♦ There are 8,966 known cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts, state officials reported Thursday, up from 7,738 a day earlier. Deaths associated with the virus rose by 32, to 154.
♦ Experts expect that coronavirus hospitalizations in Massachusetts will peak between April 10 and April 20, Governor Baker said Thursday.
♦ Construction is underway to turn Boston Convention and Exhibition Center into a field hospital, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Thursday.
♦ In Boston this Friday, a collective round of applause is being organized for workers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus battle. Here’s how to participate.
♦ Here’s a look at the non-essential business closure order, stay-at-home advisory, and other rules in place.
Ships with coronavirus patients dock in Florida
By Associated Press
A cruise ship where at least two passengers died of coronavirus while barred from South American ports finally docked Thursday in Florida after two weeks at sea and days of negotiations with initially resistant local officials.
The Zaandam and a sister ship sent to help it, the Rotterdam, were allowed to unload passengers at Port Everglades after working out a detailed agreement with officials who feared it would divert needed resources from a region that has seen a spike in virus cases.
US stock futures fall with relief rally fading on coronavirus pandemic fears
By Bloomberg News
U.S. stock index futures fell, erasing almost half of Thursday’s rally, as global coronavirus infections continued to increase.
S&P 500 Index futures expiring in June slid 1.2% as of 6:53 a.m. in London, after gaining 2.8% on Thursday. Contracts dropped 1.1% on the Nasdaq 100 Index and fell 1.2% on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Global coronavirus infections surpassed 1 million, a milestone reached just four months after the first cases surfaced in China.
‘Surreal’: NY funeral homes struggle as coronavirus deaths surge
By Associated Press
Pat Marmo walked among 20 or so deceased in the basement of his Brooklyn funeral home, his protective mask pulled down so his pleas could be heard.
“Every person there, they’re not a body,” he said. “They’re a father, they’re a mother, they’re a grandmother. They’re not bodies. They’re people.”
Like many funeral homes in New York and around the globe, Marmo’s business is in crisis as he tries to meet surging demand amid the coronavirus pandemic that has killed around 1,400 people in New York City alone, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.
Seven employees at Billerica jail test positive for COVID-19
By Adam Sennott, Globe Correspondent
Seven employees at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction in Billerica tested positive for COVID-19. the office of Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian announced Thursday.
The employees will remain off duty until they are medically cleared to return to work, the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
Inmate dies from coronavirus at Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater
By Jeremy C. Fox Globe Correspondent
An inmate at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater died Thursday while hospitalized for the novel coronavirus, the Massachusetts Department of Correction said Thursday night.
The inmate was a man in his 50s who had underlying health conditions, the department said in a statement. He had been quarantined immediately after he began showing symptoms and was taken to a hospital as his condition worsened, according to the department.
UN adopts resolution urging global cooperation on COVID-19
By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution Thursday recognizing “the unprecedented effects” of the coronavirus pandemic and calling for “intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat” the COVID-19 disease.
It was the first resolution adopted by the 193-member world body on the pandemic that is sweeping the world and reflects global concern at the fast-rising death toll and number of cases.
After lost months, Britain vows to catch up on coronavirus testing
By Mark Landler and Stephen Castle, New York Times
LONDON — When Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to the British people from isolation on Wednesday, still suffering his own bout of the coronavirus, he said the key to overcoming the pandemic was more testing. “This is how we will unlock the coronavirus puzzle,” he said in a shaky, hand-held video.
In fact, the British government came very late to the recognition that testing for the virus is a key part of fighting it, by helping to slow transmission. That failure has set off an outcry in the country. The government’s tardiness has left Britain with an undersupplied and poorly coordinated testing program that has reached only a fraction of the people tested in countries like Germany or South Korea.
Experts, Trump’s advisers doubt White House’s 240,000 coronavirus deaths estimate
By William Wan, Josh Dawsey, Ashley Parker and Joel Achenbach, The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - Leading disease forecasters, whose research the White House used to conclude that 100,000 to 240,000 people will die nationwide from the coronavirus, were mystified when they saw the administration's projection this week.
The experts said they don’t challenge the numbers’ validity but said they don’t know how the White House arrived at them.
White House officials have refused to explain how they generated the figure - a death toll bigger than the United States suffered in the Vietnam War or the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They have not provided the underlying data so others can assess its reliability, and have not provided long-term strategies to lower that death count.
The economic shocks from the pandemic are reaching deep into the Massachusetts work world
Chris Crompton has many contacts in the tourism industries in Asia and Europe, so he had a sense of impending doom as the coronavirus spread into the United States and began to grip Boston just a few weeks ago.
“It was almost like a tidal wave of businesses closing down,” said Crompton, general manager of Old Town Trolley Tours of Boston.
By the second week of March, Old Town Trolley’s business was off by 50 percent; last week Crompton laid off 96 employees, or about 90 percent of his staff. The remaining employees have taken pay cuts, including Crompton.
Kraft cheered for bringing in masks on Patriots team plane to fight coronavirus
Governor Charlie Baker greeted the New England Patriots team plane at Logan Airport Thursday evening filled with nearly 1 million N95 masks flown from China to the US to protect healthcare workers in the fight against coronavirus.
Baker, standing in the massive Delta Airlines hangar and flanked by large shipping pallets, choked up as he thanked the family of Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others for organizing the transcontinental delivery.
“Jonathan,” Baker said, addressing team president Jonathan Kraft who was also on hand to greet the plane. “Honestly, we can’t think you and your Dad, and your family enough for answering the call and making this happen.”
