Gov. Charlie Baker says his administration is intentionally taking a “go-slow” approach to reopening the Massachusetts economy.
Some local lawmakers are still worried he may be going too fast.
In a letter Friday, seven state representatives called on Baker to extend his stay-at-home advisory and order requiring nonessential businesses to close their workplaces until “at least” June 1, citing concerns that the coronavirus outbreak is not adequately contained.
With a total of 83,421 COVID-19 cases and 5,592 reported deaths due to the disease as of Friday afternoon, Massachusetts is one of the hardest-hit states in the country. Baker’s shutdown orders have been in place since March 24.
“While we are cognizant of the hardships people continue to endure, we think it would be premature to allow the Stay-At-Home Advisory to expire on Monday, May 18,” read the letter Friday, led by Rep. Mike Connolly, a Cambridge Democrat.
This morning, I joined with House colleagues to call on @MassGovernor to extend the #StayAtHome advisory and to do more to prioritize the needs of those most impacted by #COVID19. Because of the urgent nature of the situation, we didn't have time to do a broad call for sign-ons. pic.twitter.com/debqzIBBpg
— Mike Connolly (@MikeConnollyMA) May 15, 2020
Baker’s reopening advisory board is expected to release a report on its four-phase approach to gradually relaxing restrictions Monday, which is the same day that the stay-at-home advisory and nonessential business closure order are scheduled to expire. And while the Republican governor announced new mandatory safety standards for businesses earlier this week, it remains unclear what — or when — businesses and activities the report will allow to resume.
In a technical fix, Baker did announce Friday that the business closure order and stay-at-home advisory — which were set to expire at midnight Sunday — will be extended 24 hours, through the end of Monday.
But the governor gave no indication of what his plans were beyond that. During a press conference Friday, he said officials would have “a lot more to say” about the stay-at-home advisory Monday.
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“That has to be dealt with in the context of the rest of the report,” Baker said.
The letter was co-signed Northampton Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, Somerville Rep. Christine Barber, Brockton Rep. Michelle DuBois, Boston Rep. Nika Elugardo, Framingham Rep. Jack Lewis, and Framingham Rep. Maria Robinson — all of whom were part of a group that called on Baker to issue a stay-at-home order in mid-March during the early days of the outbreak. Connolly suggested that they were hardly the only lawmakers who supported the new letter.
“Because of the urgent nature of the situation, we didn’t have time to do a broad call for sign-ons,” he tweeted Friday
While they recognized that Massachusetts has seen positive downward trends when it comes to the rate of positive COVID-19 tests and hospitalizations, the letter echoed some scientists’ fears that relaxing rules too soon could result in a worse, second wave of infections and deaths.
The seven Democrats also noted that the 12 percent, seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests in Massachusetts remained slightly shy of a the 10-to-1 ratio of negative tests to positive tests that the World Health Organization says is a benchmark for sufficient testing. Federal guidelines say that states should not begin reopening until they have seen a “two-week downward trajectory of documented cases or positives as a percent of total tests,” which Massachusetts appears to have met, despite day-to-day variations in the numbers.
Baker has repeatedly stressed that his administration will “follow the data” before it reopens, with an emphasis on hospitalizations and the percent of positive test as the most meaningful trends to follow. Asked about that on Friday, Baker said that the state has had “very positive tracking.”
“For some of those measures, it’s been for almost a month,” he said.
Still, the governor stressed that Massachusetts is already taking a cautious approach. Other New England states — which have seen fewer COVID-19 cases — have already announced plans to begin easing business restrictions and lifting stay-at-home orders.
“Part of the reason we’ve talked about a phased reopening and go-slow reopening is because we want to be conservative and careful and cautious with respect to the way we do this,” Baker said Friday, adding that the state’s plans to ramp up testing and contact tracing were key parts of the equation.
“We’ve said from the beginning that you need to respect the virus,” he added.
Despite the overall positive trends, Connolly’s letter highlighted the fact that some cities and towns are still struggling with disproportionately high rates of COVID-19.
“The improvements we’ve seen in our state have not been felt in all communities — some of the most vulnerable communities in our state continue to face alarming circumstances that demand more of our attention,” they wrote
The letter added that reopening advisory board “largely consists of corporate executives and CEOs” and lacks representation for frontline workers and lower-income groups that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including people who are homeless, incarcerated, or do not have legal status.
The 17-member board is composed of three public health officials, three municipal officials, and 11 members of the business community, including six CEOs. The advisory group has previously been criticized for its composition, though Baker says it is soliciting input from a wide variety of stakeholders. During the press conference Friday, he said the board had met with between 50 and 70 different groups.
The letter also criticized the current plan, which Baker has refused to preview ahead of the May 18 report, for being “confusing to many of our constituents and businesses” that could result in “poor public health choices.” The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce has also repeatedly called on Baker to provide more details so that businesses can prepare.
The governor has remained unswayed. During a press conference Wednesday, he didn’t want the proverbial “starting gun” to go off ahead of the report Monday.
“I want this to be done in a deliberate way, and you don’t do something in a deliberate way if you start leaking it out and issuing it out before you actually release the report,” he said.
While nearly half of Massachusetts residents have seen their incomes diminished in the wake of the pandemic, more than 85 percent said they support Baker’s decision to extend his business closure order and stay-at-home advisory until May 18, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe/WGBH News poll last week. The same decision also attracted a vocal group of protesters outside the State House.
Baker said Friday that he thought the board’s reopening report was “a tremendously well-developed and well-thought out piece of work.”
He also said he expected criticism.
“I absolutely know that people who think we’re going too fast are going to say we’re going too fast and people who think we’re going to slow are going to say we’re going too slow,” he said. “I mean, that’s kind of where we are here, folks — and that’s where we’re going to be for a while.”
This week's midweek update on a per town/city basis - Melrose is listed with 216 cases (cumulatively counted since March) at a rate per 100K of ~747, an increase of only 10 cases over last week):
And MelWake's census has declined from 33 to 21 in the last week, about 40% of its sustained peak during the surge:
When you woke up this morning, if you're like me, you thought about your kids right off the bat. Where are they, are they safe, are they feeling loved, and what can I do to help them.
For my kids:
-They're at home.I shower them with love and kisses everyday
But what can I do to help them? As a parent, what can I do to ensure my child's success and safety in Melrose? What do they NEED from me?
Please don't just be rubbers stampers . On this City Budget for The City Melrose.We are going through the Coronavirus a lot of people are at home not going to work.That is the state of Massachusetts and many other states. Coronavirus affecting all life.May be not you Politicians.
We are getting together on a zoom meeting to discuss the plan for a second Override this November. The pandemic has created needs for the City that require additional revenue. Respond to this thread with your email and I will get you the invite.
"Needs", I'm sorry, but that's not even a funny joke!
Maybe the bigger question is recession going to us city and all us her in melrose and the businesses?
Zip it, Ted. I hear enough of you at the darn public comment periods. Your shtick is tiresome.
Counselor are you part of the ministration.You"re in for a rude awakening.All this is about understanding what;S GOING ON ...... NO LONGER PARTICIPATING.
MAY 28, 2020.....Long-shuttered stores may unlocking their doors. And manufacturers are starting to hire employees back to the assembly lines. But the economic recovery might not be a quick one, a state fiscal watchdog group warned Thursday.
