♦ A top White House adviser starkly warned Trump administration officials in late January that the coronavirus crisis could cost the US trillions and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.
♦ There are 16,790 known cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts, the state reported Wednesday, up from 15,202 a day earlier. Deaths associated with the virus rose by 77, to 433.
♦ Governor Charlie Baker and First Lady Lauren Baker announced a new initiative on Monday, dubbed the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, to help people around the state whose lives have been disrupted by the pandemic.
♦ Experts expect that coronavirus hospitalizations in Massachusetts will peak between April 10 and April 20, Governor Baker said Thursday.
♦ Here’s a look at the non-essential business closure order, stay-at-home advisory, and other rules in place.
Coronavirus pandemic has set the number of air travelers back decades
By Associated Press
The number of Americans getting on airplanes has sunk to a level not seen in more than 60 years as people shelter in their homes to avoid catching or spreading the new coronavirus.
The Transportation Security Administration screened fewer than 100,000 people on Tuesday, a drop of 95% from a year ago.
Seventh inmate tests positive for COVID-19 at Billerica jail
By Jeremy C. Fox, Globe Correspondent
A seventh inmate at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction in Billerica has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Middlesex sheriff’s office said Wednesday.
The inmate was tested Tuesday and received the results Wednesday morning, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Littleton nursing home will cooperate with officials, executive vows
By Jeremy C. Fox, Globe Correspondent
A top executive overseeing a Littleton nursing home pledged Wednesday to be more transparent after the facility was criticized for failing to cooperate with state and local officials to address an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, according to the home’s Tennessee-based parent company.
Beecher Hunter, president of Life Care Centers of America, said he had called US Representative Lori Trahan, whose district includes Littleton, after receiving a letter from her and other officials about Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley on Tuesday. That letter expressed concerns about the facility, where five residents have died of coronavirus-related causes and at least 65 residents have tested positive.
Conn. teen arrested after ‘Zoom bombing’ high school classes
By Associated Press
A Connecticut teen accused of a cyber attack known as “Zoom bombing” during a number of online classes was charged Wednesday with computer crimes.
Officials were able to trace a series of similar interruptions to one teenager in Madison, the Hartford Courant reported.
Federal stocks of protective equipment nearly depleted
By Michael Biesecker, Associated Press
The Strategic National Stockpile is nearly out of the N95 respirators, surgical masks, face, shields, gowns and other medical supplies desperately needed to protect front-line medical workers treating coronavirus patients.
The Department of Health and Human Services told the Associated Press Wednesday that the federal stockpile was in the process of deploying all remaining personal protective equipment in its inventory. A small percentage will be kept in reserve to support federal response efforts, the department said.
Coronavirus invades Saudi inner sanctum
By Associated Press
More than six weeks after Saudi Arabia reported its first case, the coronavirus is striking terror into the heart of the kingdom’s royal family.
As many as 150 royals in the kingdom are now believed to have contracted the virus, including members of its lesser branches, according to a person close to the family.
Staffing issues still plague Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke despite National Guard presence and state assurances
By Hanna Krueger, Globe Staff
For a week, caregivers at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke battled the fast-moving contagion, unprotected and severely outmanned. But last Monday, when state officials learned of the deadly outbreak and took control of the elder care facility, help finally arrived.
Droves of National Guard soldiers unloaded boxes of face shields and surgical gowns and began to administer tests for the coronavirus that had swept through the state-run home, killing nearly a dozen veterans and infecting scores more.
CDC issues new guidance for essential workers during coronavirus
By Associated Press
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines for essential workers, such as those in the health care and food supply industries. The guidance is focused on when those workers can return to work after having been exposed to the new coronavirus.
Republicans pursue limits on voting by mail, despite the coronavirus
By Jim Rutenberg, Maggie Haberman, and Nick Corasaniti, New York Times
President Donald Trump and his Republican allies are launching an aggressive strategy to fight what many of the administration’s own health officials view as one of the most effective ways to make voting safer amid the deadly spread of COVID-19: the expanded use of mail-in ballots.
The scene Tuesday of Wisconsinites in masks and gloves gathering in long lines to vote, after Republicans sued to defeat extended mail-in ballot deadlines, did not deter the president and top officials in his party. Republican leaders said they were pushing ahead to fight state-level statutes that could expand absentee balloting in Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona and elsewhere.
Bucky Pizzarelli, a master jazz guitarist, dies at 94 of coronavirus
By Harrison Smith, Washington Post
Bucky Pizzarelli, one of the nation’s preeminent seven-string jazz guitarists, who began his career as a coveted sideman and studio musician before stepping out on his own and forming an acclaimed duo with one of his sons, died April 1 at his home in Saddle River, N.J. He was 94.
The cause was the coronavirus disease COVID-19, said his son John Pizzarelli, a guitarist and singer with whom Mr. Pizzarelli formed one of the rare father-son duos in jazz.
State releases sparse coronavirus race and ethnicity data, making virus’s impact hard to assess
Massachusetts for the first time Wednesday made public racial and ethnic information about the victims of the new coronavirus, but data was so incomplete it provided little insight into the pandemic’s impact on communities of color that have been hit hard in other states.
The data, released as Governor Charlie Baker’s administration faced increasing pressure to be more transparent about the victims of the outbreak, included racial and ethnic information for less than one-third of the 433 people who have died and the roughly 17,000 people who have tested positive. The limited statistics showed that Blacks and Latinos had disproportionately higher rates of infection, although the lack of data made it difficult to draw firm conclusions.
Smoking helps open gateway to coronavirus infection, study shows
By Corinne Gretle,r Bloomberg
Smoking may raise the risk of Covid-19 by elevating enzymes that allow the coronavirus to gain access into lung cells, according to a new study.
Smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may have elevated levels of an enzyme called ACE-2, which helps the virus enter cells in their lungs, where it replicates, a study published in the European Respiratory Journal Thursday showed.
