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Baker: The state will “have to consider a number of options” if new cases continue to rise



Gov. Charlie Baker flagged several events including a "large lifeguard party" in Falmouth, an "unauthorized football camp" in South Weymouth, and a "90-person prom party" in Cohasset. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

By Katie Lannan
State House News Service

Large gatherings without masks and social distancing are a “recipe for disaster,” Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday as he identified a number of events being investigated by public health officials.

Baker said state officials are closely monitoring a recent uptick in the rates of positive COVID-19 tests. The seven-day weighted average of positive test results, which had hovered around 1.7 percent for several days earlier this month, on Tuesday hit 2 percent, a level last seen in June.

“It’s a slow creep, so what we’re saying is we want the slow creep to stop and start trending back down,” Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said.

Baker said Massachusetts residents have driven down transmission rates and hospitalizations from their April peaks by diligently adhering to public health guidance, and that the state “should not and cannot let our guard down until there’s a treatment or a vaccine.”

Health care experts say transmission of COVID-19 is more likely in large groups where people do not cover their faces or social distance, Baker said. Such behavior, the governor said, “dramatically” increases the likelihood of infecting other people with a virus that can “take off like wildfire.”

Baker flagged several events he said the Department of Public Health is investigating as “cluster incidents,” including a “large lifeguard party” in Falmouth, house parties in Chatham and Wrentham, an “unauthorized football camp” in South Weymouth, a high school graduation party in Chelmsford, and a party on a boat in Boston Harbor. He said officials learned yesterday “about a 90-person prom party that was held in Cohasset,” which is now being investigated as a possible cluster.

“The situations I just recapped are a recipe for disaster and need to stop if we want to continue to reopen and get back to a new normal in everybody’s lives here in Massachusetts,” Baker said.

Baker said the state will “have to consider a number of options” if new cases continue to rise and there are other changes in public health data, including reducing the maximum indoor gathering size back from its current limit of 25 people.

Baker also addressed the issue of parties and other get-togethers during an event in Andover on Thursday, where he first raised the possibility of lowering the gathering limit.

On Friday, he said wearing masks, socially distancing and washing hands frequently are all key to limiting transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus. He said he recognized the importance of socializing after months spent at home, but urged people not to let their guard down.

“I think from our point of view, if we continue to see rises in positive test rates, we’re going to have to make some changes,” Baker said.

Sudders said there are still ways people can celebrate milestones like graduations responsibly, by taking precautions like wearing masks, not sharing food or drinks, and not serving food in a buffet.

“It really is the message to adults as well as to young folks that you can have a good summer, you can celebrate those milestones, but we really need to do it responsibly in order to continue to drive down the numbers in Massachusetts for us to continue to reopen everything,” she said.

To underscore the message around face coverings, Baker announced a new #MaskUpMA campaign. The campaign’s early videos feature Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and the Red Sox mascot, Wally the Green Monster.



  1. DSP

    August 2, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    Americans are too petty and “woke” to follow simple guidelines. Then when the guidelines turn into rules, they lose their simpleton minds.

  2. Mikey Morty

    August 3, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    American hating jerk.

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