The hopes for a sharp and immediate rebound from the COVID-19 shutdown in Massachusetts are no longer realistic, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which is now predicting a long and slow climb that will strain state resources. State revenues may not fully recover until 2025, MTF said.
The impacts of the economic downturn could be mitigated by tapping into the state’s $3.5 billion reserve fund or if Congress sent more relief funding to states like Massachusetts, but even with stimulus the group said past recessions have proven that the state could be in for a multi-year period of austerity.
“To state the implications straightforwardly: the Commonwealth will have limited budgetary flexibility for the next several years as tax revenues slowly rebound, particularly if the demand for safety net services resulting from an ailing economy and an aging population drive up expenditures,” MTF said in the report.
The paper published Thursday was a follow-up to the foundation’s report earlier this month downgrading its revenue estimates for the fiscal year that begins July 1 to reflect an anticipated $6 billion drop in projected tax collections. The foundation’s newly pessimistic outlook on the length of the recovery is based on what it said was the severity of the decline and the widespread and fundamental changes the pandemic has wrought on pillars of the state’s economy, like higher education and tourism.
When is yard waste going to be on a regular schedule.Not pick up today June 3 2020?
Coming soon phone numbers City Council of Melrose and their name address and the ward that they repressent.This should be a good time to share this information.Because of the city budget Melrose.That way they can answer your questions.That way they are not invisible.
The recycling and yard waste calendar is no secret. It's up at the city website as it's been for years. Here's the 2020 version:
So, while April was omitted due to COVID-related problems, there are two weeks of pickup in each of May and June (the first of which is next week, not this week), one in each of July, August and September, and then autumn schedule.
Councilor John Tramontozzi has been asking every department if cuts could be had in their proposed budgets — including the City Council. (Meeting screenshot)
MELROSE, MA — An effort by one City Councilor and backed by another to cut Councilor salaries ahead of fiscal uncertainty didn't muster any more support than that.
Council salaries will remain $5,000 a year. The proposed cut — first at $500 each, then at $687.68 — came from Councilor John Tramontozzi, who has been asking every department head where even the most modest trims can be made during the weeks of FY21 budget deliberations.
"After all, we're all in this together," Tramontozzi told his fellow Councilors while making his case.
Tramontozzi's initial proposal was to cut $7,564.52 from the City Council's salary and wages line in the budget, with $2,064.52 coming from Clerk of Committee Kristen Foote's salary and $5,500 coming from the 11 Councilors — $500 apiece.
Councilor Leila Migliorelli said Foote is a full-time employee of the city, whereas Councilors are not, and they should absorb her cut in any such motion. Tramontozzi agreed and proposed to cut each Councilor's salary by $687.68.
Councilor Robb Stewart pointed out the Councilors' $5,000 salary is already a minimum for them to receive benefits, such as eventual health and retirement. So in addition to the decrease in salary, Tramontozzi's motion would cause the Councilors to forfeit at least some benefit eligibility.
Councilor Jeff McNaught had the most vocal opposition to the proposal, saying the raises in the City Council's department have been low enough. He recommended a raise for Foote.
"We're not obligated to cut what Councilor Tramontozzi is suggesting," McNaught said. "So taking it out of our own salaries is to appease Councilor Tramontozzi, and I say that with all due respect."
69 Cranmore Lane
99 Essex Street, #10
10 Melrose Street
25 Dartmouth Road
John N. Tramontozzi
794 Franklin Street
94 Clifford Street
92 Trenton Street
71 Mooreland Road
35 Brazil Street
419 Lebanon Street
19 Linwood Avenue
Coronavirus Live Updates: With Cases Rising in 21 States, Washington Turns to Other Business
Health experts are worried about a second wave of infections while President Trump and lawmakers are looking the other way. Many developing countries are reopening even as cases rise.
The Ford Foundation plans to announce on Thursday that it will borrow $1 billion so that it can sharply increase the amount of money it distributes amid the downturn.
Infections were rising in 21 states on Wednesday, but Washington had other business.
Cases surpass 2 million in the U.S., with new hot spots emerging.
The Federal Reserve says unemployment will remain high as it leaves interest rates near zero.
Lockdowns are ending in many developing countries, even as cases rise.
Fauci says protests could cause an increase in cases.
Faced with huge needs, leading foundations will borrow in order to increase their philanthropy.
‘I’ve never seen it like this’: The pandemic has transformed the experience of riding Boston subway.The MBTA BUS.
MASSACHUSETTS — The state Department of Public Health updated town-by-town data on the new coronavirus Wednesday.
It was the third week the department included expanded town-by-town testing data, including the total number of persons tested, the testing rate, and the positive test rate in addition to the case and infection rate for each of the state's 351 municipalities. Prior to last week, the department had only released the number of cases and the infection rate.
Related Story: Massachusetts Easing Lockdown Despite High Positive Test Rate
The data, which is updated weekly, includes confirmed coronavirus for all 351 Massachusetts towns and cities, except for communities with populations under 50,000 and fewer than five cases. The department said the stipulation was designed to protect the privacy of patients in those towns and cities.
The statewide infection rate is 1437.65 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. The map does not include 275 of the state's 100,158 cases because state health officials could not determine which town the patient lived in.
Statewide, there were 267 new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday, as well as 46 reported deaths. Since the first reported death on March 20, there have been 7,454 coronavirus-related deaths in Massachusetts.
The state conducted 10,034 tests Wednesday, bringing the total number of completed tests to 668,092. The state also conducted 896 antibody tests, bringing the total to 53,040.
Fellow Citizens, Ask me any question...we have a lot of time alone so I want to keep the lines of communication open with the People. I know this is a great source of information for many of Melrose, so ask and you shall be answered! - Mayor So what happens if we dont receive all the state.Aid that we thought we going to get.Will that prevent layoffs for the city and the school department.Will we have a lot of layoffs?
The police department has had zero civil rights violations, the school department has had two I believe that were settled by the city, it actually got so bad at some point that the city hired an attorney that dealt only with school department litigation at probably a $100,000+ salary. Now we are talking about defunding the department with zero civil rights violations after giving the department that actually has civil rights violations a five million dollar over ride package (racist much melrose?) Would you like to explain this Mr. Mayor?
John Tramontozzi.A “Perfect storm” of economic uncertainty threatens the Budget of the City of Melrose.
Recently the Massachusetts Municipal Association announced that “Communities are at the Center of Three Waves:”
1. The murder of George Floyd has catapulted this nation into a defining moment, with sweepings calls to address the systemic racism that persists in our society and economy;
2. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our daily lives and businesses, and this deadly threat to public health is draining resources, straining families, and reshaping government services and operations;
3. The Massachusetts economy is battered by the Covid-19 emergency, and state and local governments face historically deep fiscal challenges and uncertainty that could last for years.
The citizens of our city have faced tremendous personal and financial burdens. These challenges have been met with a spirit of volunteerism, community investment, and activism. We have reached into our hearts and pockets to support one another. We have more challenges ahead as we address the Health economic security and social well-being of our diverse population of citizens
Many of our neighboring cities and towns have begun to face their budgetary challenges with deep cuts and, in some cases, immediate layoffs of municipal employees. The State is dealing with its own financial difficulties with deficits predicted to be in the area of 6-8 billion dollars, which means a certain drastic drop in reimbursed funds to the cities and towns.