Trip to Guam at center of top Navy official’s resignation cost taxpayers at least $243,000
By Dan Lamothe, Washington Post
Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly boarded one of his service's executive jets Monday to visit Guam - a trip that turned out to be costly for both him and U.S. taxpayers.
For Modly, the visit resulted in his resignation, after he created an uproar by insulting the former commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, who had raised concerns about how the Navy was handling a coronavirus outbreak on the warship.
Pandemic insurance package will allow Wimbledon to recoup $141 million, per report
By staff and wire reports
A pandemic insurance package worth a reported $141 million will allow Wimbledon to recoup at least some of the losses it’ll suffered because of the cancellation of the 2020 tournament because of the coronavirus.
According to Darren Rovell of The Action Network, Wimbledon reportedly paid $2 million a year for pandemic insurance for the last 17 years. As a result, because of the cancellation of this year’s event as a result of the Coronavirus, Wimbledon will receive $141 million.
Expansion of liquor licenses in Boston faces pushback from restaurant group
By Jon Chesto, Globe Staff
The coronavirus has temporarily shut down most of the restaurant industry here. The age-old debate over liquor licenses in Boston? Not even a pandemic can stop that, apparently.
A Boston City Council committee on Tuesday went ahead with a scheduled hearing over whether to issue new liquor licenses, with councilors and others chiming in via Zoom from their homes.
For those at the Constitution Marina, boat living during pandemic strengthens community ties
By Matt Berg, Globe Correspondent
Like most people across the country, Stephanie Muto is working from home, learning to share space with her boyfriend and cat, and coping with the pandemic as best as she can.
But unlike most, she’s living on a sailboat.
Trustees to reopen 76 parks and historic sites closed last month
By Jeremy C. Fox, Globe Correspondent
The Trustees of Reservations plans to reopen 76 historic, cultural, and agricultural sites across the region Thursday to offer residents more opportunities to spend time outdoors while working to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Boston-based organization said Wednesday.
The sites include the Hamlin Reservation in Ipswich, Lyman Reserve in Buzzards Bay, the Charles River Peninsula in Needham, and Dinosaur Footprints in Holyoke, according to the Trustees.
Feds eye loosening rules to allow some to return to work
By Zeke Miller, Deb Riechmann, and Mike Stobbe, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — In a first, small step toward reopening the country, the Trump administration could relax coronavirus guidelines to make it easier for Americans who have been exposed but have no symptoms to return to work, particularly those in essential jobs.
The proposed new guidelines are in the works even as the nation mourns some 13,000 deaths from the virus and grapples with a devastated economy and medical crises from coast to coast. Health experts continue to caution Americans to practice social distancing and to avoid returning to their normal activities. At the same time, though, they are planning for a time when the most serious threat from COVID-19 will be in the country’s rear-view mirror.
Allen Garfield, elite ’70s character actor, dies at 80
By Jake Coyle, Associated Press
NEW YORK — Allen Garfield, the veteran character actor who was a vital player in classic 1970s films like “The Conversation” and “Nashville,” has died. He was 80.
Mr. Garfield’s sister, Lois Goorwitz, said he died Tuesday in Los Angeles due to complications from COVID-19. Mr. Garfield had been a resident at the Motion Picture Television Fund Home, the industry retirement facility where several staffers and some residents have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Block evictions during the crisis, or just delay them? Lawmakers must decide
By Tim Logan, Globe Staff
At the beginning of the month, Monica Rey missed making April’s rent payment for her Jamaica Plain apartment. A graduate student and mother, Rey had taken a census job to help pay the bills. But that fell through amid the coronavirus crisis, and she hasn’t been able to find other work.
On Friday, Rey came home to a letter in the door from her landlord, saying she had 14 days to pay up, or face eviction. Since then the landlord has called and e-mailed several times. Rey’s not sure what to do.
Pop-up hospitals in Massachusetts set to open this week to handle influx of coronavirus patients
By Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, Globe Staff
WORCESTER — This city’s convention center typically draws vibrant crowds for trade shows and exhibitions, but seemingly overnight it now looks ready to handle a pandemic.
Row after row of hospital beds line the 50,000-square-foot floor. Cabinets along the perimeter hold critical drugs and medical supplies. A trailer of portable showers stands at one end of the room, a movable X-ray machine at another.
What if we always loved supermarket workers as much as this?
By Yvonne Abraham, Globe Columnist
Gratitude and rage are my constant companions these days.
Since this pandemic began highlighting both my own privilege and the deadly consequences of government neglect, the three of us have been going everywhere together.
Earlier this week, we visited the grocery store, where we were attended by workers who have recently joined the pantheon of American heroes.
James Taylor pays tribute to a ‘hero of mine,' John Prine
By Globe Staff
Singer James Taylor posted a statement mourning the late John Prine on Wednesday:
“I spent the past two years touring with Bonnie Raitt. She changed her set pretty much every night but, often as not, her half of our concert included John Prine’s beautiful song, ‘Angel From Montgomery.’ I know tonight that Bonnie is mourning the loss of one of our generation’s greatest singer/songwriters. John was taken from us by Covid19. For me, losing him makes this pandemic personal because John Prine was a hero of mine. ‘Christmas in Prison,’ ‘Dear Abby,’ Paradise,' ‘Hello in There.’"
The surreal experience of giving birth during the coronavirus crisis
By Dan McGowan, Globe Staff
Sondra Pacitti was sitting in a prenatal yoga class last month when she started to get the feeling that the coronavirus might change everything she had ever envisioned about giving birth to her first child, much less the twins she was expecting.
It was March 8, and Rhode Island already had three known cases of the highly contagious disease. Nearly every woman in the class was asking questions about what the virus might mean for their pregnancies.
