Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker indicated Friday that he may need to extend the state's current shutdown, now set to expire on May 4,
but that he does not yet have data to make a decision about when the order might be lifted.
“We haven’t seen anything in the daily data that would suggest we’re over the peak and we’re headed down the other side,” Baker said, “and until we see that we’re not going to make any decision to reopen.” Baker has repeatedly said there would need to be several weeks of declining hospitalizations and new infections before the state could feel confident it is past the "surge" and ready to begin reopening.
Baker said the state has made progress in processing more than 400,000 filings for unemployment benefits by Massachusetts residents, and that a new system is up and running to process some 100,000 claims from people in non-traditional jobs, such as contractors, gig workers and freelance workers.
Baker was joined at the podium by Massachusetts Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, who had been in self-quarantine for the past month after testing positive for COVID-19 in March.
Bharel recounted her experience with the virus, describing three weeks of sickness, fatigue, muscle aches and other maladies before slowly recovering.
“But it was one thing to intellectually understand this disease but entirely another thing to experience it,” Bharel said.
Bharel said she was fortunate not to have had to be hospitalized and to have recovered, but that her experience can serve as a reminder that most who are infected do recover.
“There is recovery from this virus,” Bharel said.