I believe the impact of these uncharted times amid the coronavirus crisis and social adversity and reform are financially uncalculated. Members of the City Council and the Administration carry a responsibility not only to anticipate these financial burdens to our citizens but meet these challenges proactively. The city has, and will, be faced with unprecedented costs for which we cannot rely on State or Federal Government funding to support.
If we continue the current course taken in our deliberations on the FY 2021 budget, of refusing to stay the automatic raises (cost of living increases) we will be coming back to our citizens who are struggling through a pandemic with our hands out, inexplicably having funded an increase in salary for every employee of every department at City Hall. In the past several weeks I have consistently advocated that we must stay these raises, It is a misnomer to refer to this common-sense practice of level city funding at the Fiscal Year 2020 rates (where possible) as “cuts”. I am not proposing “cuts” in non-union employee salaries, I am proposing that there be no FY2021 raises. This is a reasonable, sensible, and fiscally responsible approach as we continue to serve an economically and socially diverse population.
It is our job, though at times uncomfortable, to face the fiscal realities on behalf of all of our citizens, our most vulnerable being the hardest hit in times such as these. I am joined by veteran City Councilor MacMaster in efforts to mitigate the inevitable impact on our citizens and city employees but have yet to gain support from the rest of the City Council,
I would encourage all residents and taxpayers of this City to reach out to the City Council to express your opinions on how we should address the FY2021 Budget.
Taxpayers need unobstructed view .“Visual Budget” figures to the actual budgets.
China’s capital canceled flights and shut schools as a new coronavirus outbreak raised fears of a broader contagion. The city’s experience points to what other countries including the United States face as they reopen their economies.
What a surprise!!!! I wonder how long it will be before bozo admits it.
The Melrose police will be getting new firearms despite a late request to reallocate money to fund implicit bias training. (Mike Carraggi/Patch)
MELROSE, MA — The city got its first real taste of what the "defunding the police" conversation might look like on a local level.
A fired-up City Council voted Thursday night to deny Mayor Paul Brodeur's request to reallocate $26,000 earmarked for the replacement of 14-year-old police firearms in favor of funding citywide implicit bias training.
The vote was 8-3 in favor of appropriating $195,714.85 in free cash to the police, which included money for the firearms. Councilors Jen Grigoraitis, Leila Migliorelli and Maya Jamaleddine voted against it.
The money had been included in the appropriation only 10 days prior at the request of Brodeur's office to replace the force's .40-caliber firearms with 9mm firearms.
Police Chief Mike Lyle told the City Council the new firearms are much more accurate and, between cheaper ammunition and fewer repairs, would save money over the long term.
The money would have gone to the Department of Human Resources to contract an outside vendor that would "provide the city with training, policy review or recruitment," according to a memo Brodeur sent earlier in the day to city councilors and obtained by Patch.
In the memo, the mayor cited the death of George Floyd and national conversation of defunding the police — which is largely a movement to reallocate police funds to other services to fundamentally change policing.
"Investing in police firearms right now while the City is in the midst of determining how to respond meaningfully to the ongoing systemic barriers Black people and other people of color face would be misguided," the memo reads. "This is not and must not be interpreted as a criticism of our police officers."
To which Councilor Jeff McNaught asked: "How else should we take it?"
>>>Defunding The Police: What It Might Look Like In MA
Brodeur told Patch after the vote that he saw silver linings in defeat: An important conversation has been started, and he saw an appetite among councilors for a real financial investment in solving the issue.
"I was trying to find an opportunity to address a very serious situation regarding racism and an expressed need by everyone that I heard from in the community that implicit bias training needs to be a priority," Brodeur said. "And that's absolutely correct."
Councilors questioned the timing of the request. Councilor Shawn MacMaster said Floyd had died a week before the funds were initially allocated to the firearm replacement. Thursday's request came 10 days later.
"The mayor's memo that was sent to us today does not adequately explain what changed between June 1 and today," MacMaster said.
Brodeur said the free cash conversation is always evolving, and it was not a straight line from buying the guns to putting the purchase off.
MacMaster, who said he supports implicit bias training, was unhappy with where the money was coming from.
"Does anyone really believe that the administration can't find $26,000 anywhere else within the $950,000 of free cash appropriations before us this evening?" he asked.
Brodeur said the data indicated there is a need for new guns, but not an urgent enough one that it couldn't wait a year. The department's previous firearm upgrade replaced 15-year-old weapons.
"If folks choose to believe that it was aimed at the police — probably by choice of words — they're wrong," Brodeur said.
The mayor stressed it was his decision to push for the reallocation, not the chief's. The administration will now try to find money elsewhere for the training.
"The urgency of getting the ball rolling, of making sure that we have some resources, to put a plan in action, once we are thoughtful about what we really need, what should a program really look like," Brodeur said.
Migliorelli said she regrets not having pushed for allocating the funds when Lyle recently presented the department's budget to the City Council. Such training was listed under future considerations, but recent events having changed things, she said.
Migliorelli noted the City Council doesn't get to decide where the money comes from, but the need for bias training was too great to pass up on what the mayor offered. The will of her constituents, she said, was for the training.
"I've made that perfectly clear that we need a greater investment," Migliorelli said. "This was the proposal that was put in front of me."
Councilor Jamaleddine also said the Council shares "the utmost respect and appreciation for the police department."
"The mayor cited the death of George Floyd and national conversation of defunding the police — which is largely a movement to reallocate police funds to other services to fundamentally change policing."
What kind of gun was used in the murder of Mr. Floyd? Oh, wait - no gun was used. The posturing and pandering by the Mayor leaves a really sour taste.
Thx to the residents who let me know that the Ell Pond bridge near the DCR pool needs repairs. Melrose DPW has taped it off and will fix it next week. The nearby turtle seems unconcerned!This is on facebook good photos.
Melrose Tension Has Familiar Stench To It
Notebook: Melrose is dealing with new crises, but one still lingers. Saturday was the year anniversary of the Brazil Street sewage disaster.
By Mike Carraggi, Patch StaffVerified Patch Staff Badge
Jun 21, 2020 11:23 pm ET
Updated Jun 22, 2020 12:28 pm ET
Saturday was the one-year anniversary of the Brazil Street sewage disaster.
Saturday was the one-year anniversary of the Brazil Street sewage disaster. (Mike Carraggi/Patch)
MELROSE, MA — It's the weekend. So let's shake the reporter's notebook and see what comes out.
A somber anniversary
Direct criticisms from the City Council to the mayor. Bickering councilors tossing accusations at one another. Irate residents demanding accountability from those they elected.
It's not hard to find some comparisons between the current discussion on re-routing police funding for bias training and the 2019 Brazil Street catastrophe.
Substantively, of course, the two couldn't be more different. But seeing such a bitterly divided City Hall drums up memories from the infamous sewage spew, of which Saturday marked the one-year anniversary.
What began as unimaginable foulness exploding into four homes right off Washington Street turned into a public relations nightmare Melrose was never able to wake from. The city came under a firestorm of criticism for being reactive, having half-measured, tone-deaf responses and poor communication.
Much like now, it was a perfect storm of circumstances and timing. But the friction among and ire toward city officials was in many ways worse.
Public opinion during Brazil Street appeared to be uniformly against the city — unlike the divisiveness of today — and it never got better during the lengthy, messy fallout. Television news cameras and apoplectic residents filled the City Hall on more than one occasion.
Now, most of the discourse is digital and contained within city limits.
