Gov. Charlie Baker is coming under mounting pressure from public health experts and municipal leaders to do more to control the dramatic increase in coronavirus cases.
Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said in a tweet over the weekend that while he has defended Baker’s response in the past, he’s “aghast” at the lack of action over the past six weeks and called for tighter restrictions.
“Over the last six weeks it’s become very clear that we are heading towards a really bad surge of infections ... and the response from the governor’s office has been wholly inadequate,” he said.
Jha said hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise, yet “casinos and tanning salons are still open.”
The state on Sunday reported more than 4,700 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Massachusetts has risen over the past two weeks from almost 2,654 on Nov. 22 to more than 4,554 on Sunday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Some municipal leaders are open to more business closures but say it can’t be done piecemeal. If restaurants in one city are closed, people will simply go to another town.
Lynn Mayor Thomas McGee is in favor of what calls a “reasonable rollback” but said the state must lead.
“I don’t want to speak for the administration,” McGee told The Boston Globe, but “we can’t make those kinds of decisions individually. ... It can’t be one community here, one community there.”
The Republican governor has said he does not plan any more restrictions.
“There are no imminent new measures,” Baker aide Tim Buckley told the Globe, “but the administration has long said every option is on the table.” He said current restrictions are in line with federal and global standards.