafe should call 911.

Walsh addressed millennials and teens in particular; telling them they're not immune and that even if they don't get sick, they could be spreading the potentially fatal virus to their parents and grandparents - so wash your hands, kids and wear a mask outside and stay six feet away from other people.

Walsh added that any healthcare workers who get tickets while parking near their jobs can get the tickets waived by sending them to the parking clerk with a note. He said this is retroactive over the past couple of weeks as well - but added this does not apply to tickets for parking in front of hydrants or in handicap spaces, except, in the latter case, for people who have handicap placards.

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Comments

Refer trucks.

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You are 2 for 2 today with comments that are incomprehensible.

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Refer trucks. That's what anyone who has ever worked produce or trucking calls them.

They should be branded with the Trump Eternal Hotels logo.

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"Refer trucks" is a 100% reasonable and comprehensive response to the question, and is consistent with standard practice when morgues are overwhelmed.

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Not so good at spelling.

Anyone that knows anything about trains, model or otherwise, knows about refrigerated box cars. The old ones carried ice, but with the invention of [portable-ed] artificial cooling systems, real cold shipping was possible. So, apparently, 'refrigerated' was shortened to the slang 'reefer'.

The rest of the story, anecdotal, is that hobos (can't call them 'street people' because they're on tracks) who smoked called them 'reefers'. The name stuck.

I dunno, sounds reasonable I guess.

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which might be less confusing.

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"They could use refrigerator trucks."

(Commentary: Maybe? Actually not a bad idea.)

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We have a lot of unused ice rinks currently. They'd be the most obvious choice.

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Oof. I live by one. It makes sense and I hope they use it if it helps, but that is not a fun thing to think about.

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There's a history to that idea. That's actually what they did in Halifax with bodies recovered from the Titanic--they used a curling rink (how Canadian).

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Does it matter? I'm pretty sure the virus doesnt care.

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You are absolutely right! @StillFromDorchester.

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Establishing the racial/ancestral makeup of a patient can be crucial for a lot of reasons. Any doctor that doesn't require himself to ask a patient, 'Are you an Ashkenazi Jew?' is possibly committing medical malpractice.
Why? Nope, doctor's not a nazi. Doctor might want to check into certain genetic diseases, like Gaucher disease.
https://www.gaucherdisease.org/blog/5-common-ashkenazi-genetic-diseases/
It's genetic. It exists. You want health or political correctness?

Sickle cell anemia. Black people tend to have it more than whites. It's Sub-Saharan. Why is this relevant today? Hydroxychloroquinine is in the news. A lot. It's a malarial drug. So, what's that have to do with sickle cell anemia?
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3269803/
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/08/health/sickle-cell-mutation.html

Well, sub-Saharan black ancestry, sickle cell anemia, malaria resistance and hydroxychloroquinine seem to share a possible connection.

I would assume that researchers a lot smarter than I am have been delving into this connection.
So ya, it counts.

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^^^^^^THIS!

THANK you!

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Well, sub-Saharan black ancestry, sickle cell anemia, malaria resistance and hydroxychloroquinine seem to share a possible connection.

And most mass murderers wear pants.

Correlation is not connection, much less causation.

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"... seem to share a possible connection." is what I said. So, you rule it out because of some 'causation' semi-truism? In order to know wether it's causation or not, you have to rule it out.

Clown. Tell me about iron and red blood cells, since you're such an expert.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/AQDBRKK.jpg)

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It is well-established that blacks and other minority groups in the U.S. experience more illness, worse outcomes, and premature death compared with whites.

Will that also hold true for COVID-19? Well, hopefully you're right, and it doesn't matter - but we won't know that until we've gathered that data. The virus may be race-blind, but that doesn't mean that the people and systems dealing with it are.

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But, hey, keep trying to pretend that racism doesn't have deadly consequences, such as disparities in health care access and quality translating into deadlier outcomes.

I'm sorry that a rational adult discussion of good tracking processes and the lived reality of millions of Americans hurts your feels so much.

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What are you talking about?
You assume I'm white and fragile?....wow

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There was some false perception a few weeks ago that folks of African descent were less prone to coronavirus. It's not true so important that everyone know that this can/will impact anyone of any ethnic makeup.

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It causes some people to treat all green people differently....
A corona type virus infects our fellow humans...

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...

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I did not know that and was not using it as an example.
I thought green people existed, but I stand corrected. Thank you.

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The "green people" line always gets trotted out by those who want to pretend that racism isn't a thing.

There are no green people. There are black people. In at least some parts of the country for which such data is available, black people are dying of COVID-19 in numbers far out of proportion to their population. Stop trying to derail with talk about imaginary green people.

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He's one of those people who thinks they don't see color

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about your willful ignorance. Disparities in healthcare access and health outcomes associated with socio/ethnic/economic/educational differences are very real, and painfully obvious to see if you aren't in denial. Learning from this and shaping public health policy accordingly will obviously help to improve quality of life not only for individuals but for historically marginalized groups.

But you probably don't care either because you're an asshole.

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... of how this pandemic brings steep privilege gradients of long standing into sharp focus.

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As of yesterday, Boston has had 19 deaths related to Covid-19, but, especially over the next couple of weeks, there's going to be "a lot more loss of life," Walsh said at a press conference outside City Hall.

Each life matters but 19 deaths spread over weeks is nowhere near a crisis and therepeutics have now stemmed the death and hospitilization rate. Most people recover quite nicely at home, see Tom Hanks, Chris Cuomo etc. Even Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has admitted a significant surplus in hospital beds and ventilators. So to suggest there will be a problem "storing bodies" is immoral and quite simply an unbridled attempt by Mayor Walsh to incite fear and stir hysteria. Has there been any net increase whatsoever in the death rate in Boston so far this year compared to last year? How many licensed funerals homes operate in the city? A quick Google search produces a "top 30" list and presumably there are many more that didn't make the cut. All have morgues. It's one thing for Walsh to privately plan for a distant future worst case scenario from some pandemic but to pretend it will be needed because of Covid-19 is outrageous. Enough already with the scare tactics.

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After all, it's not snowing now, so I don't see why we should be preparing for future needs for plowing, salting roads, etc.

Obviously the fact that something isn't happening right here, right now, means that it will never happen ever in the future and we're idiots for even looking at what's happening in nearby places and talking about preparations based on predicted timelines. And anyone saying otherwise is just trying to cause panic because, umm, you know, all those reasons the mayor of a major city has for wanting his citizens to be panicked, which are so obvious they're not even worth mentioning.

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Each life matters but 19 deaths spread over weeks is nowhere near a crisis and therepeutics have now stemmed the death and hospitilization rate.

"therapeutics" haven't stemmed a god damned thing, but you believe what you want to believe, old-timer. You probably need to cling to whatever reassurance you can find right about now.

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