Mayor Paul Brodeur, who like other mayoral candidates was critical of the way the previous administration responded to the situation, is contending with a pandemic and national reckoning on race and police brutality. But the impact of last year's crisis still lingers.
Of the four homes affected, only two house the same occupants it did the morning of June 20, 2019, Brazil Street resident and Ward 5 Councilor Shawn MacMaster said when asked by Patch. One of the homes remains empty. A monumental investment in the city's ancient sewage infrastructure is as vital as ever.
The city has moved on to new crises. But there is still some cleaning up to do on Brazil Street.
City Councilors are only a quarter of the way through their terms, but already gaps in communication, misunderstandings and outright disagreements have caused fissures among even those friendly with each other — not to mention between many of themselves and the mayor.
While it has been stunning to see how direct some of the barbs have been, the guess here is cooler heads will eventually prevail and working relationships be mended. Or at least, they better.
Brodeur didn't leave Beacon Hill for one term as mayor, and there's not going to be another nine new councilors after the next election. The legislative and executive branches of the city government have to work together to get things done over the long term.
Brodeur is not going to take things personally. If and when a compromise on this free cash situation is found, both sides will move on to the next thing. That's how this works.
The more lasting impact may be on reputations, which isn't lost on anyone involved. In a relatively small community, being branded anti-cop or racist is especially painful. The binary reaction may be unfair, but it's the world we live in right now.
The sticking point won't be the bias training funding; It'll be the police weapons upgrade. Which side will give in on that? There are still some bridges to cross.
Our prediction is both sides, still smarting over the reaction from a messy showing last week, extend some olive branches before the next Council meeting ends.
What we have here is: A failure to communicate?
A developing criticism toward Brodeur's administration is poor communication.
Brodeur has been far more digitally savvy than his predecessors with frequent Twitter updates, text messages and an almost nightly YouTube update (though don't sleep on Mayor Gail Infurna's popular blog updates!) But there's a difference between communicating your message and engaging in communication.
Patch has heard from a good many people — city officials (including Brodeur's supporters,) business owners, residents — who over the course of months have expressed frustration at the administration's response time, if a response comes at all.
Brodeur campaigned on communication and transparency. In a way, he's delivered. But while the administration is proficient issuing press releases and Facebook announcements, it opens itself to unnecessary criticism by providing last-second, late or no information.
This and that
Related to all the above: It's going to be interesting to see how an effort on getting more information about the city's Emergency Fund plays out. The order is being put forth by Councilors Shawn MacMaster and Jeff McNaught, who offered some of the most biting criticism of the administration last week. Part of the order asks for details on spending for the three months after the coronavirus really took hold on the city. One related story from this week is the city putting in for nearly a half-million dollars in COVID-19 spending reimbursements ... Cripes, can someone start a GoFundMe for a digital recorder for these city meetings? Two times in a month important deliberations were cut short — and yes, it's the right decision, but still a bit silly to consider ... It's still impressive to think the city handed out five masks to every household in Melrose. Health Director Ruth Clay, who took a beating during the aforementioned Brazil Street fiasco, should get credit for being at the forefront of the coronavirus response for Melrose and Wakefield ... It's heartening to finally see progress at the old Coffee, Tea & Me building and the soon-to-be Cafe Nero. But a little farther down the street, the Caruso's situation remains a downright embarrassment for Melrose and everyone involved with that building. The graffiti on it now isn't exactly the local street art many were hoping for ... Sad to see Gabriella's go — they may have sneakily had the best grab-and-go slices in town — but wait until you try Tenóch ... Nom-nom's of the week: The peach cobbler from Buckalew's, graham central station ice cream from Kennedy's, fried clam bellies from Liberty Bell and more muffins from Jitters. (Do we need to mention our daily Dunkin'?) And can we sneak in the maple dijon chicken wrap from Cibo, just over the line in Wakefield?
As of Tue, Jun 23, 2020, 6:39 PM EDT
1.6%Since last week
2.6%Since last week
*Note: Some locations do not currently provide all data.
What You Need to Know
Fauci: 'When, Not If' Vaccine Is Available
Trump Says He Told Officials To Slow Testing
See the Trend
See how the coronavirus is trending across time in your county.
As of Tue, Jun 23, 2020, 6:39 PM EDT
*Note: Some locations do not currently provide all data.
Location Confirmed Cases Cases per 1,000 people Deaths
Worldwide 9,013,095 1.17 470,205
United States of America 2,299,714 6.95 121,512
Brazil 1,085,038 5.1 50,617
Russia 599,705 4.11 8,359
India 440,215 0.32 14,011
United Kingdom 305,293 4.5 42,647
Peru 254,936 7.73 8,045
Chile 246,963 12.92 4,502
Spain 246,504 5.27 28,324
Italy 238,720 3.95 34,657
Iran 207,525 2.47 9,742
Germany 190,862 2.28 8,895
Turkey 188,897 2.24 4,974
Pakistan 185,034 0.84 3,695
Mexico 175,202 1.36 20,781
Saudi Arabia 161,005 4.62 1,307
France 154,892 2.37 29,591
Bangladesh 115,786 0.7 1,502
South Africa 101,590 1.71 1,991
Canada 101,337 2.68 8,430
Qatar 88,403 30.68 99
People's Republic of China 85,070 0.06 4,646
Colombia 68,652 1.35 2,237
Belgium 60,550 5.22 9,696
Belarus 59,023 6.25 351
Egypt 56,809 0.56 2,278
Sweden 56,043 5.55 5,053
Ecuador 50,640 2.87 4,223
Netherlands 49,658 2.9 6,090
Indonesia 46,845 0.17 2,500
United Arab Emirates 45,303 4.58 303
Argentina 42,785 0.95 1,016
Singapore 42,313 7.23 26
Kuwait 40,291 9.43 330
Portugal 39,392 3.86 1,534
Ukraine 38,074 0.87 1,035
Iraq 32,676 0.81 1,167
Poland 32,227 0.85 1,359
Switzerland 31,217 3.61 1,680
Oman 31,076 6.09 137
Philippines 30,682 0.28 1,177
Afghanistan 29,481 0.76 618
Dominican Republic 27,370 2.52 669
Panama 26,030 6.03 501
Ireland 25,383 5.14 1,717
Bolivia 24,388 2.09 773
Romania 24,291 1.26 1,523
Bahrain 22,407 13.17 65
Armenia 21,006 7.09 372
Nigeria 20,919 0.1 525
Israel 20,813 2.4 306
Kazakhstan 18,231 0.97 127