As coronavirus cases surge in Florida, fears that action came too late
By Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Lori Rozsa and Brady Dennis, The Washington Post
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Magic Kingdom is dark. The last of the spring breakers have fled the beaches. Calle Ocho, the vibrant Miami street once bustling with Cuban restaurants and Latin music, is silent amid a nightly curfew. And in The Villages, a sprawling senior-living community near Ocala, town square concerts have ceased and the pools have closed.
Slowly and reluctantly over the past month, as coronavirus infections grew from almost none to nearly 8,000 and more than 125 residents have died, Florida has sobered up. Under mounting pressure, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, this week ordered most Floridians to remain at home starting Friday, a move that more than 30 US states had already taken in an effort to slow the spread of a deadly viral infection with no vaccine and no cure.
But as case counts climb in the nation’s third most-populous state - one home to bustling international airports, swarms of tourists and many vulnerable residents - many are now left to wait and wonder if the latest restrictions came in time, and what lies ahead for the Sunshine State.
Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier stricken by coronavirus
By Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt and Emily Cochrane, New York Times
WASHINGTON — The Navy removed the captain of the stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday, only days after he implored his superior officers for more help as a coronavirus outbreak spread aboard the ship.
In a letter that leaked to news organizations Tuesday, Capt. Brett Crozier laid out the dire situation unfolding on the warship, with almost 5,000 crew members, and described what he said were the Navy’s failures to provide the proper resources to combat the virus by moving sailors off the vessel and disinfecting areas on board.
About 114 sailors have been infected so far, a number that is expected to rise by hundreds as the vessel remains docked at Guam.
MBTA adds service to some bus lines, cuts others in response to pandemic
By Jeremy C. Fox, Globe Correspondent
The MBTA will temporarily add service to some bus routes and eliminate others, beginning Monday, as the transit agency focuses on serving medical personnel amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Thursday.
More buses will be added on routes serving the Longwood medical area in Boston, Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford, and the Steward Satellite Emergency Department in Quincy, officials said in a statement.
Testing issues cloud scope of California’s coronavirus outbreak
By Brian Melley, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — California is ramping up testing for coronavirus even as a backlog of 59,000 pending tests is growing, delaying some people from getting results for up to 12 days and leaving an incomplete picture of how widespread the outbreak is in the state.
Testing rolled out slowly in California but is accelerating now. More than 90,000 tests have been administered statewide, but nearly two-thirds of those results were still pending, according to state figures.
Boston enlists school cafeteria in fight against coronavirus
By Malcolm Gay, Globe Staff
The Josiah Quincy Elementary School has converted its cafeteria into an emergency screening clinic for people presenting with COVID-19 symptoms, opening its doors to help combat the public health crisis.
The conversion was announced in a letter Wednesday to the school community from Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, who said the district had been working with the city and Tufts Medical Center to transform the cafeteria into a clinical station.
“This auxiliary clinic will provide a critical service necessary to help stop the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of our community,” wrote Cassellius.
Trump rips into Schumer for complaints about coronavirus response
By Justin Sink, Bloomberg
President Trump delivered an unusual rebuttal by letter to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer Thursday, angered by his fellow New Yorker’s criticism of the administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump, who frequently directs barbs at Schumer via Twitter, gave a four-point response on White House stationary to a letter Schumer released earlier in the day and some of the Democratic leader’s comments in interviews.
15 reported dead in Norwood facility as nearly 80 nursing, assisted living centers battle coronavirus clusters
The novel coronavirus is tearing through nursing homes across the state, striking the old and the sick, and the people who take care of them, with merciless precision.
At the Charlwell House Health & Rehabilitation Center in Norwood, at least 15 people have died of what staff members believe were coronavirus infections or related complications in the last 12 days, according to three employees with direct knowledge.
A co-owner of the facility said that seven residents who died had tested positive for the virus, but said due to underlying health conditions, COVID-19 was listed as the official cause of death for only three of the residents. The other eight recent deaths had not been tested, said Chris Roberts, vice president of operations. Their deaths were also the result of underlying conditions, he said.
How accurate are coronavirus tests? Doctors raise concern about ‘false-negative’ results
As more people are gaining access to COVID-19 tests, doctors say they are encountering a troubling number of “false negatives" — test results that indicate patients aren’t sick, despite clear signs and symptoms of coronavirus infection.
This phenomenon of “false negatives” is not new; no medical test is 100 percent accurate, but the stakes here are incredibly high. Some health experts have suggested the number of false-negative coronavirus tests could be up to 30 percent.
Police reports, social media shamings: Coronavirus has turned some citizens into social distance vigilantes
By Matt Rocheleau, Globe Staff
A few weeks ago these were all harmless, heartwarming activities.
But in the age of coronavirus, they are drawing looks of disgust, shame on social media, and a flood of complaints to police and local authorities, who are fielding a surge of reports of supposed social distancing violations.
Community newspapers were already in a tough spot. Coronavirus might destroy them
By Adam Vaccaro, Globe Staff
As the top government official in Somerset County, Maine, Dawn DiBlasi is struggling to get a handle on the reach of the coronavirus locally because there isn’t a single hometown newspaper left dedicated to covering this rural area of 50,000 people.
“It would be nice to know right now what the status of things are," said DiBlasi, the county administrator. “And there’s information we’d like people to know about. I don’t know what businesses are open, who’s still working."
At a time when their roles as information conduits and community sounding boards are critical to fighting the pandemic, local newspapers are reeling from the economic shocks of the coronavirus, laying off or furloughing staff and cutting back coverage as their already meager base of advertising shrinks even further.
Tufts Medical Center furloughs, cuts hours for 2,000 workers
By Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, Globe Staff
The parent company of Tufts Medical Center on Thursday announced temporary layoffs and reduced hours for nearly 2,000 of its employees, the latest hospital system to make cuts amid a sudden drop in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.
