Mar 17, 2020

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Coronavirus News Conference Transcript

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Coronavirus Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsMassachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Coronavirus News Conference Transcript

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker held a COVID-19 briefing for the state of Massachusetts today. Read the full transcript of his press conference here.

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Charlie Baker: (00:01)
And keep in mind, again, that for the vast majority of people, approximately 80% of the population, Covid-19 would mostly feel like the flu. The infection would not lead to hospitalization. Your body fights the infection and you recover. But the reason we’re taking this so seriously is because it is incredibly contagious. It’s a lot more contagious than the regular flu. There will certainly be more cases of Covid-19 here in Massachusetts, but we also know that if we take decisive steps now and everyone plays their part by following the best medical guidance, we can slow down the spread and our healthcare system will be better positioned to care for the people who need it. But that said, today we’re announcing several new elements and initiatives.

Charlie Baker: (00:54)
First of all, our administration, through the command center, will be distributing a down payment of $5 million in emergency funds to local boards of health across the commonwealth. That money will go out today, and more will follow soon. I signed this appropriation into law after it was allotted of by the legislature at the end of last week to address the immediate needs of our community health boards in addressing Covid-19. Most of this money will go directly to our cities and towns to help them respond to this public health emergency.

Charlie Baker: (01:27)
We also plan to execute emergency contracts with our cities and health districts that have sufficient capacity to receive and utilize funding, and we’ll continue to move through this process quickly. Our largest municipalities, which have over 70,000 residents or more, in our public health districts will receive contracts toady. Other local boards of health will receive more information from DPH today, and in addition to providing funding for municipalities, we’re also extending our reach to offer support where needed to cities and towns. We also signed two emergency orders, and the commissioner of public health has issued two orders as well to expedite the onboarding of more licensed healthcare professionals. These orders will make it easier for licensed healthcare staff, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and respiratory technicians, to work at another licensed facility. These orders will cut red tape, so hospitals can staff up faster. This will also allow out of state licensed physicians in good standing to practice in Massachusetts and enable retired physicians in good standing to reactivate their license. Again, this is all about helping to expand our healthcare delivery capacity.

Charlie Baker: (02:45)
Recognizing the crucial need for sufficient EMS capacity during this public health emergency, these orders also adjust minimum standards for ambulance staffing to ensure sufficient availability and capacity of EMS services. Finally, these orders will also facilitate telehealth across state lines. This builds off the emergency order we issued on Sunday for all commercial health insurance carriers to allow providers to provide services via telehealth. What this means is that by working with their healthcare provider, patients can talk to their doctors via video or phone, so they do not have to visit a doctor’s office.

Charlie Baker: (03:26)
The significant measures we’ve taken in the past few days will help mitigate the spread of Covid-19, but there is no denying that this causes major disruption for our economic sector and especially the commonwealth small business community. Yesterday, we announced economic support for small businesses with a $10 million loan fund to provide financial relief, but it’s crucial we bring every resource to bear to address the economic disruption caused by Covid-19, including those available from the federal government. I was glad to see the feds talking earlier today about a major recovery package.

Charlie Baker: (04:01)
Last Thursday, MEMA took the first step in the process of securing relief from the Federal Small Business Administration, conducting a survey to identify businesses affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Today, I am formally requesting that the Small Business Administration issue a declaration of economic injury for the commonwealth. This declaration would make it possible for low interest loans to be made available to business owners affected by the outbreak of Covid-19. Everybody knows the economic disruption is real, but we are committed to participate pursuing a variety of solutions to help mitigate these effects. It’s my hope and expectation that both the state and federal government will have more to say about this effort as time goes on, so that we can help as many people as possible recover from the widespread impacts of this disease.

Charlie Baker: (04:53)
As a reminder, we’ve also taken the following steps over the past couple of days. We’re relaxing some of the requirements around current unemployment claims. This will allow many of the workers affected by closures to get some financial relief. We filed emergency legislation with the legislature that will allow new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits, and we met with the legislative leadership yesterday to discuss this and several other short term issues. I look forward to working with them to get these measures passed as soon as possible.

Charlie Baker: (05:27)
Sunday, we also instructed all non- emergency state employees from the executive branch not to report to work yesterday and today, unless they were essential to the state’s Covid-19 response efforts. Over the past few days we’ve had productive talks with the unions and leadership across our agencies, and later today we’ll be rolling out updated information and guidance for executive branch employees around telework and what they should expect going forward. I want to say at this time that I really appreciate the level of effort and the commitment and the cooperation that so many people put in on this one over the past 48 hours.

Charlie Baker: (06:04)
I think as many people know, effective today, bars and restaurants in Massachusetts that offer food and drink shall not offer on premises consumption. These establishments may continue to offer food for takeout and delivery. This order is in effect for the next three weeks. It’s important to note that this order does not apply to grocery stores, retail outlets, or pharmacies. This is about bars and restaurants and those places that people do not absolutely have to go to.

