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10,000 Deaths: Mass. Reaches Another Grim Milestone Of Lives Lost To COVID-19

(Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health)
(Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health)

More than 10,000 Massachusetts residents have died from the coronavirus, according to the state count of confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths, making the pandemic one of the deadliest events in state history.

The state's latest data dashboard reports that 10,023 residents have died of COVID-19, including nine new deaths among confirmed patients. Nearly as many Massachusetts residents have now died from coronavirus as the 10,033 killed in World War II.

The state also reports 725 new confirmed cases, and 469 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the hospital. The seven-day average of tests coming out positive remains relatively low, at nearly 1.8%.

The state first surpassed 10,000 deaths from COVID-19 over the weekend.

The pandemic has had its largest impact on older residents, with nearly two-thirds of the deaths in the state coming from people living in long-term care facilities. The average age of residents who have died from the virus is 81.

Gov. Charlie Baker has also said the most recent wave in cases includes significant numbers of those aged 30 or younger, who have a better survival rate than older residents. Baker has urged all residents, and younger people in particular, to avoid parties and other social gatherings.

About 88% of clusters of cases over the past month stemmed from people who live in the same household, the state says.

On Monday, Baker issued an order requiring restaurants, bars and similar businesses to close at 9:30 p.m., and issued a "stay-at-home" advisory for people to remain home between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. He also said masks were required in public for all state residents over age 5.

The state reported its first coronavirus-related death on March 20, though it later said the person died on March 10. That number remained stuck at one for weeks, until a slow rise in deaths gave way to a spring surge that crested with 203 deaths in a single day, on April 24.

Through the summer, however, Massachusetts slipped into a steady lower-level pattern, with between 8 and 24 people dying of the illness each day. The state, along with its neighbors in the Northeast, had gone from the country's hot spot to a seeming model for controlling viral spread.

By October, the trend changed again, with a slow growth in daily positive cases leading to a what appears to be a new wave of the outbreak. On Oct. 19, tests yielded 1,050 positives, the first time the state saw a day with more than 1,000 new confirmed infections since May 20.

Baker has said that health experts always expected a second surge in the fall, and that the state is in a better position to manage a wave of cases, by administering tens of thousands of coronavirus tests per day, creating one of the first contact tracing plans in the country and stockpiling equipment like protective gear and ventilators.

But his order on Monday reflected growing concern, including the concerning contrast between 47 COVID patients in hospital ICUs on Sept. 9 and 113 on Nov. 1.

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