SBA official blasts big banks over failure to quickly distribute loans
By Aaron Gregg and Renae Merle, Washington Post
Big banks that received taxpayer bailouts during the global financial crisis a decade ago are now too slow in helping small businesses seeking assistance through a $349 billion emergency lending program, a high-level Small Business Administration official said in a recorded teleconference obtained by The Washington Post.
Some banks “that had no problem taking billions of dollars of free money as bailout in 2008 are now the biggest banks that are resistant to helping small businesses,” SBA Nevada district director Joseph Amato said in Monday teleconference about the Paycheck Protection Program.
Recreational marijuana companies sue Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker over shutdown
By Dan Adams, Globe Staff
A group of marijuana businesses and consumers sued Governor Charlie Baker Wednesday, saying his decision to shut down recreational cannabis operations amid the coronavirus pandemic was an illegal overreach that will cost thousands of jobs — and endanger public health by forcing consumers into the illicit market.
The suit was filed in Suffolk Superior Court on behalf of five licensed marijuana operators and Stephen Mandile, an Army veteran and Uxbridge selectman. Mandile said he relies on cannabis to treat serious injuries he sustained in the Iraq War but fears losing his federal benefits if his name appears in a database of medical marijuana patients, since the drug remains illegal under US law.
Read Baker’s statement on new grocery store restrictions, coronavirus testing site expansion
By Globe Staff
Read more for a statement released Wednesday by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s office.
Newton parishes join virtually in prayer and solidarity
By Gwyneth Burns, Boston University journalist
Local churches have long been associated with deep community connection, serving as epicenters of activity in neighborhoods. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Newton Catholics are rising up in prayer and solidarity in this time of uncertainty.
Social distancing and self-quarantining have not stopped the Sacred Heart and St. Ignatius parish communities from coming together virtually to pray and to do their part to help those most in need.
Second US study for coronavirus vaccine uses skin-deep shots
By Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press
U.S. researchers have opened another safety test of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, this one using a skin-deep shot instead of the usual deeper jab.
The pinch should feel like a simple skin test, a researcher told the volunteer lying on an exam table in Kansas City, Missouri, on Wednesday.
Coronavirus could burn through Mass. unemployment insurance fund by summer
By Shirley Leung, Globe Columnist
Here’s one estimate, by the Pioneer Institute: in three months.
Amid pandemic, Walsh unveils $3.6 billion budget proposal
By Danny McDonald, Globe Staff
With the city staring down economic troubles brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Martin J. Walsh is proposing a $3.65 billion budget for the next fiscal year, calling for a 4.4 percent budgetary bump that will include increased funding for education and public health.
But with the city, state, and country in the midst of economic upheaval, some called Walsh’s plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 optimistic and said it may have to be pared down.
Mass. reports 1,588 new coronavirus cases, 77 new related deaths; Baker says state still on ‘upward slope’ of pandemic
Governor Charlie Baker said Wednesday that Massachusetts is still “on the upward slope" of the coronavirus pandemic and a period of “serious strain” on the health care system is still ahead.
But he also held out some hope that the steps that officials have taken to blunt the impact of the pandemic are working.
Baker’s comments came as the state reported that the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts had risen by 77 cases to 433, up from 356 the day before.
Watch live at 5:30 p.m.: White House officials give coronavirus briefing
By Globe Staff
White House officials are expected to give a coronavirus briefing at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Watch it live here.
US charges 2 with terror crimes over threats to spread coronavirus
By Michael Balsamo, Associated Press
The Justice Department charged two people with federal terrorism offenses on Wednesday for allegedly claiming they were intentionally trying to spread the coronavirus.
The charges, in cases in Texas and Florida, come about two weeks after Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen instructed federal prosecutors across the U.S. that they could charge people who threaten to spread the coronavirus under the terrorism statutes because the Justice Department considers it a “biological agent” under the law.
Attorney General Maura Healey launches investigation into coronavirus outbreak at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home
By Hanna Krueger, Globe Staff
Attorney General Maura Healey has launched an investigation into the coronavirus outbreak at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, a state-run elderly care facility where more than two dozen veterans have died since March 24.
“Our office is launching an investigation into Holyoke Soldiers’ Home to find out went wrong at this facility and determine if legal action is warranted,” Healey said in a statement. "My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones under these tragic circumstances.”
Boris Johnson’s condition improving in ICU as UK coronavirus deaths rise to record number
By Alex Morales, Olivia Konotey-Ahulu, and Joe Mayes, Bloomberg
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's condition is improving in the hospital, where he's been in the critical care unit for two nights, as a record number of daily deaths from Coronavirus were reported in the U.K..
“The latest from the hospital is that the prime minister remains in intensive care where his condition is improving,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said in a televised press conference on Wednesday. “He’s been sitting up and engaging positively with the clinical team.”
Black voters weighed history, health as they voted in Wisconsin
By Christina A. Cassidy and Gretchen Ehlke, Associated Press
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — After going to sleep angry and afraid to vote, Xavier Thomas woke up on Election Day in Wisconsin thinking about how hard Black people had to fight for the right to cast a ballot.
He didn’t want to be deterred despite the coronavirus pandemic and the government’s failure to get him an absentee ballot in time.
Dementia patients in Dedham compose song of hope during COVID-19 crisis
By Caroline Enos, Globe Correspondent
Residents of a memory care unit at a Dedham assisted living community have written a song of hope to help get through these dark times. Its title: “This Shall Pass.”
The residents have been diagnosed with different stages of dementia and live at Hebrew SeniorLife’s NewBridge on the Charles, a continuing care retirement community.
Trump rails against supposed dangers of mail-in voting as coronavirus spreads
By Joseph Marks, Washington Post
President Trump railed Tuesday against expanding voting by mail to keep US citizens safe during the coronavirus pandemic, calling the process ‘‘horrible,’’ ‘‘corrupt,’’ and prone to widespread fraud.
