Following reports that the Trump administration was eyeing a May 1 date to “reopen the U.S.,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh voiced his disapproval of such a move during a press conference Monday at City Hall.
“That’s not only unrealistic but completely irresponsible,” Walsh said, without directly referring to a particular official. “We all want to get back to work and we all want to get back to normal society, but this is not the time to talk about that.”
Talk of the reopening began Sunday after Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said on ABC’S “This Week” that May 1 was the administration’s target date, though it was still too early to say whether the target would be met.
Walsh cautioned that we are just at the beginning of the surge. As of Sunday, Massachusetts had 25,475 cases of COVID-19 and 756 virus-related deaths. That's an increase of 3,100 cases and 44 deaths since Friday, the mayor said. In Boston, the total number of cases has risen to nearly 4,000 — essentially doubling in the past week — with another 14 deaths over the weekend.
"What's important is that we have the medical capacity to care for vulnerable people," Walsh said. “The next two to three weeks are very critical to our goal."
According to Walsh, 52 percent of reported cases in the city came between April 5 and 12.
He also said that the city began efforts to monitor racial and economic disparities in the number of cases among different communities, noting that the Health Inequities Task Force held its first meeting over the weekend. The task force, which includes medical, social and faith leaders, was assembled to analyze coronavirus data related to immigrant communities and people of color.
“Data is critical in this work,” he said, noting that city officials have seen increased numbers of coronavirus cases in these communities. “We need to know, and the community needs to know, what inequities [there] are and what to do about them.”
The task force has identified a handful of key priorities, including increasing testing among minority communities and assessing the pandemic's economic impact, the mayor added.
Walsh said that the demographic breakdown of cases would be updated daily on the city’s COVID-19 information website.