Executives at Wellforce, which includes Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Lowell General Hospital, and MelroseWakefield Hospital, said 719 employees would be furloughed for 90 days, while another 1,236 would have their hours reduced. Together, these employees account for 15 percent of the health system’s workforce.
Gig workers’ path to unemployment insurance unclear
By Katie Johnston, Globe Staff
Self-employed workers got the good news last week that they would be eligible to apply for unemployment — a first for independent contractors who drive for Uber and other gig-economy companies that have experienced a major downturn in business due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But the bad news is: It's unclear how it will work and how long it will take for workers to get their money.
In many states, including Massachusetts, the state unemployment system isn’t set up for those who didn’t previously qualify for unemployment insurance and the Department of Unemployment Assistance is waiting on federal guidelines on how to process their claims.
The Cuomo show, Andrew and Chris, enliven coronavirus TV
By David Bauder, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — With all their familial love and drama, the Cuomo brothers — Andrew during the daytime, Chris at night — have become compelling figures in the plague-driven landscape of American television.
Andrew, New York’s governor, holds a near daily televised briefing on the epidemic, a mixture of statistics, aphorisms and advice together with prodding and praise directed at a fellow Queens, N.Y., native, President Trump. Women and Democrats swoon.
Kushner puts himself in the middle of the White House’s chaotic coronavirus response
By Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Noah Weiland, New York Times
WASHINGTON — Peter T. Gaynor, the federal government’s top emergency manager, was about to go on television last week to announce that he would use wartime production powers to ensure the manufacture of about 60,000 desperately needed coronavirus test kits.
With minutes until the camera went live, though, he still had to let the White House know. The person he hurriedly called: Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who endorsed an announcement that surprised many officials. Among those unaware that Kushner had agreed to the use of the special powers? President Trump.
CIA hunts for authentic coronavirus totals in China, dismissing government tallies
By Julian E. Barnes, New York Times
WASHINGTON — The CIA has been warning the White House since at least early February that China has vastly understated its coronavirus infections and that its count could not be relied upon as the United States compiles predictive models to fight the virus, according to current and former intelligence officials.
The intelligence briefings in recent weeks, based at least in part on information from CIA assets in China, played an important role in President Trump’s negotiation on Thursday of an apparent détente with President Xi Jinping of China. Since then, both countries have ratcheted back criticism of each other.
White House doctor: Trump tested again for coronavirus, results negative
By Zeke Miller and Mike Stobbe, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Trump was tested again for COVID-19 on Thursday using a new rapid test.
The White House said Trump’s latest test returned a negative result in 15 minutes, and said Trump was “healthy and without symptoms.”
De Blasio asks New Yorkers to wear a face covering when they go outside
By Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio asked New Yorkers to wear a face covering when they go outside and will be near other people.
He cited research showing asymptomatic people could be spreading the virus without realizing it. De Blasio told a press briefing that until now, “there just wasn’t evidence” to support the move.
“When you put on that face covering, you’re protecting everyone else,” he said.
Coronavirus could lead to breakup of European Union, leaders warn
By Loveday Morris and Michael Birnbaum, The Washington Post
BERLIN - The coronavirus pandemic, with its simultaneous health and economic crises, is deepening faultlines within Europe in a way some leaders fear could prove to be a final reckoning.
The cohesion of the European Union had already been battered by Brexit, bruised by the political fallout from the 2015 migration surge and the 2008 financial crisis, and challenged by rising autocracy in the east that runs contrary to the professed ideals of the European project.
Now, if Europe’s leaders cannot chart a more united course, the project lies in what one of its architects described this week as “mortal danger.”
Biden wants to talk to Trump about lessons from past crises
By Alexandra Jaffe, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden says he wants to speak with President Trump so that hopefully the president can “learn some lessons” from the Obama administration on how to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’ve been through this in a slightly different way in the past, and I hope they can learn some lessons from what we did right and maybe what we did wrong,” Biden said during a virtual press briefing on Thursday afternoon.
Her husband is hospitalized in a coma with coronavirus. She’s 7 1/2 months pregnant and sick with coronavirus, too
By Deanna Pan, Globe Staff
For new and expecting parents in the coronavirus age, there is almost no worse scenario than what Urszula Osborne now faces.
Her 40-year-old husband, Ray Osborne, is intubated on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma at Massachusetts General Hospital after contracting the novel coronavirus a few weeks ago. His kidneys have failed, so he’s on intermittent dialysis, too.
Urszula is 41 and 7 1/2 months pregnant with their second child. She has also tested positive for coronavirus. She’s isolating in their Quincy apartment with their 3-year-old son, Sebastian. She’s so ill, she can barely speak.
Mass. health insurers offer help during coronavirus crisis
By Jon Chesto, Globe Staff
The state’s biggest nonprofit health insurers are waiving copays and deductibles for COVID-19 treatments. But they’re also giving back to their communities in numerous ways, to help individuals and organizations deal with the financial repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the past two weeks, the state’s four largest insurers have collectively unveiled millions of dollars in community relief efforts.
States demand ventilators as feds ration limited supply
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Robert Burns and Ben Fox, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two weeks ago, the Pentagon promised to make as many as 2,000 military ventilators available as the federal government strains to contend with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Wednesday, less than half had been allocated, despite a desperate need across the country.
At FEMA, the agency tasked with coordinating the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak, about 9,000 additional ventilators are also on hold as officials seek to determine where they are needed most urgently. Officials have warned states not to expect any shipments until they are within 72 hours of a crisis.