Charlie Baker: (06:34)
Many folks have noticed grocery store shelves seem bare. The reason for this is because people are perhaps going a little overboard to stock up on supplies. Please use common sense and moderation and avoid hoarding large quantities. The shelves are getting restocked pretty much every night. For responsible planning advice, you can always visit mass.gov/knowplanandprepare.

Charlie Baker: (06:58)
On a final note, I want to thank everyone again for their patience and perseverance during these unprecedented and difficult times. Your cooperation and diligence are vital to keeping you, your family, your neighbors, and our community safe, and I’m confident that we’re going to get this together. I would also like to ask everyone to remember the most vulnerable among us and ask that you reach out and help if you can. I know there are programs that are being put up in communities all over the commonwealth, which comes as no surprise I think to any of us. Call your neighbors, your friends, your families. A check in can go a long way right now in helping someone get through their day. With that, I want to turn it over to Secretary, actually Command Center Director Marylou Sudders. Your new title.

Marylou Sudders: (07:51)
I like Secretary and Command Center. Good afternoon. Last evening, along with Commissioner Bharel, I held a conference call with the Coalition For Local Public Health, representing the Massachusetts Association Of Public Health Nurses, The Mass Association Of Health Boards, The Mass Health Officer’s Association, The Western Mass Public Health Association, The Mass Environmental Health Association, and The Mass Public Health Associates to discuss distribution of the funds appropriated and to lay out our initial planning for our local boards of health.

Marylou Sudders: (08:33)
As you heard the governor say, we intend to execute emergency contracts to support local boards of health today to the 14 largest municipalities and the 15 Massachusetts public health districts. This represents just about 50% of our state’s population. We had a followup call today with the group. I asked them to help us to address the needs of the remaining municipalities who do not have the infrastructure to get them the support they need ASAP. Actually, this is sort of unusual. Usually when you contract in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you put out a bid for proposals and you have to invite back in proposals, and then you go through the process of election. Instead, what we did today is literally email out a short contract asking them to sign it, send it back to us. We will issue the funds today. They’re retroactive to the 1st of February. Then submit to us additional needs that they need. So, today was a $5 million down payment for deeds.

Marylou Sudders: (09:43)
Let me just quickly address the issue of lab testing. The addition of national lab testing and the changes in clinical protocols is making a difference, and Commissioner Bharel will go over the numbers, because as you know, clinicians can now send specimens directly to the lab for testing. But as you’ve heard us often say, we still need more labs approved to test. Expanding tests capacity is critical. The Command Center has prioritized increasing testing capacity. We are working all avenues to rapidly increase the testing capacity in the face of emerging issues.

Marylou Sudders: (10:21)
Earlier today, I connected with two local testing companies, PerkinElmer and Thermo Fisher, and both have committed to help the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I spoke personally with the CEO of PerkinElmer and the leadership of Thermo Fisher, and just a little while ago, with the broad Institute a few promising avenues. There’ll be more to follow. We believe we can establish the Broad Institute as a state reference lab and are working to supply them with Thermo Fisher test kits. If we’re successful, the Broad Institute would be able to test almost 1,000 kits per day. The PerkinElmer CEO has offered to supply the state lab with a testing machine and supplies with additional capacity for almost 1,000 tests per day, and we are matchmaking between local … Whoever thought I’d be a matchmaker? We are matchmaking between local academic medical centers, many of whom have machine capacity, but various supply shortages and testing supplies, including the local companies Thermo Fisher and PerkinElmer. This is extraordinarily important to us in order to increase testing capacity across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. With that, I’ll turn it over to Commissioner Bharel for the latest numbers.

Charlie Baker: (11:48)
Thank you so much, Secretary. Good afternoon, everybody. Many of you might know that I spent a good deal of my career in the healthcare system as a general internal medicine physician in academic hospitals, community health centers, Vas, city hospitals, and other settings. I had a call this morning with hospitals and community health centers across the state to discuss the current updates. I understand the need of our healthcare providers, and I appreciate the urgent needs of our patients and healthcare professionals.

Charlie Baker: (12:21)
I’d like to give a few more details related to the testing that Secretary Sudders mentioned. I want to be clear that our goal in the administration is to continue to increase our testing capability as quickly and as safely as we can. We are working hard to expand both our state and commercial testing capacity in the commonwealth. Now that the CDC criteria has expanded, it allows us to expand testing capacity as well, but I understand that it is not at the fast pace that we would all prefer. Some of this is due to federal level shortages that Massachusetts and many other states are facing. We are moving as quickly as we can, and we …

Speaker 1: (13:03)
We are moving as quickly as we can and we are doing data integration with our commercial lab partners to make sure that this testing and testing information is compatible with the data that we have at the State Department of Public Health. We want to be absolutely certain that the numbers we are releasing are accurate and timely.