Japan 17,968 0.14 955
Austria 17,320 1.92 690
Moldova 14,363 3.56 484
Ghana 14,154 0.46 85
Azerbaijan 13,207 1.3 161
Guatemala 13,145 0.73 531
Serbia 12,990 1.49 262
Honduras 12,825 1.29 363
Denmark 12,527 2.16 602
South Korea 12,484 0.24 281
Algeria 11,920 0.27 852
Cameroon 11,892 0.45 303
Czech Republic 10,561 0.99 336
Morocco 10,172 0.28 214
Nepal 9,561 0.33 23
Norway 8,745 1.61 248
Sudan 8,698 0.2 533
Malaysia 8,587 0.27 121
Ivory Coast 7,677 0.29 56
Australia 7,474 0.29 102
Finland 7,144 1.29 327
Democratic Republic of the Congo 7,011 0.08 171
Puerto Rico 6,564 2.29 149
Uzbekistan 6,500 0.19 19
Senegal 5,970 0.36 86
Tajikistan 5,513 0.58 52
Haiti 5,211 0.46 88
North Macedonia 5,196 2.49 247
Guinea 4,998 0.38 27
El Salvador 4,808 0.74 107
Kenya 4,797 0.09 125
Gabon 4,739 2.13 39
Ethiopia 4,663 0.04 75
Djibouti 4,599 4.65 48
Luxembourg 4,121 6.58 110
Hungary 4,107 0.43 573
Bulgaria 3,984 0.57 207
Venezuela 3,918 0.14 33
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,524 1.07 170
Kyrgyzstan 3,519 0.54 41
Greece 3,287 0.32 190
Thailand 3,156 0.05 58
Mauritania 2,984 0.64 111
Central African Republic 2,963 0.61 30
Somalia 2,812 0.18 90
French Guiana 2,458 8.23 8
Mayotte 2,434 8.92 32
Croatia 2,317 0.56 107
Cuba 2,315 0.2 85
Maldives 2,217 4.1 8
Costa Rica 2,213 0.43 12
Albania 2,047 0.71 45
Nicaragua 2,014 0.3 64
Estonia 1,981 1.49 69
Mali 1,961 0.1 111
Sri Lanka 1,951 0.09 11
South Sudan 1,892 0.17 34
Iceland 1,823 5.34 10
Lithuania 1,801 0.66 76
Madagascar 1,640 0.06 15
Lebanon 1,603 0.23 32
Slovakia 1,588 0.29 28
Guinea-Bissau 1,556 0.79 19
Slovenia 1,521 0.73 109
Zambia 1,430 0.08 11
Paraguay 1,392 0.2 13
Sierra Leone 1,340 0.17 55
New Zealand 1,165 0.24 22
Tunisia 1,159 0.1 50
Latvia 1,111 0.59 30
Niger 1,046 0.04 67
Equatorial Guinea 1,043 0.74 12
Jordan 1,042 0.1 9
Cyprus 988 0.82 19
Yemen 971 0.03 258
Cape Verde 944 1.7 8
Georgia 911 0.23 14
Burkina Faso 903 0.04 53
Uruguay 876 0.25 25
Chad 858 0.05 74
Andorra 855 11.07 52
Uganda 823 0.02 --*
Benin 807 0.07 13
Rwanda 787 0.06 2
Republic of the Congo 779 0.14 25
Malawi 745 0.04 11
Mozambique 737 0.02 5
San Marino 713 21.01 42
Malta 665 1.51 9
Jamaica 659 0.22 10
Liberia 650 0.13 34
Swaziland 643 0.55 6
Libya 571 0.08 10
Togo 569 0.07 13
Zimbabwe 512 0.03 6
Tanzania 509 0.01 21
Réunion 507 0.57 1
São Tomé and Príncipe 398 1.82 10
Montenegro 375 0.6 9
Vietnam 349 0 --*
Mauritius 340 0.27 10
Isle of Man 336 3.95 24
Jersey 318 1.83 31
Suriname 318 0.54 8
Myanmar 291 0.01 6
Guernsey 252 1.45 13
Comoros 247 0.28 5
Martinique 236 0.63 14
Syria 219 0.01 7
Guam 216 1.28 5
Mongolia 213 0.06 --*
Cayman Islands 195 2.97 1
Faroe Islands 187 3.83 --*
Guyana 184 0.23 12
Angola 183 0.01 9
Gibraltar 176 5.22 --*
Guadeloupe 174 0.43 14
Bermuda 146 2.34 9
Burundi 144 0.01 1
Eritrea 143 0.04 --*
Brunei 141 0.32 3
Cambodia 129 0.01 --*
Trinidad and Tobago 123 0.09 8
The Bahamas 104 0.26 11
Aruba 101 0.95 3
Monaco 99 2.52 1
Barbados 97 0.34 7
Botswana 89 0.04 1
Liechtenstein 83 2.18 1
Sint Maarten 77 1.8 15
United States Virgin Islands 76 0.73 6
Bhutan 69 0.09 --*
Namibia 63 0.02 --*
French Polynesia 60 0.21 --*
Saint Martin 42 1.09 3
The Gambia 41 0.02 2
Northern Mariana Islands 30 0.52 2
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 29 0.26 --*
Antigua and Barbuda 26 0.27 3
East Timor 24 0.02 --*
Grenada 23 0.2 --*
Curaçao 23 0.14 1
Belize 22 0.06 2
New Caledonia 21 0.07 --*
Saint Lucia 19 0.1 --*
Laos 19 0 --*
Dominica 18 0.25 --*
Fiji 18 0.02 --*
Saint Kitts and Nevis 15 0.28 --*
Turks and Caicos Islands 14 0.36 1
Greenland 13 0.23 --*
Falkland Islands 13 3.73 --*
Lesotho 12 0.01 --*
Seychelles 11 0.11 --*
Montserrat 11 2.2 1
Papua New Guinea 9 0 --*
British Virgin Islands 8 0.26 1
Bonaire 7 0.27 --*
Saint-Barthélemy 6 0.61 --*
Anguilla 3 0.2 --*
Saint Pierre and Miquelon 1 0.17 --*
Source: World Health Organization
*Note: Some locations do not currently provide all data.
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"Today, Texas will report an all-time high in the number of cases of people testing positive" for the coronavirus, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday, adding that for the first time, his state would surpass 5,000 new cases in a single day.
Hours later, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported 5,489 new cases.
Abbott initially revealed the daunting new record during an interview with TV station KBTX in which he urged people to take the deadly disease seriously, telling them to wear a mask in public, stay home when possible and take other precautions.
"The hospitalization rate is at an all-time high," he said. "The coronavirus is serious. It's spreading in Brazos County, across the entire state of Texas."
Texas is seeing a sharp rise in cases; it was just days ago that the state crossed the 4,000-case mark for the first time in its daily tally.
New cases have hit the Houston area so hard that the Texas Children's Hospital is now admitting adult patients. The move comes despite the fact that Houston is home to the massive Texas Medical Center — deemed the largest medical center in the world.
"Texas Children's is committed to providing additional capacity through ICU and acute care beds across our hospital campuses to take on both pediatric and adult patients," the hospital said in a statement to NPR.
The adult patients include people have COVID-19 and other cases. Those diagnosed with the coronavirus are being cared for in an expanded special isolation unit, according to Texas Children's Hospital.
Texas has steadily boosted its capacity to test for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but experts said that's not enough to explain the flood of new cases.
"Probably the greater factor that's pushing our numbers up is that the positivity rate is now gone from around 3% to around 9% — that's a threefold increase," said Dr. David Persse, public health authority for the Houston Health Department, according to Houston Public Media.
Texas is facing "a steep terrifying rise" in COVID-19 hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions at the Texas Medical Center, said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, in a tweet about the current situation.
"We now face a public health crisis," Hotez added.
The dramatic new numbers do not represent a second wave in Texas, which was among the first states to start the reopening process. The state health department's graph of daily new cases shows a steady rise since the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold in March. The curve began to arc even higher earlier this month, continuing with Tuesday's spike.
The number of new coronavirus cases has risen briskly in Texas during June, sharpening an overall rise since cases crossed the 1,000-patient mark in March. The state now has 120,370 cases.