It’s a controversial marker for the president to set down when many states have had to delay their primary elections because of fears that in-person voting could spread the virus. And it puts him at odds with congressional Democrats pushing for billions in federal money to ensure no-excuse absentee voting for all Americans in November — as well as many Republican state officials in places like Georgia and West Virginia that are rushing to broaden mail-in voting during the pandemic.
Boston Pops cancels its 2020 spring season
By Grace Griffin, Globe Correspondent
For the second time in its 135-year history, Boston Pops has canceled an entire season of concerts. Originally planned for May 6-June 13, the spring 2020 season was set to celebrate conductor Keith Lockhart’s 25th anniversary with the orchestra.
Canceled concerts included a glitzy tribute to George Gershwin (Lockhart’s favorite American composer) and a concert version of the musical “Ragtime.” Also on the calendar was a feature presentation of “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back." Boston Pops will now mark Lockhart’s anniversary with its 2021 spring season. In the meanwhile, Lockhart said in a statement, he will remain at home in the Boston area with his wife and two children.
Dow jumps about 3.4 percent as investors are optimistic about coronavirus trajectory
By Stan Choe and Alex Veiga, Associated Press
The Dow closed up around 780 points, or 3.4 percent, on Wednesday as investors focused on the optimistic side of data about the coronavirus outbreak’s trajectory.
Direct deposits for coronavirus relief will begin next week, Steven Mnuchin says
By Lisa Mascaro and Jill Colvin, Associated Press
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is telling House Democrats that direct deposits to Americans will begin next week under the coronavirus aid package.
Mnuchin is also telling the lawmakers that $98 billion has been approved for small business retention under a program the Trump administration wants Congress to bolster with another $250 billion in a vote expected Thursday.
State moving forward with nursing home relocation, despite problems
By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff
State officials are pressing ahead with a plan to designate nursing homes across the state as treatment centers for recovering COVID-19 patients despite infection outbreaks at the first three homes that agreed to relocate residents to accommodate patients discharged from hospitals.
Recovering patients still needing oxygen and other support began arriving in Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Worcester on Monday even as residents who tested positive for the coronavirus remained on another floor in that facility, a state spokeswoman said.
Harvard study says pollution increases risk of death from coronavirus
By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff
A new study by researchers from the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that people who live in areas where there is more air pollution are more at risk from the coronavirus than those who breathe cleaner air.
The researchers looked at pollution from PM2.5, which is fine particulate matter in the air that is 2.5 microns or less in width, or about 30 times smaller than the width of a single hair.
Most NYC coronavirus cases came from Europe, genome researchers say
By Robert Langreth, Bloomberg
The explosion of Covid-19 cases in the New York City area resulted largely from infected patients who flew in from Europe, genome scientists say.
Researchers at NYU Langone Health said they’ve analyzed 75 samples from patients who were diagnosed with Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, at New York-area hospitals last month.
Ellen DeGeneres removes YouTube video in which she compares social distancing to ‘being in jail’
By Sonia Rao, Washington Post
After suspending production on her daytime talk show due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Ellen DeGeneres turned to YouTube earlier this week to kick off the “at-home edition” of her show. For the 62-year-old comedian, this translated to speaking in front of a camera while seated in her luxurious living room, outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows facing a lush yard.
More US Postal Service employees test positive for COVID-19; safety rules in effect
By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff
Increasing numbers of US Postal Service employees have been testing positive for COVID-19.
As of Wednesday morning, 427 out of approximately 630,000 postal workers across the country have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Steve Doherty, a spokesman for the postal service in Boston.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is delaying the June primary elections for Congress by two weeks because of the coronavirus
By Associated Press
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is delaying the June primary elections for Congress by two weeks because of the coronavirus.
US makes $490 million deal with GM for emergency ventilators
By Reed Albergotti and Faiz Siddiqui, Washington Post
General Motors has inked a deal to provide 30,000 ventilators to the U.S. government for $490 million, the Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday. The order is due to be completed by the end of August, months after the peak need for ventilators.
The agency said it expects GM to deliver more than 6,000 ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile of medical devices by June 1. The mechanical breathing devices are needed to treat a wave of coronavirus patients expected to overwhelm hospitals in the coming weeks. The cost per ventilator made by GM is about $17,000.
CDC report: males, Black residents may be disproportionately affected by coronavirus
By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff
Males and Black residents may be disproportionately affected by COVID-19, though more data is needed to draw any definitive conclusions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.
The information was contained in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Staying active important for kids stuck home during COVID-19 crisis
By Chris Larabee, Boston University journalist
With schools closed, everyone stuck inside, and routines disrupted, experts say staying active is important for the mental and physical wellbeing of children in the community.
Schools and businesses in Newton and throughout Massachusetts are closed until at least May 4 due to the spread of the coronavirus, and students have fewer opportunities for exercise through regular physical education, school sports, and fitness classes. But schools and community organizations have virtual programs for parents to help their children stay active during this time.
Red Sox minor league affiliates are about to feel the financial pinch
By Michael Silverman, Globe Staff
The financial bleeding is about to begin for the three Red Sox minor league affiliates in New England.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic put the sports world on hold, Thursday was supposed to be Opening Day for the Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I., with the Portland Sea Dogs beginning their own 70-game home slate a week from Thursday at Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine.
OSHA investigating Pennsylvania Amazon warehouse over coronavirus concerns
By Spencer Soper and Matt Day, Bloomberg
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating an Amazon.com Inc. warehouse near Hazleton, Pennsylvania, following complaints from workers that the company is not doing enough to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the facility, an agency spokeswoman said Wednesday.
At the facility, called AVP1, workers receive products from manufacturers, many of them located overseas, break those shipments down, and route them on to dozens of Amazon warehouses for storage and shipment to customers. Amazon workers around the country have staged protests and walkouts to highlight their concerns about working conditions, including an inability to maintain social distancing guidelines, a lack of protective gear and hand sanitizer and lack of time to clean their hands.