Entercom will implement pay cuts, layoffs, and furloughs to reduce costs
By Chad Finn, Globe Staff
Entercom Communications, the parent company of sports radio station WEEI, informed employees in all of its markets Thursday that it would be implementing pay cuts, layoffs, and furloughs to cut expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Field, Entercom president and chief executive officer, sent a memo to staffers explaining the decision.
Brockton homeless see first cases of COVID-19
By Caroline Enos, Globe Correspondent
Fifteen homeless people in Brockton have tested positive for COVID-19 as the number of cases continues to rise in the city, said Sue Joss, CEO of the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center.
The tests were done by the health center at the Father Bill’s and MainSpring homeless shelter in downtown Brockton on Monday and Tuesday, Joss said. The health center is still waiting on results from Tuesday’s round of testing, and those who had confirmed cases were taken to an isolation center, she said.
Trump admin moves toward promoting broader use of face masks
By Zeke Miller and Mike Stobbe, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many, if not almost all, Americans wear face coverings when leaving home, in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
The recommendations, still being finalized Thursday, would apply at least to those who live in areas hard-hit by community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. A person familiar with the White House coronavirus task force’s discussion said officials would suggest that non-medical masks, T-shirts or bandannas be used to cover the nose and mouth when outside the home — for instance, at the grocery store or pharmacy. Medical-grade masks, particularly short-in-supply N95 masks, would be reserved for those dealing directly with the sick.
The pandemic poses significant access-to-justice obstacles. A Cambridge technologist is developing solutions
By Danny McDonald, Globe Staff
A burst pipe in your apartment needs emergency work, and you want to ask a court to force the landlord to take action.
In the age of the coronavirus, like nearly every other segment of local life, the state’s court system now features additional pandemic-related obstacles to addressing such a problem.
Local legal technologist Quinten Steenhuis thinks your phone can help. Or, more specifically, apps that he is developing for your phone.
Mass. reports 1,228 new cases of coronavirus, 32 new related deaths
State health officials reported Thursday that the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts had risen by 32 cases, or 26 percent, to 154, up from 122 the day before. A Suffolk County woman with preexisting conditions in her 30s was among those reported dead. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 1,228 cases, to 8,966, up from 7,738. A total of 56,608 people had been tested, up from 51,738.
Earlier, Baker said at a State House news conference that, based on expert estimates, he expects that coronavirus hospitalizations in the state will peak between April 10 and April 20.
He also said that modeling indicates the number of coronavirus cases in the state could range from 47,000 to 172,000 over the course of the epidemic, or about 0.7 to 2.5 percent of the population.
Trump’s company seeks financial help as coronavirus takes toll
By David Enrich, Ben Protess and Eric Lipton, New York Times
All over the country, businesses large and small are seeking breathing room from their lenders, landlords and business partners as they face the financial fallout from the coronavirus crisis.
President Trump’s family company is among those looking for help.
With some of its golf courses and hotels closed amid the economic lockdown, the Trump Organization has been exploring whether it can delay payments on some of its loans and other financial obligations, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The New York Times.
Confirmed cases of coronavirus top 1 million worldwide, with more than 50,000 deaths reported
By Michael R. Sisak, Lori Hinnant and Mark Sherman, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — The coronavirus outbreak has thrown 10 million Americans out of work in just two weeks, the swiftest, most stunning collapse the US job market has ever witnessed, and economists warn unemployment could reach levels not seen since the Depression, as the economic damage piles up around the world.
The bleak news Thursday — a record-shattering 6.6 million new unemployment claims on top of last week’s unprecedented 3.3 million — came as the competition for scarce ventilators, masks and other protective gear seemed to grow more desperate and deaths mounted with alarming speed in Italy, Spain and New York, the most lethal hot spot in the nation, with nearly 2,400 lives lost.
Memo: Some in US may not get stimulus checks until August
By Matthew Daly, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government expects to begin making payments to millions of Americans under the new stimulus law in mid-April, but some people without direct deposit information may not get checks until mid-August or later, according to a memo obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
The document from the House Ways and Means Committee says the IRS will make about 60 million payments to Americans through direct deposit in mid-April, likely the week of April 13. The IRS has direct deposit information for these individuals from their 2018 or 2019 tax returns.
Three more residents die at Holyoke Soliders’ Home
State officials said Thursday that three more veterans had died at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, the site of the state’s largest fatal outbreak of the coronavirus.
Eighteen people have now died since late March at the state-run home for veterans, at least 12 due to the virus. Tests on three other victims are pending; two tests were negative and one was inconclusive.
It was not clear whether the most recent deaths were linked to coronavirus.
Demand for ventilators, masks, body bags outstrips FEMA’s supply
By Daniel Flatley, Bloomberg
The demand for masks, gloves, face shields and even body bags from states to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic far outstrips the federal government’s ability to respond, according to documents released Thursday by the House Oversight Committee.
Five states and Washington D.C. that make up a regional grouping for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for example, asked for a combined total of 5 million masks but got less than 500,000 by the end of March, according to the documents.
Nearly 80 nursing, assisted living centers have reported coronavirus clusters, officials say
State officials said Thursday they’ve identified outbreaks of the novel coronavirus at roughly 78 long-term care facilities across Massachusetts, providing the first broad look of how COVID-19 has invaded nursing homes and other centers housing the state’s most vulnerable population.
The figures, disclosed at a State House news conference, are likely to change as the virus evolves, said Marylou Sudders, the state’s health and human services secretary.
Sudders said state officials plan to release more data in the “coming days” that could help show how the virus has impacted the roughly 700 long-term care facilities across Massachusetts.
See the charts and projections on the coronavirus surge in Mass. from the Baker administration
Governor Charlie Baker said Thursday that the surge in coronavirus hospitalizations in Massachusetts is expected to take place between April 10 and April 20.