Texas Department of State Health Services/Screenshot by NPR
Abbott has urged people to observe social and physical restrictions to curb the coronavirus. He recently called the idea of shutting down the Texas economy again "the last option" to fight COVID-19. But on Tuesday, he also said agencies will clamp down on bars that have allowed overcrowding since restrictions began to lift.
And the governor hinted at the possibility of new limits, referring to "additional announcements that may be coming later today" or sometime this week.
"COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in the state of Texas, and it must be corralled," Abbott said Monday.
Calling on people to follow safety rules about washing their hands, social distancing and wearing face coverings, he added, "Texans have shown that we don't have to choose between jobs and health — we can have both. We can protect lives while also restoring livelihoods."
Texas now has 120,370 cases, trailing New York, California, New Jersey and Illinois.
2,000 Massachusetts Teachers Get Layoff Notices: Union
Delays in the state and federal funding process mean school districts can't guarantee they'll have money for the positions this fall.
By Dave Copeland, Patch StaffVerified Patch Staff Badge
Jun 24, 2020 12:40 pm ET
Updated Jun 24, 2020 3:25 pm ET
Delays and anticipated cuts in state and federal education funding because of the coronavirus crisis have upended how local school districts prepare their budgets this year.
Delays and anticipated cuts in state and federal education funding because of the coronavirus crisis have upended how local school districts prepare their budgets this year. (Dave Copeland/Patch)
MASSACHUSETTS — The union that represents public school teachers in Massachusetts says more than 2,030 of its members have received layoff notices as school districts struggle to cobble together budgets for the 2020-21 school year.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association says 10 school districts sent layoff notices to 10 or more teachers and education support professionals by the June 15 deadline to notify teachers their contracts are not being renewed. Another 25 districts have sent notices to nine or fewer MTA members.
Districts often recall teachers who receive the so-called pink slips by the start of the school year. But delays and anticipated cuts in state and federal education funding because of the coronavirus crisis have upended how local school districts prepare their budgets this year. As local districts wait for the state budget to be finalized, school committees have had to prepare budgets with their best guess at how deep the cuts in state and federal aid will be.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has not released reopening guidelines for the fall. But preliminary guidance suggests schools will reopen with significantly reduced class sizes and with added expenses to make sure classrooms have personal protective equipment and extra cleaning supplies.
"We are going to need more educators, not fewer, to reopen safely in the fall," said MTA President Merrie Najimy. "The state must live up to its constitutional obligation to provide the funding needed for schools to operate effectively and safely during the COVID-19 pandemic."
The union's announcement came on the same day that The Boston Globe and Suffolk University released a poll showing parents were split on whether schools could safely reopen in the fall. The poll showed that 60 percent of Black and Latino parents and 44 percent of white parents felt Massachusetts schools could not reopen "in a way that keeps most kids and adults safe from the coronavirus."
Finding funding to recall teachers "is part of dismantling a system of institutionalized racism wherein students of color attend schools with significantly less funding," Najimy said. "While the education and well-being of all students have been disrupted, our students of color have been harmed the most."
All Of Melrose Might Be Voting At Just 1 Location
Voting for all seven wards would be consolidated to help keep people safe from the coronavirus pandemic.
By Mike Carraggi, Patch StaffVerified Patch Staff Badge
Jun 23, 2020 2:20 am ET
Updated Jun 23, 2020 2:22 am ET
MELROSE, MA — City officials want to consolidate all voting for this year's two elections to one location to keep people healthy during what could be a fall wave of COVID-19.
The City Council on Wednesday night will hear a request by the Board of Registrars of Voters and the City Clerk's office to approve the Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School gymnasium as the only polling place in the city. The temporary approval would be for the Sept. 1 state primary and the Nov. 3 general election.
"These changes are being made in an effort to support the health and safety of residents, voters, and elections staff during the Covid-19 pandemic," City Clerk Amy Kamosa said in a letter to Mayor Paul Brodeur.
Related: Melrose Elections Will Look Much Different This Year
All seven of the city's wards would vote at the gym, which was picked for its ample parking and space for social distancing. It also has a separate entrance from the rest of the school and is able to be closed off to the rest of the building.
The city has already seen some poll workers withdraw from the fall elections, citing health concerns. Having one location would lessen the need for as many poll workers.
More than 10,000 ballots were cast during last fall's citywide elections.
State lawmakers are working on bills that would allow for every registered voter to participate in expanded early voting or mail in their ballots, in addition to showing up to the polls in person.
Even though the pandemic appears to be on the downswing in Massachusetts, many experts are expecting a second wave in the fall; Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday the state is preparing as if there will be.
By Mike Carraggi, Patch StaffVerified Patch Staff Badge
Jun 25, 2020 1:30 am ET
Updated Jun 25, 2020 2:23 am ET
Mayor Paul Brodeur committed long-term investments in addressing diversity, equity and inclusion. Above, a local resident proclaims Black Lives Matter.
Mayor Paul Brodeur committed long-term investments in addressing diversity, equity and inclusion. Above, a local resident proclaims Black Lives Matter. (Mike Carraggi/Patch)
MELROSE, MA — Neither implicit bias training nor a police weapons upgrade is in the city's immediate future, but they don't appear to be far off, either.
City officials agreed Wednesday night to fund an external needs assessment of racial equity in Melrose and defer the weapons upgrade to the fall as part of a compromise for what had become a harshly divisive issue.
Mayor Paul Brodeur also committed long-term investments in setting aside at least $100,000 to implement what the needs assessment suggests — including potentially bias training — and, eventually, dedicating annual funds for diversity, equity and inclusion.
"I know that we are at the beginning of a long process that must be sustained over time," Brodeur told the Council. "And I think that this plan does that."
The bias training will be funded by a free cash allocation of $40,000, with $26,000 coming from the police allocation and $14,000 coming from the informational technology allocation.
Brodeur committed to taking $26,000 from the city's next round of free cash once it's certified to fund the weapons upgrade. The free cash is expected to be certified by Nov. 1.
That free cash will also be used to implement what the needs assessment suggests. Brodeur said he will propose at least $100,000.
Brodeur also said the FY22 budget will see the beginning of an annual commitment to funding a diversity, equity and inclusion line item "to assist in meeting the challenges and goals identified through the external needs assessment and any related actions including, but not limited to, training, diversity in recruiting, hiring and retention practices, and community engagement."
The proposals to take the funding from police and IT and fund the need assessment were approved unanimously by the Council, who had no discussion on the matter.
In fact, the meeting was strikingly cordial, particularly after back-to-back contentious meetings that drew public criticism. President Jen Grigoraitis set the tone from the beginning, calling on her colleagues to be collegial, respectful and professional.
Both the short- and long-term commitments to diversity, inclusion and equity stem from the reaction to Brodeur's original request nearly two weeks ago to take the $26,000 from the police weapons and re-direct them to implicit bias training. The request, which came in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd and national unrest over racial inequality and police brutality, sparked a heated conversation in Melrose.
Some councilors questioned why the bias training funding had to come at the expense of new police guns; Chief Mike Lyle said the department's .40 calibers are 14 years old and new 9mms would be more accurate and cost-efficient.
Even more councilors expressed frustration at Brodeur communicating the request to them the afternoon they were set to meet, giving them what they said was a complicated situation on a moment's notice.
In the end, the two sides found common ground, avoiding a potentially sticky stalemate over a larger police funding allocation and bias training.