High-tech growing systems bring joy of gardening indoors
By Katherine Roth, Associated Press
Traditionally, growing your own herbs and veggies was reserved for those with the luxury of outdoor space and abundant light.
Now there are a number of new, high-tech indoor gardening systems that allow apartment dwellers with limited light, or those aching to gardening before the season starts, a chance to grow their own greens.
For many households sheltering in place, with limited access to perishable foods, the devices can also provide a source of fresh herbs and vegetables, as well as a chance to enjoy growing something.
Newton schools look to remote learning during coronavirus outbreak
By Kaitlyn Riggio, Boston University journalist
Newton’s public schools are working on plans to continue education remotely after a series of decisions from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker amid the coronavirus outbreak.
After Baker’s original announcement on March 16, when he ordered all Massachusetts schools to close from March 17 to April 6, Newton’s public schools entered a three-week interim period focusing on planning for a closure beyond April 6.
Even as coronavirus deaths mount, governments eye exit strategies
By Marina Villenueve and Lori Hinnant, Associated Press
Even as coronavirus deaths mount across Europe, New York and other hot spots, the US and other governments are slowly beginning to envision an exit strategy and contemplating a staggered and carefully calibrated relaxation of the restrictions designed to curb the scourge.
“To end the confinement, we’re not going to go from black to white; we’re going to go from black to gray,” top French epidemiologist Jean-François Delfraissy said in a radio interview.
More job cuts hit Boston’s tech sector as coronavirus effects spread
By Janelle Nanos, Globe Staff
The economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic is now reaching deeper into Boston’s booming tech industry, with two of the region’s most promising startups announcing layoffs and furloughs of employees in recent days.
Toast, the maker of a popular software used by the restaurant industry, said late Tuesday that it was laying off over 1,000 employees, reducing its workforce by about half through layoffs and furloughs. The company said its restaurant revenues have declined by 80 percent since government officials have begun shutting down operations nationwide, and “our success is tightly coupled with the success of the restaurant industry."
Newton-Needham Regional Chamber works with local businesses during coronavirus shutdown
By Haley Chi-Sing, Boston University journalist
Businesses and entrepreneurs around Newton and Needham have truly taken the brunt of the Covid-19 nationwide shutdown. Governor Charlie Baker issued a “stay-at-home” advisory in early March, forcing all “non-essential businesses” to close their doors for an indeterminate period of time.
Already one of the most active chambers in the state, the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber has continued to keep its doors open online, providing local businesses with the help and support they need during this shutdown period.
New Jersey will move primary from June 2 to July 7 due to coronavirus outbreak
By Associated Press
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says the state’s primary will move from June 2 to July 7 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Airlines to cut summer flights up to 90% with rebound far off
By Justin Bachman and Mary Schlangenstein, Bloomberg
US airlines are starting to look past the coronavirus peak, anticipating a world where travelers remain leery about returning to the skies and flights are drastically reduced in the normally robust summer travel season.
The bleak picture is compounding an already dire financial situation for the airlines, which are burning through cash and talking to the Treasury Department about grants. Newly revised federal rules will let the companies cut some routes by as much as 90% through September and eliminate others altogether to avoid flying nearly empty planes.
Maine reports 2 deaths, 18 additional cases
By Matt Berg, Globe Correspondent
For the second day in a row, the Maine Center for Disease Control reported two coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the state’s total death toll to 14.
The state also reported 18 more confirmed cases of coronavirus, with Maine’s total case count rising to 537, according to the Maine CDC.
Burton snowboard company to donate 500,000 face masks sourced from China across the Northeast
By Eddie Pells, Associated Press
The Burton snowboard company is donating 500,000 respirator masks to hospitals across the Northeast, harnessing the company's worldwide footprint to help put a dent in the country's lagging stockpile of personal protective equipment for the coronavirus pandemic.
Donna Burton Carpenter said her company’s largest binding manufacturer, Fudakin in China, directed her to a nearby factory that was making FDA-approved KN95 respirator masks. The price of masks were increasing almost by the hour as competing bidders sought to increase their supplies.
Because of COVID-19, Instagram circa 2012 is back. Let me explain.
By Diti Kohli, Globe Correspondent
I was in full quarantine mode a few weeks ago — sweatpants on, anxiety heightened, spicy chili on the stove — when I received a strange notification. A friend had tagged me in her Instagram story, a place where users can upload posts that disappear in 24 hours.
“Draw an orange,” it said.
Northeastern students have left town, but those who lived in private dorm must still pay rent
By Deirdre Fernandes, Globe Staff
Northeastern University moved to online education last month amid the coronavirus pandemic and told its students to return home, promising them a refund on room and board costs. But students living in the university’s first privately constructed residence hall are discovering that unlike those who live on campus, they are likely to be on the hook for rent through August.
Students living in LightView Apartments, a private residential complex built on Northeastern land across from campus to house the university’s undergraduates, say they are caught in a financial bind.
Newton Schools Foundation grants up to $85,500 for Chromebooks
By John Hilliard, Globe Staff
The Newton Schools Foundation will grant the city’s public schools up to $85,500 to cover the cost of 300 Chromebook computers for students who need online access while classrooms remain closed during the coronavirus outbreak, the foundation said in a statement.
The grant comes in addition to about $23,000 in previous grants that the foundation approved in early March to fund new and promising initiatives, professional development, and programs to close achievement and opportunity gaps, according to the statement.
Mass. school districts seize April vacation for online learning — no trips to Disney World this year though
By James Vaznis, Globe Staff
Often marked by trips to Disney World or tours of college campuses, the April school vacation is falling victim to the coronavirus pandemic as students remain trapped in their homes and districts ramp up remote learning.
