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Mass. needs to up its game on disclosing case data

Governor Charlie Baker updated the media on coronavirus cases in the state during a press conference at the State House on April 3.Nicolaus Czarnecki/Pool

Laura Krantz’s excellent article on the lack of transparency regarding disclosure of COVID-19 cases in senior facilities is revealing and disturbing (“Data on outbreaks among seniors tough to come by,” Page A1, April 2). We know the state is doing its best around so many coronavirus issues, but, inexplicably, it is failing us when it comes to transparent information about numbers of cases.

In addition to the lack of data around senior facilities, the state Department of Public Health, on bogus health privacy grounds, has told municipalities not to disclose cases by city and town. Many municipalities are wisely ignoring this ill-founded “recommendation.” Earlier, the secretary of health and human services told municipalities they could disclose. Who needs this confusion?


The state itself should be compiling and disclosing this case data by city and town daily. The state chooses only to release the number of cases by county, and not even on a per capita basis that would place the data in perspective. Residents have to hunt around the Web to locate case numbers for their own cities and towns and those of their loved ones. What sense does that make?

The state needs to up its game on case data transparency to better inform the public and local authorities. Secrecy is no friend during these trying times.

Barbara Anthony

Senior fellow, health care policy

Pioneer Institute


The writer is the former state undersecretary of consumer affairs and business regulation.