The timing of the surge says the crush in cases could happen in a little more than a week.
Baker said that modeling indicates the number of coronavirus cases in the state could range from 47,000 to 172,000 over the course of the epidemic, or about 0.7 to 2.5 percent of the population.
The Easter Bunny is an ‘essential worker,' Governor Raimondo tells kids
By Dan McGowan, Globe Staff
PROVIDENCE — From serious inquiries about helping the homeless to lighter ones about the Easter Bunny, Governor Gina Raimondo used her live televised press conference Thursday to answer questions about the coronavirus that were submitted by thousands of students across Rhode Island.
All school buildings in the state have been closed since March 16 as state leaders try to contain the contagious disease, but Raimondo scheduled her daily briefing to respond to questions from students who are participating in a “distance learning” program that will continue until at least the end of April.
Bright Horizons executives take pay cuts after parents advocate for furloughed teachers
By Stephanie Ebbert, Globe Staff
After their children’s preschool was closed to the threat of coronavirus, a group of Boston mothers began doing what mothers do: volunteering to help the teachers. One proposed launching a GoFundMe page to raise money for the staff whose already meager salaries — $18 or $20 an hour — would be cut off by furloughs.
Then one of them challenged the premise: Why did this job, too, fall to working mothers? Why not push the school to take care of its teachers?
Boston convention center to become field hospital, as surge of coronavirus patients looms
Construction is underway to turn Boston Convention and Exhibition Center into a field hospital to tend to an expected surge of coronavirus patients, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Thursday. The 500-bed hospital will serve men and women who are homeless and suffering from the illness caused by the coronavirus, but whose symptoms do not require acute care and full hospitalization.
Work to convert the facility began today, and the city has launched a request for proposals to find a healthcare provider to operate the facility.
US eases blood donation limits for gay men due to shortage
By Matthew Perrone, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The US government Thursday eased restrictions on blood donations from gay men and other key groups because of a drop in the nation’s blood supply triggered by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Food and Drug Administration’s new policy aims to allow tens of thousands more Americans give blood, including gay and bisexual men and people with recent tattoos and piercings.
“We want and we need healthy people — all healthy people — to give blood,” said Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, who announced the changes in a media briefing with the FDA.
Eviction ban passes House, picks up speed on Beacon Hill
By Tim Logan, Globe Staff
A plan to protect struggling renters and homeowners from eviction during the coronavirus crisis took a major step forward on Beacon Hill Thursday, winning passage in the House.
Lawmakers quickly voted on a bill that would block court-ordered evictions, in most cases, until the coronavirus state of emergency is lifted and for 30 days afterward. It would also prevent landlords from sending “notice to quit” letters to tenants ordering them to vacate apartments during that time.
R.I. DMV closes for two days after staff member tests positive for coronavirus
By Edward Fitzpatrick, Globe Staff
PROVIDENCE — A Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles staff member has tested positive for the coronavirus, so the DMV’s main offices in Cranston will be closed Thursday and Friday, state officials announced.
The DMV will do additional cleaning at the offices during the two-day span.
Italy and Spain see ‘first positive signs’ in coronavirus crisis, ambassadors say
By Karen DeYoung, The Washington Post
The Italian and Spanish ambassadors to the United States reported signs of improvement in the coronavirus situation in their countries Thursday, where numbers of confirmed infections, hospitalizations and deaths remain high but are beginning to stabilize.
"These are just the first positive signs, and they have to be taken cautiously," Italian Ambassador Armando Varricchio said. "But they show that measures taken both nationally and at the local level have started to pay off."
Spain and Italy account for the majority of more than 30,000 deaths in Europe, with more than 10,000 in Spain and 13,000 in Italy, although figures in Britain and France are climbing. All have imposed national stay-at-home orders and closures.
Coronavirus is harming the mental health of tens of millions of people in US, new poll finds
By Joel Achenbach, The Washington Post
Nearly half the people in the US say the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to a survey published Thursday that demonstrates how the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated into a nationwide psychological trauma.
The tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, conducted March 25 to 30, found that 45 percent of adults say the pandemic has affected their mental health, and 19 percent say it has had a “major impact.” The rates are slightly higher among women, Hispanic adults and black adults, the survey found.
The poll makes one thing clear: If you’re scared, anxious, depressed, struggling to sleep through the night, or just on edge, you’re not alone.
N.J. confirmed deaths from new coronavirus climb 51% to 537
By Elise Young, Bloomberg
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said pop-up hospitals opening in the state are coming “not a moment too soon,” as he reported an additional 3,489 positive test results, for a statewide total of 25,590.
Murphy reported an additional 182 deaths from the new coronavirus, increasing the one-day total by more than 50% to a cumulative 537.
Communities raise thousands for school custodians amid coronavirus crisis
By Meghan Sorensen, Globe Correspondent
Since schools nationwide shut down due to the coronavirus, custodians have tirelessly worked to clean and disinfect the buildings to ensure students have a safe environment when they return. Now, some New England parents are stepping up to say thanks.
In Medfield, Heather Letteney Larkin, a mother of two, started a fundraiser on Facebook to rally the community around custodians of Medfield Public Schools. Within days the fundraiser raised $9,290, which will be distributed equally among the 19 custodians.
“They’re keeping the kids and keeping the schools clean,” Letteney Larkin told Good Morning America. “This is a time more than ever to appreciate what they do.”