A growing number of districts, including Newton, Needham, and Burlington, are canceling most of the April break in order to keep momentum going with online learning, which in many cases began in earnest this week. They also want students to maintain connections with their teachers and classmates in an organized fashion, especially as an expected surge in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks could induce anxiety and despair.
President Trump has lost an estimated $1 billion because of the coronavirus shutdowns, according to Forbes
By Christina Prignano, Globe Staff
President Trump, whose businesses have been hit by coronavirus-related shutdowns, has lost an estimated $1 billion in recent weeks, according to Forbes magazine, which released its annual ranking of the richest people in the world on Tuesday.
As the coronavirus spreads across the US, many of Trump’s resort properties have either closed or are operating with a skeleton staff as bookings plummet, according to the New York Times. The paper reported this week that the Trump Organization is in discussions with its creditors about delaying some loan payments.
Grocery stores lay out measures to keep shoppers safe in wake of new state guidelines and death of worker
By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff
One day after state officials released updated safety guidelines for grocery stores amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leading supermarket chains on Wednesday laid out a number of measures they say they’re taking to protect customers and staff.
Tuesday’s updated guidelines from the state Department of Public Health came three days after 59-year-old Vitalina Williams, who worked at a Market Basket in Salem and at a Lynn Walmart, succumbed to the virus.
In a statement Wednesday, Walmart said Williams “was adored by her Walmart family and will be greatly missed. Our hearts go out to her family.” Market Basket said previously that the “entire Market Basket community is deeply saddened” by Williams’s death and offering “support to her family and coworkers during this difficult time.”
During the coronavirus crisis, arts programs face the challenge of online learning
By Eileen O’Grady, Globe Correspondent
On a recent Monday morning, dance instructor Lindsey Leduc cleared as much furniture as she could from her Watertown dining room, balanced her iPad on a nearby ottoman, and prepared to teach a jazz course to 23 Boston College students over Zoom.
She connected her iPhone to a Bluetooth speaker to provide the music, and arranged for her fiancé to take their 1-year-old daughter — who was continually grasping for the iPad — out for a walk.
Leduc, 38, had low expectations for the first meeting, hoping that at least a few students would show up for their first online class since the college went remote on March 19. But to her surprise, all 23 students called in, many of them from their bedrooms or living rooms, coffee tables pushed aside and ready to dance.
Solidarity and celebration: Church bells to ring at noon on Easter Sunday
By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff
Listen for the bells on Sunday at noon.
The Archdiocese of Boston said Wednesday that its churches will join in unison in ringing their bells on Easter Sunday at 12 noon, in a gesture of solidarity and celebration. Other denominations are also planning to join in, the archdiocese said in a statement.
The archdiocese also asked those parishes that can participate to stream their bell-ringing live on on their digital platforms, using the hashtag #AnEasterPeople.
Hospitals brace for a surge of coronavirus patients, but how accurate are the projections?
By David Abel, Globe Staff
At some point over the next two weeks, hospitals across Massachusetts are expected to confront a significant surge in the number of coronavirus patients, putting their capacity under enormous strain and potentially claiming thousands of lives.
The grim projections about the coming wave of the disease, however, vary significantly. Some of that uncertainty is due to limited testing across the state, and the unknown extent of the population that has been infected. There’s also the question of how effective social distancing has been in curbing the virus’s spread.
New challenges for farmers, farmers’ markets, and delivery services grappling with surge in demand
By Alison Arnett, Globe correspondent
Spring planting has barely begun in Massachusetts with only faint signs of green to show the season’s change, and it’s still weeks from the usual opening dates for Massachusetts farmers’ markets. But farmers, delivery services, farmers’ market administrators, and officials are grappling with the challenges of getting farm products to customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with those challenges — and orders to stay at home, shuttered restaurants, and much more home cooking — are surges in demand for home delivery of local food, which many deem safer and of better quality. At times, the demand is straining the resources of small farms and businesses. And because Governor Charlie Baker has deemed farmers’ markets essential businesses, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has issued protocols for remaining winter markets and upcoming spring markets that market managers are hurrying to implement.
Arlington to hold socially distant memorial parade for Air Force nurse without kin
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff
In a show of respect for an Air Force veteran who died without kin and in accordance with the social distancing requirements of life during coronavirus, the town of Arlington Wednesday will hold a memorial parade for resident Mary T. Foley.
Foley was 93 years old when she passed last Saturday and saw service overseas in the US Air Force for a decade, according to her online obituary and to town officials. She had no immediate relatives and because funerals - including formal military burials for veterans - are currently banned, town officials decided to hold a parade in her honor.
Somerville cancels Fourth of July fireworks; all city-sponsored public events through June
By Caroline Enos, Globe Correspondent
Somerville has canceled its Fourth of July fireworks show and all public events sponsored by the city through June to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced in a statement Tuesday.
“Having to forego some of our favorite activities like PorchFest, early-summer SomerStreets festivals, private gatherings, and the fireworks is not something any of us are happy about, but this is a vital step necessary to save lives,” Curtatone said in the statement. “This is about preventing deaths and slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Congress headed toward showdown over coronavirus aid
By JILL COLVIN, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Congressional Democratic leaders proposed Wednesday adding hundreds of billions of dollars for health care, state and local governments, and food stamps to $250 billion in fresh emergency aid President Donald Trump wants to help small businesses weather the coronavirus epidemic.
Trump requested an additional $250 billion for a just-launched small businesses payroll program and is looking to secure congressional passage this week. For that he will need Democratic support.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer outlined their own priorities in a Wednesday statement.
With ventilators running out, doctors say the machines are overused for Covid-19
Even as hospitals and governors raise the alarm about a shortage of ventilators, some critical care physicians are questioning the widespread use of the breathing machines for Covid-19 patients, saying that large numbers of patients could instead be treated with less intensive respiratory support.
If the iconoclasts are right, putting coronavirus patients on ventilators could be of little benefit to many and even harmful to some.
