The Short List Urges You To Stay Home, Too
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has issued many orders seeking to keep people at home. They include closing schools, non-essential businesses and others — but no full "stay-at-home" order as of yet.
Baker's request urging people to stay at home appears to have more leeway than requests or official orders in other states, including Connecticut and Vermont.
“I do not believe that I can or should order U.S. citizens to be confined to their homes for days on end,” Baker said Monday. “It doesn’t make sense from a public health point of view, and it’s not realistic.”
Panelist Chris Collins said he thinks Baker has made the right call.
“It’s not realistic to think that you can just shut things down,” Collins said. “However, you know, we've also seen in neighboring New York, the governor there indicate that he kind of regretted some of the things he did. So you can Monday morning quarterback this thing all you want. We've never seen anything like this. No one's quite sure what to do. No one's quite sure how long it's going to last. I think in this case, Baker's doing the only thing he really can do at this point.”
Panelist Carrie Saldo said even with the restrictions Baker has put in place, there are physicians who say he should do more.
“There was a letter that was signed by more than 1,000 physicians earlier this week that said, ‘Look, more drastic steps are needed here,’” Saldo said. “‘You really need to shut it down for two solid weeks, keep people home.’ And the physicians asked that the supplies they need, those PPEs, really get to them.”
Saldo cited the letter: “[Massachusetts] has a wealth of experts and innovative minds who lead global corporations and institutions. Collectively we can solve this crisis…More people could die from COVID-19 in just a few months than have died in every single war this country has fought since its inception.”
“So they really want to stress the direness of this situation to people, clearly,” Saldo said.
Also this week, the coronavirus is having an effect on local newspapers. There were layoffs announced at The Daily Hampshire Gazette and Greenfield Recorder.
Gazette reporter and union leader Bera Dunau said the layoffs are a temporary situation, and he hopes workers will eventually be brought back.
"Obviously, we're heartbroken about these layoffs, while also recognizing that we are in the middle of a crisis caused by this pandemic," Dunau said. "This is a once-in-a-hundred-year storm."
At The Berkshire Eagle, employees are taking staggered 40-hour furloughs to help get through the tough times.
A downturn in advertising revenue is to blame at both papers. COVID-19 came at a time when many local papers had already been dealing with lower revenues in recent years.
The coronavirus has also presented challenges for many leaders at every level, including locally. Collins took a look this week at how the mayor of one western Massachusetts community has been dealing with the situation.
And while there are some businesses deemed essential that still open — grocery stories, pharmacies, banks — many have closed. All of this is designed to keep people home amid the pandemic. Our panelists said they're following that advice and trying to stay home as much as possible.
- Chris Collins, columnist , Greenfield Recorder
- Carrie Saldo, host, Connecting Point on WGBY
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