Katherine Clark wants recreational pot shops open to serve veterans amid coronavirus outbreak
By Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment
US Representative Katherine Clark expressed concern this week that military veterans could be particularly impacted by the Governor Charlie Baker’s decision to keep recreational marijuana stores closed in Massachusetts amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Massachusetts Democrat raised the issue in a tweet, linking to a story about a veterans advocacy group that is calling on Baker to reopen adult-use shops so veterans can continue to obtain marijuana products more readily and without fear of being penalized. Though medical marijuana dispensaries are still open in Massachusetts, a US Department of Veterans Affairs policy prohibits its doctors from recommending medical marijuana to patients.
Baker says coronavirus hospitalizations expected to peak between April 10 and April 20
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said Thursday that, based on expert estimates, he expects that coronavirus hospitalizations in the state will peak between April 10 and April 20.
He also said that modeling indicates the number of coronavirus cases in the state could range from 47,000 to 172,000 over the course of the epidemic.
“We estimate at this point in time that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts will range somewhere between 47,000 and 172,000 cases during the course of the pandemic," he said. As of Wednesday, the state had only tallied 7,738.
Italy reports leveling off of coronavirus deaths, new cases
By John Follain, Bloomberg
Italy reported 760 deaths from the coronavirus Thursday as the number of fatalities rose again after three weeks of nationwide lockdown.
The toll over the past 24 hours compared with 727 on Wednesday, according to figures from the civil protection agency. There were 4,668 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday compared with 4,782 a day earlier, as growth in infections slowed.
Confirmed cases in the country, Europe’s worst-hit nation, now total 115,242, while deaths reached 13,915. Hospitalized patients rose by 137, the lowest increase in at least one month.
Parking lots at state beaches are closing
By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff
In an effort to get people to spread out and practice better social distancing, state officials are closing all coastal beach parking lots. However, the beaches will stay open for people to walk, jog, and bike, as long as they stay a safe distance away from each other.
Governor Charlie Baker issued the emergency order Thursday to close all coastal beach parking areas managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation by 12 p.m. Friday to prevent large groups of people from congregating by the ocean during the COVID-19 outbreak.
State officials said DCR will open some seasonal state parks early and expand access at other parks to provide other open space opportunities for people to enjoy.
Employee infections in largest Massachusetts hospitals nearly triple in a week
Coronavirus infections among employees at major hospitals in Massachusetts nearly tripled over the past week, intensifying alarm about workers’ health, potential spread to others, and the withdrawal of staff at such a critical time in the pandemic.
As of Wednesday, there were 509 infected workers at the hospitals, up from 177 the prior week, according to hospital data tracked by the Globe on a daily basis.
Cuomo warns at current coronavirus rate, N.Y. will run out of ventilators in 6 days
By Michael R. Sisak, Lori Hinnant, and Mark Sherman, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The coronavirus outbreak has thrown 10 million Americans out of work in just two weeks, in the swiftest, most stunning collapse the US job market has ever witnessed, and economists warn unemployment could reach levels not seen since the Depression, as the economic damage from the crisis piles up around the world.
The bleak news Thursday — 6.6 million new unemployment claims on top of 3.3 million last week — came as the competition for masks and other protective gear seemed to intensify and deaths mounted with alarming speed in Italy, Spain, and New York, the most lethal hot spot in the nation, with nearly 2,400 dead.
17 people test positive for coronavirus, one dead at Littleton nursing home
By Matt Stout, Globe Staff
At least 17 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at a Littleton nursing home, including one resident who died, company officials said Thursday, marking one of the largest known outbreaks at a Massachusetts senior or assisted living facility since the pandemic began tearing through the state.
The first resident with a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley was transferred to a local hospital on Friday, and staff were notified the next day the person had tested positive, according to a statement the facility released Thursday.
Boston hospitals getting ‘game changer’ machine that sterilizes 80,000 protective masks a day
By Rebecca Ostriker, Globe Staff
A mammoth machine that can sterilize up to 80,000 N95 respirator masks a day is coming to the Boston area — a major breakthrough that could potentially provide protective masks to all Massachusetts hospitals battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Steve Walsh, president of the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, sent a note to members this morning saying that the machine will arrive Saturday from Battelle, a research nonprofit based in Columbus, Ohio. The letter was read to the Globe. The machine is scheduled to be parked at a vacant Kmart store in Somerville off Interstate 93.
On what would have been Opening Day, sounds of silence at Fenway Park
By Stan Grossfeld, Globe Staff
To me, the best sound of Opening Days past at Fenway Park was always the rumbling good vibrations of the metal gates being hoisted up, revealing so many joyous faces on kids who were playing hooky, decked out in their best Red Sox gear, including their baseball gloves.
The grownups greeted each other by saying, “Happy New Year,” as they entered the ancient ballpark on this holiest of baseball days.
Lawyers say coronavirus has found its way to Bristol immigration detention facility
Lawyers seeking the release of all civil immigration detainees in Bristol County say that a health care worker at a detention facility there has been confirmed to have the coronavirus.
“Just this morning, a COVID-19 infection was confirmed by Bristol County involving a health care professional at the detention facility,” Lawyers for Civil Rights said in a statement.
How the Pine Street Inn feeds Boston’s frightened homeless
By Kara Baskin, Globe Correspondent
As restaurants across the state are forced to shutter, Boston’s homeless continue to line up for breakfast and dinner at the South End’s Pine Street Inn. Executive chef Frank van Overbeeke serves roughly 350 men and 125 women each day. Pine Street also contracts with detox centers, criminal justice facilities, and other shelters to provide thousands of meals daily.
“If you’re hungry and homeless, if you got kicked out, get in line. We feed you,” says van Overbeeke, who got his start in fine dining at restaurants such as Salamander and Pomodoro. “We don’t have the option to close.”