What’s driving this reassessment is a baffling observation about Covid-19: Many patients have blood oxygen levels so low they should be dead. But they’re not gasping for air, their hearts aren’t racing, and their brains show no signs of blinking off from lack of oxygen.
Inside a makeshift hospital that will house hundreds of R.I. coronavirus patients
By Dan McGowan, Globe Staff
NORTH KINGSTOWN – The first thing you notice about the old Lowe’s on Davisville Road in Quonset is how clean it is for a building that has been used only intermittently since the home improvement store closed in 2011.
If this were a different moment, the vacant facility would be perfect for a recreation center. With 22-foot ceilings and 146,000 square feet of wide open space, a dozen indoor basketball courts could easily be built and there would still be room left over on the perfectly smooth gray concrete floor for a roller skating rink.
Then you see the beds, and you realize nothing fun is happening here. Because this is where the patients will go.
After 9/11, we gave up privacy for security. Will we make the same trade-off after Covid-19?
By CASEY ROSS
In a span of weeks, the novel coronavirus has turned the nation’s roiling health privacy debate on its head. Concerns about what Google and Facebook might be doing with patients’ sensitive health information have receded, and instead, Americans are being asked to allow surveillance of their daily movements and contacts, and even their temperature and other physiological changes.
By tapping into people’s phones and medical records, researchers and public health authorities are hoping to more swiftly identify and isolate potentially infected patients and corral a pandemic that is outrunning them despite unprecedented restrictions on daily life.
Masks reveal the changing face of Rhode Island
By Edward Fitzpatrick, Globe Staff
PROVIDENCE -- They are made of snazzy scarves, old T-shirts, and (hopefully) laundered socks.
Some are handmade, while others are clearly store-bought. Some are fancy, while others are simply plain.
But whatever the material or design, cloth face masks are the latest sign of how the coronavirus epidemic is changing the face of Rhode Island.
WHO leader warns of danger of easing lockdowns
The head of the World Health Organization’s Europe office says a trend of decline in the rate of increase in new coronavirus cases does not mean it’s time to relax measures aimed to stop its spread.
Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, also said some countries “are experiencing a rapid increase in cases or a fresh surge,” and called for continued vigilance. He noted measures taken in many countries to shut schools and businesses.
“We still have a long way to go in the marathon and the progress we have made so far in fighting the virus is extremely fragile,” he said. “To think we are coming close to an endpoint would be a dangerous thing to do. The virus leaves no room for error or complacency.”
Tokyo Olympic flame taken off display; next stop unclear
By Stephen Wade, Associated Press
The Tokyo Olympic flame has been taken off public display in Japan. And it’s not clear when it will reappear again or where — or under what conditions.
The flame arrived in Japan from Greece on March 26. After the Tokyo Olympics and the torch relay were postponed until next year, the flame was put on display in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima. It was to remain on display through the end of April.
It was removed after several days when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday issued a state of emergency in order to combat the coronavirus, which includes limiting large crowds.
Boris Johnson spends second night in ICU with virus
By Associated Press
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spent a second night in intensive care unit as his condition remained stable while he fought the new coronavirus.
Health Minister Edward Argar told the BBC on Wednesday that Johnson is receiving oxygen but is still not on a ventilator — a suggestion that at least his condition is not getting worse.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has temporarily taken over many of the prime minister’s duties to lead the country’s response to the pandemic as Johnson receives care. Britain has no official post of deputy prime minister.
Pandemic deals blow to plastic bag bans, plastic reduction
By Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press
Just weeks ago, cities and even states across the U.S. were busy banning straws, limiting takeout containers and mandating that shoppers bring reusable bags or pay a small fee as the movement to eliminate single-use plastics took hold in mainstream America.
What a difference a pandemic makes.
In a matter of days, hard-won bans to reduce the use of plastics — and particularly plastic shopping sacks — across the U.S. have come under fire amid worries about the virus clinging to reusable bags, cups and straws.
Feds eye looser back-to-work guidance after virus exposure
By Zeke Miller, Associated Press
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering changing its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for those who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus to return to work if they are asymptomatic.
The public health agency, in conjunction with the White House coronavirus task force, is considering an announcement as soon as Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday.
Six inmates at Billerica jail test positive for coronavirus
By Jeremy C. Fox, Globe Correspondent
Four inmates at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction in Billerica tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing to six the total number of inmates known to have the virus, Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian said Tuesday night.
And 13 employees of the sheriff’s office received notice they had tested positive, bringing the number of infections among staff to 21, Koutoujian said in a statement. Those workers are off duty until medically cleared to return to work.
The four inmates were tested Monday after showing symptoms of the virus and were isolated in the facility’s Health Services Unit, Koutoujian said. They received positive results on Tuesday.
Judge orders release of 8 ICE detainees in Bristol County
By Jeremy C. Fox, Globe Correspondent
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the release of eight immigrants held by Bristol Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson in response to a lawsuit that plaintiffs’ attorneys call the first coronavirus class action case against US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a court filing and a statement from the attorneys.
Lawyers for Civil Rights sued in late March for the release of 147 immigrants held at the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center and the Bristol County House of Correction, both in North Dartmouth, according to the organization.
District Judge William G. Young is considering the release of 10 detainees per day, according to court documents.
Chinese community collects masks for Boston area healthcare workers
The Boston Globe
More than 400 members of Boston’s Chinese community are working together to collect masks for healthcare workers fighting on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grassroots effort began when Shuang Li heard a friend complaining about not having enough masks at the hospital where they work , according to a statement released by the group of volunteers.
Li, along with Dan Mu, organized volunteers to collect masks for healthcare workers in the Boston area.
Celebrated singer-songwriter John Prine has died at 73
John Prine, the ingenious singer-songwriter who explored the heartbreaks, indignities and absurdities of everyday life in “Angel from Montgomery,” “Sam Stone,” “Hello in There” and scores of other indelible tunes, died Tuesday at the age of 73.