The Council then proceeded to rip through a number of items, including approving the proposed FY21 budget.
A handful of hands-free phone options for Massachusetts drivers
Whether you're looking for a hands-free accessory, adapter, or something else, these five options will help you comply with the new Massachusetts ban.
Hands-free controls on a a Subaru Outback. Hands-free controls on a a Subaru Outback. –George Kennedy
February 24, 2020
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Massachusetts now has a hands-free driving law in effect.
The ban on handheld phone use means drivers could be fined at least $100 if they are caught breaking the law. It also closes a so-called “loophole” in the state’s 2010 distracted driving law that made it virtually “impossible” for police to enforce the ban on texting while driving, according to Rep. Bill Strauss.
Most new vehicles — and many newer used ones — already have the tools for hands-free phone use, but you have to know where to look. And if your car is on the older side, there are plenty of affordable aftermarket accessories that will ensure you are in compliance.
Here are a handful of options and accessories to help you keep your hands off your phone while driving.
Bluetooth has been available in vehicles for about a decade, and it’s among the most commonly available hands-free features on this list. After your phone is paired via Bluetooth, you can make and receive calls, and most set-ups will even allow you to stream music from your phone.
To set it up, look for a phone icon, either on the steering wheel or among the dash buttons. Most systems will prompt an ID that appears both on the phone and the car’s radio or instrument panel display. Once you pair your device, it will automatically reconnect every time you get into your vehicle.
For iPhone users, some later model cars even have Siri EyesFree, which allows you to control Siri by holding down the voice control or phone button for an extra second. With Siri EyesFree, you can compose, send, and receive text messages, all using voice control.
2. Aftermarket Bluetooth devices:
There are a number of devices on the market that can turn any car into a Bluetooth-enabled vehicle. Some emit a radio frequency that you can tune into from your car’s stereo.
Others are as simple as a small Bluetooth speakerphone that mounts onto a visor. The visor-mounted device has a “phone” button that allows you to answer incoming calls and initiate outgoing ones.
Apple CarPlay, as found in the Kia Forte. —George Kennedy
3. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto:
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide most of your phone’s functionality from your vehicle’s infotainment system. These systems project selected apps onto a touchscreen interface that has the look and feel of your phone, text messages, Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, podcasts and radio apps, and more.
The tech giants have worked for years to seamlessly integrate their platforms with a range of automakers. Apple and Android provide comprehensive lists of vehicles that support this technology.
Connecting with Android Auto requires plugging the phone into a USB port. Nearly all cars with CarPlay require to connect via a USB port, though some select late-model Audi, BMW, Mini, and Mercedes-Benz models provide wireless CarPlay.
4. Phone cradle:
If your car doesn’t have Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto, the simplest and most affordable route is to get a phone cradle.
These cradles often plug right into a climate control vent or mount to the dashboard or windshield via a suction cup or another adhesive. Per the new law, the phone must be in hands-free driving mode. Luckily, modern mobile devices have a “hands-free” mode that allows you to control, say, an iPhone by using Siri.
5. Aftermarket stereo head units:
If your car is old enough that it doesn’t have Bluetooth, it’s likely also old enough that its radio, CD, or other head unit could be swapped out with a newer one with built-in Bluetooth functionality.
Single-din head units simply have a microphone built in, while others provide a small wired mic that you can feed under your dash and place closer to the driver. Many of these units also have USB ports, so you can charge your phone.
Double-din head units have more features but take up more real estate on your dash. They have their own touchscreens to answer calls, and some even come equipped with Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto.
MELROSE, MA — It's the weekend. So let's shake the reporter's notebook and see what comes out.
It's easy to be invested when issues have a lot of friction — everyone has an opinion about the problems. But people rarely get as involved in the solution.
So because it's important to understand what the compromise on the issue involving bias training and guns consists of, here it is again.
(Read a recap of Wednesday's meeting.)
Melrose is taking $26,000 that was once earmarked for upgrading police guns and $14,000 that was once headed to IT to fund an external needs assessment of racial equity across the city. This is not implicit bias training, though it stands to reason that the assessment could lead to that.
The police are likely still getting their gun upgrades, just not as soon as anticipated. Mayor Paul Brodeur committed to taking $26,000 from the next round free cash (expected to be certified by November) to fund the upgrades.
Brodeur also committed to taking at least $100,000 from the next round of free cash to help implement whatever suggestions come of the external needs assessment.
Lastly, Brodeur said the FY22 budget (which would go into effect July 1, 2021) will begin what would be an annual commitment to funding a diversity, equity and inclusion line item. That would go "to assist in meeting the challenges and goals identified through the external needs assessment and any related actions including, but not limited to, training, diversity in recruiting, hiring and retention practices, and community engagement," according to a memo from Brodeur.
So the guns and bias training (or a reasonable facsimile) are likely on deck, and there will be dedicated funding for equity and inclusivity moving forward. It wasn't everyone's perfect outcome — and in some respects it's just the start — but this is what meeting in the middle looks like.
If and when Brodeur makes the aforementioned proposals, they will still need to pass the Council. Obviously much of this was agreed upon behind the scenes (more on that in a minute) and there is no reason to think this won't all happen. But if we've learned anything over the last month, it's that public opinion and external circumstances are powerful, and nothing is done until it's done.
On the agreement between the Council and the mayor: We've heard questions about how an issue that was pitting people against each other in previous meetings was so quickly resolved without any public discussion. Surely an Open Meeting Law must have been violated, some have said.
Multiple sources Patch spoke with said that was not the case. There is a limit to the number of councilors who can speak on Council matters outside official meetings, but that number was not exceeded.
Brodeur found common ground with some of the opposing councilors leading up to Wednesday's meeting, though it wasn't immediate. Multiple sources told Patch that Councilor Mark Garipay brokered an important meeting between Brodeur and some councilors.
As predicted in this space last weekend, the issue was solved without any more public spats.
It could be worse
The acrimonious Council meetings the past few weeks have rightfully garnered some local attention, but we're not sure any unforgivable lines were crossed. Juxtapose the frustrations that boiled over in Melrose with the naked falsehoods and disrespect just down the road in Everett.
Friday's disheartening Boston Globe story about what the first black woman on the City Council has endured from her colleagues makes Melrose spats look like patty-cake. One councilor accused the woman, Gerly Adrien, of, "trying to destroy our city since day one." A former councilor called her "a cancer on the City Council."
But our favorite line came from Councilor Wayne Matewsky, who the story points out is white.
"I personally have not experienced racism in Everett."
Right. From one fellow white man who grew up in Everett to another: Take a step back, councilor. Maybe take a step down.
Melrose officials have disagreements, often very healthy ones, and they can make for good theater in a relatively quiet community. But everyone always seems to be working toward a similar goal: A better Melrose.
Not sure the same can be said in Everett.
It's hard to imagine any Melrose officials making such obtuse statements.
There are five meetings or hearings scheduled for Monday night: Finance, Appropriations, Planning Board, City Council and a public hearing for the Planning Board. Among the discussions:
There has been a lot of talk about Melrose potentially consolidating all voting locations to the middle school gym for the September and November elections. Without advocating for or against it, it's important to remember the city is counting on what is expected to be early and mail-in voting this year, which would in theory reduce how many people head to the polls.
Keep an eye on the Melrose Emergency Fund order, in which Councilors Shawn MacMaster and Jeff McNaught will be trying to pry some information from the administration.
