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What to expect from Gov. Raimondo’s COVID-19 press conference today

It’s a pivotal time in the coronavirus pandemic in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo announces tougher restrictions to combat the rise in coronavirus cases on Nov. 19, with state Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott behind her.
Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo announces tougher restrictions to combat the rise in coronavirus cases on Nov. 19, with state Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott behind her.Sandor Bodo/The Providence Journal

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Happy Wednesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I’m thankful for everyone who reads Rhode Map each day. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Programming note: There will be no Rhode Map tomorrow or Friday (blame the Turkey), and I’m taking a staycation next week. There will be a temporary-but-peaceful transition of power to Ed Fitzpatrick starting Monday, and I’ll be back on Dec. 7.


ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 51,424 confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, after adding 812 new cases. The overall daily test-positive rate was 7.2 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 19.5 percent. The state announced 16 more deaths, bringing the total to 1,325. There were 223 people in the hospital.

Governor Gina Raimondo’s press conference this afternoon will come at one of the more pivotal points of the pandemic, with COVID-19 cases rising exponentially, business owners worried that they’ll never recover from another shutdown, and the most social holiday of all set for tomorrow.

So what are the key issues she’ll need to address today? Here’s an overview.

The Thanksgiving message

Raimondo can’t stop talking about how disappointed she is that too many people held Halloween parties last month, and there’s every reason to believe that plenty of residents still intend to host Thanksgiving get-togethers (note: If your normal party includes 20 people and this year only has 10, you’re still putting your loved ones at risk). You can expect the governor to repeat that she isn’t even having her mom over this year, remind us that gatherings are limited to the households we live in, and warn that the hospitals can’t handle another surge in visits a few weeks from now.


The business message

Raimondo is promising to roll out a multimillion-dollar relief plan for bars, gyms, and other businesses that will be affected by the two-week pause that begins Nov. 30, but there is a fear in the small business community that previous relief efforts have sounded nice on television, but ended up being paperwork nightmares. Finding a way to quickly get money in the hands of business owners and their employees would be seen as an early Christmas miracle.

What if things get worse?

During her press conference last week, Raimondo suggested the next six weeks could be the worst point of the pandemic. There has been no sign that the spread of the virus is slowing and a vaccine won’t be available to the masses until 2021, so there’s a real chance that the two-week pause carries all the way until Christmas. She may not want to scare everyone before a holiday, but the governor is going to want that message in everyone’s heads as they prepare for dinner tomorrow.

The hopeful message

Raimondo has been at her best this year when she finds a way to thread the needle between alarming and reassuring. In many ways, the rising cases and, especially, hospitalizations speak for themselves. You’ll probably also hear her strike an optimistic tone and remind Rhode Islanders that a vaccine is on the way.



⚓ Globe Rhode Island’s Amanda Milkovits spent time talking to Providence activist-turned-politician Mary Kay Harris about the power of protest. She shares her advice for a new generation seeking social justice and police reform. Read more.

⚓ Rhode Islander and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn appears likely to be pardoned by President Trump before the president leaves office in January. Read more.

⚓ The Rhode Island Health Care Association is pushing for more COVID-19 testing of patients, doctors, nurses, and others in nursing homes. Read more.

⚓ It’s always nice to see Providence novelist Ann Hood quoted in the Globe – and this time, it’s about knitting. Read more.

⚓ My colleague Kara Baskin, whose parenting newsletter is essential reading, was interviewed on “Carpooling with Ben” by Ben DeCastro. Watch here.

⚓ Rhode Map readers have sent a round of Happy Birthday wishes to: Michael Baldwin (80), Alison Eichler, Elena Harris (13), Bil Herron (40), Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Benjamin Branchaud (29), Ray Rickman, Dante Iafrate (16), Jack Vanderbeck, Anne Sullivan (18), John A. Marshall (34), and Angela Romans.


Health I: Yes, it’s possible wear a mask, skip the party, do all the other right things, and still get COVID-19. That’s how community spread works. Read more.

Health II: The question everyone is asking: Who will get to be vaccinated first? Read more.

Economy: My colleague Larry Edelman writes that President-elect Joe Biden should move quickly to strike a deal with Senate Republicans on another COVID-19 relief package. Read more.


Sports: It’s clear that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick need each other, writes Ben Volin. Read more.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ Governor Raimondo’s weekly coronavirus press conference is at 1 p.m.

⚓ The Rhode Island Senate and housing advocates are collecting coats, hats, gloves, and other warm essentials through Dec. 4. You can learn more here.

⚓ The Rhode Island Small Business Coalition is holding a drive-in rally at 10:30 a.m. to call on elected officials to provide more financial support to companies that have been hit hard during the pandemic.

⚓ Do you ❤ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.