Pelosi creating House committee to oversee coronavirus economic bailout
By Alan Fram and Kevin Freking, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she will establish a special House committee with subpoena power to oversee the government’s spending of the more than $2.2 trillion approved to bolster the economy hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Pelosi, D-Calif., described her plans during a conference call with reporters, even as she said that the day’s report of a staggering 6.6 million more people filing for unemployment benefits had increased the urgency for a federal response.
Maine coronavirus cases increase to 376, up 32 from Wednesday
By Matt Berg, Globe Correspondent
The Maine Center for Disease Control reported 32 more confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 376, officials said.
Of the total cases, 94 patients have recovered — an additional 14 since Wednesday, according to the Maine CDC. Sixty-eight patients have been hospitalized at some point during their illness.
Democratic National Convention postponed until August
By Associated Press
The Democratic National Committee is delaying its presidential nominating convention until the week of Aug. 17 after prospective nominee Joe Biden said he didn’t think it would be possible to hold a normal convention in mid-July because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Convention CEO Joe Solmonese confirmed the decision in a statement Thursday.
“In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention,” Solmonese said.
North Attleborough company offering coronavirus testing with fast results
By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff
A North Attleborough medical facility is offering coronavirus testing that in some cases can yield results in about 15 minutes, the chief executive officer said Thursday.
“We’re just trying to do our part,” said Dr. Ryan Welter, CEO of Tristan Medical North Attleborough, where dozens of people are being tested daily.
Heading outdoors for home-school history lessons
By David Lyon and Patricia Harris, Globe Correspondents
Are your kids so hyper with cabin fever that they can’t even focus on those home-schooling lessons? Are you? (Need we even ask?)
The good news is that Massachusetts is filled with sites where your reluctant scholars can soak up a little history while getting some well-needed exercise. You will most likely find all visitor centers — normally great sources of information — closed, but outdoor areas and trails are open. So check the websites first for some facts to impress your children, along with the latest information about closures and usage guidelines. There is a kind of magic about standing right in the spot where something momentous happened — even when you are 6 feet apart.
In this oratorio, the story of a 16th-century bishop who preached social distancing
By Matthew Guerrieri, Globe Correspondent
If, in the future, composers commemorate the coronavirus pandemic in musical form, they can look to a model by their French forbear Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704).
Among Charpentier’s vast catalog are more than 40 examples of what was then a new thing: oratorios, sacred stories told via soloists and chorus. Almost all of Charpentier’s oratorios presented biblical narratives, but, on one occasion, he turned to more recent history: “Pestis Mediolanensis” (“The Plague of Milan”), a short work dramatizing that city’s 1574-76 bout with bubonic plague and the efforts of Milan’s archbishop, Charles Borromeo.
Spend time at home planning for your next adventure
By Kari Bodnarchuk, Globe Correspondent
The idea of traveling around the world or taking your dream trip may seem out of reach at the moment, but now is the perfect time to start laying the foundation for your next adventure.
Years ago, I planned an 18-month around-the-world adventure — long before digital libraries, travel apps, and Amazon Prime became the norm. Researching and planning from home couldn’t be easier, so take this time to plan your next well-deserved vacation.
Here are some tips to consider.
It’s not a stretch to say she’d love to get to Patagonia right about now
By Juliet Pennington, Globe correspondent
Kara Duval is an outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking and hopes to hit the trails in Patagonia sometime soon. In the meantime, the popular Pilates instructor is, like everyone else, making the best of the new normal with the COVID-19 pandemic — and trying to help others along the way.
Some Boston theaters are finding new ways for audiences to get in the act
By Terry Byrne, Globe correspondent
Every day, Boston-area theater makers are creating new opportunities to stay connected to audiences at this time of social distancing, and most importantly, to do what they do best: entertain and inspire. And while the power of theater lies in its ability to bring people together in the same room, stories continue to be told through video streaming and audio podcasts.
Hotels step up to help feed their communities
By Diane Bair and Pamela Wright, Globe Correspondents
Though the travel industry is reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many in the industry giving back and sharing what they can. Here’s one heartwarming example.
Due to school closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Ocean House Management properties, including Ocean House and Weekapaug Inn in Westerly, R.I., and The Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington, are giving free lunches, prepared by their Forbes Five-Star culinary team, to children in the local communities every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Meals are distributed via a food truck they’ve dubbed Off the Menu. More than 100 meals were served in the first week, and the company plans to continue the program until the end of May.
Some music to soothe the socially distanced soul
By Ty Burr, Globe Staff
What’s an appropriate soundtrack for the end of the world? T.S. Eliot thought it would be a whimper. But maybe it should be Al Green instead.
As we head into month two of sheltering in place, some of you may be running out of things to keep you occupied. You’ve binged all the shows, done all the crosswords, finally made beef bourguignon. You’ve washed the cat. All right, maybe you haven’t washed the cat. One has to draw the line somewhere.
When not working, I’ve spent the last couple of days making a music playlist. I recommend this.
Dr. Fauci says he feels safe despite threats, is focusing on job
By Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, said Thursday he feels safe despite reports he’s received online threats and has had uncomfortable personal encounters with admirers that prompted the Trump administration to assign him a security detail.
Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force who appears almost daily on televised briefings and news shows, says there are things about his job that are “sometimes disturbing.”
Boston officials to residents: Please stop throwing masks and gloves on the ground
By Steve Annear, Globe Staff
Doctors and nurses on the front lines of the battle against the spread of the novel coronavirus have had issues finding enough protective gear to keep them safe as they tend to patients seeking treatment for COVID-19.
But crews from Boston’s Public Works Department have apparently had no problems locating such items — because they’re being discarded on the city’s streets, according to officials.