A demolition of the home at 272 Tremont St. and the construction of a mixed-use four-story building.
This and that
Brodeur's office was supposed to release the results of a citywide self-examination regarding racial inequality by June 19. Sunday is June 28 ... Expect a whole lot of news from Patch over the summer on what school will look like this fall — both in Melrose and beyond. The state's back-to-school guidelines were released last week and tell districts to plan for a return to class, continuing remote learning and a mixture of the two. Here's a good overview and some personal questions from School Committee Member Jen McAndrew ... Will there still be a Fourth of July without cute kids riding their wagons around the Common? According to the calendar, yes. Take a look at what the city is asking you to do instead ... A great "what if?" is what would have happened if the Council didn't run out of recording space in its June 15 meeting. In many ways, it was the best possible ending to that evening ... Can't say Councilor John Tramontozzi didn't try. Tramontozzi tried to make at times even painfully minor cuts to the budget in every department — even the City Council salaries — throughout the process. His reasoning: There could be thin days ahead due to the pandemic. He was the lone "no" vote on the final budget approval ... You know the scene in 'Elf' where Will Ferrel busts into the coffee shop to congratulate on having the "world's best coffee," as noted by a sign out front? We might do that to Petrone's for their buffalo chicken ... It had been a while since we had an everything bagel toasted with cream cheese from Bruegger's ... Thank heaven for peach biscuits from Buckalew's.Thanks for all the feedback these past few weeks, positive and otherwise. Reach me at email@example.com and follow me on Twitter @PatchCarraggi for the latest Melrose happenings. Subscribe to Melrose Patch for free and like us on Facebook.
ROME (AP) — The world surpassed two sobering coronavirus milestones Sunday -- 500,000 confirmed deaths, 10 million confirmed cases -- and hit another high mark for daily new infections as governments that attempted reopenings continued to backtrack and warn that worse news could be yet to come.
“COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks,” said Gov. Greg Abbott, who allowed businesses to start reopening in early May but on Friday shut down bars and limited restaurant dining amid a spike in cases.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled back reopenings of bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles. He ordered them to close immediately and urged eight other counties to issue local health orders mandating the same.
More Florida beaches will be closing again to avoid further spread of the new coronavirus as officials try to tamp down on large gatherings amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said interactions among young people are driving the surge.
“Caution was thrown to the wind and so we are where we are," DeSantis said.
South Africa’s health minister warned that the country’s current surge of cases is expected to rapidly increase in the coming weeks and push hospitals to the limit. Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize said the current rise in infections has come from people who “moved back into the workplace.
New clusters of cases at a Swiss nightclub and in the central English city of Leicester showed that the virus was still circulating widely in Europe, though not with the rapidly growing infection rate seen in parts of the U.S., Latin America and India.
Poland and France, meanwhile, attempted a step toward normalcy as they held elections that had been delayed by the virus.
Wearing mandatory masks, social distancing in lines and carrying their own pens to sign voting registers, French voters cast ballots in a second round of municipal elections. Poles also wore masks and used hand sanitizer, and some in virus-hit areas were told to mail in their ballots.
“I didn’t go and vote the first time around because I am elderly and I got scared,” said Fanny Barouh as she voted in a Paris school.
In Texas, Abbott appeared with Vice President Mike Pence, who cut campaign events from upcoming visits to Florida and Arizona because of rising virus cases in those states.
Pence praised Abbott for both his decision to reopen the state, and to roll back the reopening plans.
“You flattened the curve here in Texas ... but about two weeks ago something changed,” Pence said.
Pence urged people to wear masks when unable to practice social distancing. He and Abbott wore face masks as they entered and left the room, taking them off while speaking to reporters.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, meanwhile, defended the fact that President Donald Trump has rarely worn a mask in public, saying he doesn’t have to follow his own administration’s guidance because as a leader of the free world he’s tested regularly and is in “very different circumstances than the rest of us.”
Addressing spikes in reported coronavirus cases in some states, Azar said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that people “have to take ownership” of their own behaviors by social distancing and wearing masks if possible.
A reported tally Sunday from Johns Hopkins University researchers said the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic had topped 500,00.
About 1 in 4 of those deaths – more than 125,000 – have been reported in the U.S. The country with the next highest death toll is Brazil, with more than 57,000, or about 1 in 9.
The true death toll from the virus, which first emerged in China late last year, is widely believed to be significantly higher. Experts say that especially early on, many victims died of COVID-19 without being tested for it.
To date, more than 10 million confirmed cases have been reported globally. About a quarter of them have been reported in the U.S.
The World Health Organization announced another daily record in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the world - topping over 189,000 in a single 24-hour period. The tally eclipses the previous record a week earlier at over 183,000 cases, showing case counts continue to progress worldwide.
Overall the U.S. still has far and away the most total cases. At more than 2,450,000 - roughly twice that of Brazil. The number of actual cases worldwide is much higher.
New York, once the nation’s pandemic epicenter, is now “on the exact opposite end,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an interview with “Meet the Press.”
The state reported five new virus deaths Saturday, its lowest reported daily death toll since March 15. During the state’s peak pandemic in April, nearly 800 people were dying every day. New York still leads the nation in COVID-19 deaths with nearly 25,000.
In the state of Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee put a hold on plans to move counties to the fourth phase of his reopening plan as cases continue to increase. But in Hawaii, the city of Honolulu announced that campgrounds will reopen for the first time in three months with limited permits to ensure social distancing.
Britain’s government, meanwhile, is considering whether a local lockdown is needed for the central English city of Leicester amid reports about a spike in COVID-19 among its Asian community. It would be Britain’s first local lockdown.
“We have seen flare-ups across the country in recent weeks,” Home Secretary Priti Patel told the BBC on Sunday.
Polish voters were casting ballots, in person and by mail, for a presidential election that was supposed to have taken place in May but was chaotically postponed amid the pandemic. President Andrzej Duda, a 48-year-old conservative, is running against 10 other candidates as he seeks a second five-year term.
Iwona Goge, 79, was encouraged to see so many people voting in Warsaw.
“It’s bad. Poland is terribly divided and people are getting discouraged,” she said.
French voters were choosing mayors and municipal councilors in Paris and 5,000 towns and cities in a second round of municipal elections held under strict hygiene rules.
Italy was honoring its dead later Sunday with an evening Requiem concert in hard-hit Bergamo province. The ceremony in the onetime epicenter of the European outbreak came a day after Italy registered the lowest daily tally of COVID-19 deaths in nearly four months: eight.
European leaders were taking no chances in tamping down new clusters. German authorities renewed a lockdown in a western region of about 500,000 people after about 1,300 slaughterhouse workers tested positive.
Africa’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 continued to climb to a new high of more than 371,000, including 9,484 deaths, according to figures released Sunday by the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
China on Monday reported a further decline in new confirmed cases, with a total of just 12, including seven cases of domestic transmission in Beijing, where nearly 8.3 million people have now undergone testing in recent weeks. No new deaths were reported Monday, leaving the total at 4,634 among 83,512 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.
Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
As of Sun, Jun 28, 2020, 8:26 PM EDT
1.2%Since last week
2.5%Since last week
*Note: Some locations do not currently provide all data.
73 new cases yesterday
As of Sun, Jun 28, 2020, 8:26 PM EDT
What exactly is it that you're asking the Mayor?
When is the Mayor ever going to give a straight-forward, honest answer to a question?