His family announced his death from complications from the coronavirus.
Winner of a lifetime achievement Grammy earlier this year, Prine was a virtuoso of the soul, if not the body. He sang his conversational lyrics in a voice roughened by a hard-luck life, particularly after throat cancer left him with a disfigured jaw.
Trump ousts pandemic spending watchdog known for independence
By Charlie Savage, New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Trump moved Tuesday to oust the leader of a new panel of watchdogs charged with overseeing how his administration spends trillions of taxpayer dollars in coronavirus pandemic relief, in the latest step in an abruptly unfolding White House power play over semi-independent inspectors general across the government.
The official, Glenn A. Fine, has been the acting inspector general for the Defense Department since before Trump took office.
US coronavirus death toll accelerates past 10,000
By Lazaro Gamio and Karen Yourish, New York Times
The United States on Monday crossed the threshold of 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus. The first 5,000 deaths came in just over a month’s time, and in fewer than five days, the second 5,000 followed.
The densely populated New York metro area has been hit the hardest so far, in terms of a total count. And the area accounts for more than 40% of total U.S. deaths from the virus, which had infected more than 365,000 U.S. residents as of Monday night.
China ends Wuhan lockdown, but normal life is a distant dream
By Raymond Zhong and Vivian Wang, New York Times
China on Wednesday ended its lockdown of Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus first emerged and a potent symbol in a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of people, shaken the global economy, and thrown daily life into upheaval across the planet.
But the city that has reopened after more than 10 weeks is a profoundly damaged one, a place whose recovery will be watched worldwide for lessons on how populations move past pain and calamity of such staggering magnitude.
As Passover begins, a new meaning to an ancient story
By Gal Tziperman Lotan, Globe Staff
How is this night different from any other night?
It’s the ancient Passover question, but Rabbi Mendy Uminetr of the Chabad Center at Chestnut Hill said he won’t be able to keep a straight face if he hears anyone around his seder table ask it this year.
California ventilators en route to New York, New Jersey, Illinois
By Kathleen Ronayne, Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California National Guard flew ventilators Tuesday to New York, New Jersey and Illinois as part of an effort to help other states manage a crush of coronavirus hospitalizations, the governor's office said.
“We couldn’t be more proud as a state to be sending those ventilators back East," Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
Trump allies put unproven coronavirus drug to work in Texas
By Paul J. Weber, Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — When a coronavirus outbreak hit a Texas nursing home, Dr. Robin Armstrong reached for an uproven treatment: the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.
First, he needed to find a supply. But at a moment when President Donald Trump is heavily promoting the drug, Armstrong is no regular physician. He is a Republican National Committee member and GOP activist in Houston, and after calling Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Texas chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, Armstrong soon had enough doses to begin treating 27 infected residents of The Resort at Texas City.
Check out the local winners in the Q1 stock-market bloodbath
By Jon Chesto, Globe Staff
Few companies emerged unscathed from the stock market’s epic first-quarter bloodbath. The roller-coaster ride began in late February as the coronavirus pandemic reached well beyond China. By the time the quarter ended, the S&P 500 was down 20 percent. One of its worst showings, ever.
But wait. What is that? A handful of companies bucking the trend?
Online grocery services struggle to meet spike in demand
By Kelvin Chan, Associated Press
LONDON — A pandemic forcing everyone to stay home could be the perfect moment for online grocery services. In practice, they’ve been struggling to keep up with a surge in orders, highlighting their limited ability to respond to an unprecedented onslaught of demand.
After panic buying left store shelves stripped of staples like pasta, canned goods and toilet paper, many shoppers quickly found online grocery delivery slots almost impossible to come by, too.
On the brink of closing, West Newton Cinema gets a boost
By Jordan Erb, Globe Correspondent
When the West Newton Cinema’s future was thrown into uncertainty by the coronavirus pandemic, owner David Bramante’s daughter, Bridget Bali, took to the Internet to ask those who know and love the theater for help.
The outpouring of support was more than the family could have imagined
EzCater, fast-rising Boston tech company, lays off 400
EzCater, a heavily funded Boston technology firm that helps companies order food for corporate events, said Tuesday that it has laid off 400 staff members as it contends with a huge decline in business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is not enough sugar on the planet to sugarcoat this: we’re a company that feeds meetings, and meetings are not happening much right now,” the company said in a statement.
Boston under curfew: scenes from an empty city
By Zoe Greenberg, Globe Staff
On Lansdowne Street, the bulbs were still stadium bright, illuminating “Fenway Park: Home of the Boston Red Sox" for a barren block. There was supposed to be a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, but you could have parked anywhere and lay in the middle of the street and not seen a soul, a neon green “Game on!” sign from a nearby sports bar lighting up your solitary body.
Downtown, scaffolding glimmered under the nearly full moon, and office lights twinkled on 20th and 30th floors, but nobody moved between the buildings. In the Seaport, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and the typically bustling Westin Boston Waterfront hotel were deserted.
Coronavirus may be hitting hard in Black and Latino communities
The state’s two largest community health centers in East Boston and Lawrence have encountered a disproportionately large surge of coronavirus cases among Spanish speakers.
Massachusetts General Hospital has four times more Latinos among its COVID-19 patients than usual. Boston has what appear to be high concentrations of infection in neighborhoods home to large Black, Latino, and immigrant communities in Hyde Park, Mattapan, and East Boston.
New research links air pollution to higher coronavirus death rates
By Lisa Friedman, New York Times
WASHINGTON — Coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country, according to a new nationwide study that offers the first clear link between long-term exposure to pollution and COVID-19 death rates.
In an analysis of 3,080 US counties, researchers at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that higher levels of the tiny, dangerous particles in air known as PM 2.5 were associated with higher death rates from the disease.