As a result of the COVID-19 surge across the country, many cities and states are opting to tighten restrictions in hopes of minimizing the spread of the highly transmissible virus responsible for the deaths of over 320,000 Americans. Massachusetts, where infections and hospitalizations are dramatically rising — currently having more than 327,374 COVID-19 cases, 11,759 deaths, and over 1,900 people hospitalized with the virus — has become the latest state to issue a new batch of restrictions. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
Tightened Restrictions Starting After Christmas
Gov. Charlie Baker announced that as of Dec. 26, the majority of businesses will have to reduce capacity to 25% for at least two weeks, and public and private gatherings will be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. This is in addition to the “stay at home” advisory, mask mandates, and curfews imposed in November.
“Together, the intent of these restrictions will be to pause activity and reduce mobility, so we can reduce the spread of the virus, without closing our schools or our businesses,” Baker said in a press conference, noting that the measures were being taken in order to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system.
Additionally, hospitals are being instructed to postpone or cancel non-essential, in-patient elective invasive procedures to provide more capacity for overwhelmed emergency rooms.
“We’re basically begging everyone to stay within their immediate household over the course of this holiday season,” Baker said, pointing out that “what we all choose to do as individuals will have as big an impact on this as anything that we can do as a commonwealth.”
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Other States Are in Trouble, and One Calls Itself “Ground Zero”
Massachusetts isn’t the only state feeling the winter wrath of COVID-19. “Tennessee is ground zero for a surge in sickness,” Gov. Bill Lee, whose wife recently tested positive for the virus, said on Sunday. He urged residents not to congregate indoors with those outside of their household over the holidays, after Thanksgiving gatherings led to a “record level of sickness.”
“We are in a war,” he declared, warning hospitals could soon be overwhelmed. “Tennessee cannot sustain a similar surge after Christmas or New Year’s.”
Hospitalizations and deaths are also soaring in California, with just 2.5 percent of the state’s overall intensive care capacity available. This comes weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued stay-at-home orders.
As for yourself, follow the public health fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.