Brooklyn Rider has a new album about healing, for a world in urgent need
By David Weininger, Globe Correspondent
When the string quartet Brooklyn Rider conceived of the project they called “Healing Modes,” its members had no idea that a recording of the same name (released on March 27) would land in a world literally overrun by disease, and in direst need of healing and comfort.
It began as a way to explore Beethoven’s late String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132 — and in particular, its central slow movement, an extraordinary musical oasis written after the composer’s recovery from a painful bowel affliction. Beethoven named the movement “Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der Lydischen Tonart” (“Holy song of thanksgiving from a convalescent to the deity, in the Lydian mode”).
The Purell Diaries
By Beth Teitell, Globe Staff
For reasons unclear to me, I forgot to hoard Purell. By last week I was so desperate I was scheduling my days around rumors.
My descent started when my husband and I happened upon a friend in Coolidge Corner. He’s a chatty guy, but that night he seemed antsy, eager to be on his way. But where could he possibly need to go? No one has plans anymore. We’re living in excuse-proof times. Just try to get out of Zoom happy hour with people you don’t want to see in real life. What are you going to say? Sorry, but I need to bleach my socks drawer?
We were standing 6 feet apart (which I’ve now learned might not be distant enough) near Trader Joe’s when he lowered his voice. “I got a tip,” he whispered across the void. “The CVS is getting a shipment at 8.”
Russia’s Putin orders month of non-work to curb coronavirus
By Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press
MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin has ordered most Russians to stay off work until the end of the month to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Speaking in a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Putin said he was extending the non-working policy he ordered earlier for this week to remain in force throughout April.
He said there are exceptions for essential industries to keep operating, and grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open.
Putin said that it would be up to the regional authorities to decide which sectors should keep working in their areas.
Bitter business for maple syrup makers amid virus outbreak
By Lisa Rathke, Associated Press
MARSHFIELD, Vt. — The sap has been flowing for weeks in trees in maple country, but syrup sales may not be so swift, with restaurants and specialty food shops closed, sugaring events canceled and fans staying home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
In the largest maple-producing state, Vermont’s annual open house weekend, which draws thousands of visitors to producers’ sugar houses, was canceled last month, as were similar events in New Hampshire and Maine.
“For a lot of smaller producers that’s their big weekend, and some even claim that upward of 50% of their sales come from that,” said Cory Ayotte, a spokesman for the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association.
Kraft cheered for bringing in masks on Patriots team plane to fight coronavirus
By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff
Many people took to social media Thursday to praise New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft for using the team plane to fly more than 1 million N95 masks from China to the US for the fight against coronavirus.
“Kraft uses Patriots plane to get 1.2 million masks from China for health care workers #SmartNews thank you, Bob Kraft,” said sports commentator Peter Gammons via Twitter, adding that Kraft’s late wife Myra “is very proud.”
‘I am aware of getting sick 365 days a year.’ For these besties, time apart is something they can’t afford to spare
By Jeneé Osterheldt, Globe Columnist
Fiona Howard just wants to walk.
Using her forearm crutches, she hikes forward, her legs in custom braces and a Great Dane named Elvis by her side in case she needs his help. Howard is determined to walk the Weston trail.
Before making her way over a big rock, she looks back at me and casually says, “If I get the coronavirus, I will go to the ICU, and I will probably die.”
For the 21-year-old Howard, this is a fact of life. Born with an unspecified genetic disease, she battles complicated chronic illnesses including cardiac and digestive issues. She also has dystonia, a movement disorder that causes her muscles to involuntarily contract and twist.
6.65 million file jobless claims as job market collapses under weight of coronavirus pandemic
By Larry Edelman, Globe Staff
The coronavirus crisis decimated the once-vigorous US job market at a fearsome pace last week, as an expanding list of states imposed stay-at-home restrictions and ordered nonessential businesses to close.
US first-time unemployment claims surged by 3.34 million to a seasonally adjusted 6.65 million in the week ended March 28, the Labor Department said Thursday. That followed a revised increase of 3.3 million the previous week, even larger than originally reported.
In Massachusetts, filings rose 32,610 to 181,062 on an unadjusted basis, according to the Labor Department. A week earlier, an upwardly revised 148,452 claims were submitted.
Kraft family used Patriots team plane to shuttle protective masks from China to Boston, WSJ reports
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff
The sports world may be at a standstill from the coronavirus outbreak, but the New England Patriots haven’t been idle in their efforts to help combat the deadly virus.
The Kraft family deployed the New England Patriot team plane to China, where it was loaded with personal protective equipment to be used in the fight against coronavirus in Massachusetts, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal Thursday morning.
The plane is expected to return to Logan Intentional Airport Thursday where Patriots owner Robert Kraft will be joined by Governor Charlie Baker to announce the unusual effort to help medical personnel and first responders deal with a shortage of equipment that puts them at risk of contracting the virus, which has sickened nearly 8,000 people in the state and led to 122 deaths.
Boston Scientific cuts pay for 36,000 workers, citing a revenue drop because of coronavirus
By Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff
Boston Scientific said Thursday it is cutting the wages of many of its roughly 36,000 global employees by 20 percent for the next 90 days because the postponement of elective surgeries during the coronavirus epidemic has reduced revenue.
The Marlborough-based medical device maker also plans to reduce the salaries of its chief executive, Mike Mahoney, and those of its board of directors and executive committee because company officials believe the impact of COVID-19 will be worse in the second quarter.
Boston Scientific, which has almost 3,000 employees in Massachusetts, plans to reduce the salaries of many employees by having them go to a four-day work week.
Israel’s health minister has coronavirus, top officials to isolate
By Associated Press
The new coronavirus is forcing more top Israeli officials into isolation after the country’s health minister, who has had frequent contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tested positive, the Health Ministry said Thursday.