Speaker 1: (13:20)
With new clinical changes at the CDC, the state lab has the capacity to test 400 patients per day at the state lab, up from 200 patients a day. The state lab, at this time at the state lab, we do have adequate supplies for testing.

Speaker 1: (13:38)
Now, I’d like to talk with you for a few minutes about the numbers. Every day we report our Massachusetts case numbers. Those numbers are now at 197 cases. Also important to note, all cases that were previously categorized as presumptive positive will now be considered positive. So, on our report today, you will see them all listed as confirmed positive cases. Every day we will be reporting our testing numbers as well. As of this morning, our state lab has conducted 1,367 tests from 1,092 tests yesterday. We have over 204 results also reported to us from commercial labs today and we will post updated commercial lab numbers later today.

Speaker 1: (14:27)
Our goal every day is to report out our latest case numbers and testing numbers by 4:00 p.m. on our website. Our absolute priority is sharing data that is correct, factual, and updated. I want to again take a moment to emphasize the importance of social distancing.

Speaker 1: (14:46)
The measures we have put in place will not only slow the spread of disease in our communities, but these measures will give us time to build up our healthcare capacity so we can be better prepared to handle the demands that COVID-19 will place on our healthcare system and on our clinicians. As you have heard before, this is referred to as flattening of the curve. The social distancing we are all doing is a way for each one of us to have an impact on the outcome of this disease, and I know it is challenging for your family and mine to do it, but it is critical in assisting us in flattening the curve.

Speaker 1: (15:25)
Every epidemic has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and while it’s sometimes challenging to know where we are in that continuum, everything we’re doing today is trying to bring us closer to the end. This response may take longer than any of us want it to, but we will be here for as long as it takes.

Charlie Baker: (15:58)
Questions for any of us? [Crosstalk 00:15:59] Mike?

Mike: (15:58)
Are you going to do the same for the state-

Charlie Baker: (15:58)
Say again?

Mike: (16:00)
The IRS extended the tax filing deadlines, that something the state plans to-

Charlie Baker: (16:03)
It’s under discussion.

Speaker 2: (16:06)
Do you have any plans to close retail stores, other non-essential businesses. We’re saying, “My boss will make me come to work until the governor says don’t.

Charlie Baker: (16:13)
Well, we’ve made pretty clear, I think with the unprecedented nature of the restrictions we’ve already put in place that we believe people should simply not be engaging in non-essential activities. We defined some of those specifically in the orders that we’ve issued because we felt they were areas where it would make a big difference if we did.

Charlie Baker: (16:35)
With respect to grocery stores for example, we believe they need to be open. Pharmacies, they need to be open. And there are a number of retail establishments that need to be open as well. But as we said, with bars and restaurants and gatherings of the 25 the answer to that is no, and we expect that to be enforced by local boards of health.

Speaker 2: (16:53)
How about malls and daycares and that sort of thing?

Charlie Baker: (16:58)
We are having an ongoing conversation with the healthcare community and our colleagues in the daycare community. One of the things I would say about daycare, many people believe, and this has been true of many of the conversations I’ve had with other governors that we need to make sure that the daycare services that are being provided are being provided under guidelines that make them safe. And we issued new guidelines on this which were consistent with both state and federal requirements several days ago, which the industry has adopted.

Charlie Baker: (17:28)
But it’s also true that many people have said that, especially for first responders and people who work in the healthcare system, two of the most critical elements of how we actually get through this process in this crisis that many of them need to have access to childcare to be able to continue to work. And I think we are working with all those parties to come up with what the right strategy is to ensure that people stay safe but at the same time continue to be able to provide the services, the necessary lifesaving and life preserving services, that many of those workers are part of.

Speaker 3: (18:01)
Do you have any idea about lay offs, numbers-

Charlie Baker: (18:05)
Across the employment community at this point?

Speaker 3: (18:08)
Yes, is unemployment up, down, does labor have any stats?

Charlie Baker: (18:11)
Well there’s certainly a tremendous amount of activity going on in the Department of Unemployment Assistance and there’s a reason for that, and we’ve also made very clear to folks about the fact that we want them to apply online. And that will continue to be our message. Apply online. We’ve issued regs that dramatically simplify the front door. We’re trying to get the legislature to agree to reduce or eliminate the one week waiting period.

Charlie Baker: (18:37)
But I fully expect we’re going to see a significant spike in the number of people on unemployment. And frankly given the circumstances and the situation, I hope that turns out to be the case.

Speaker 4: (18:46)
Are you frustrated with the legislature that they-

Charlie Baker: (18:48)
They get reported at the end of every month. And that’s the process they typically go through.

Speaker 5: (18:53)
Some nurses right now are actually expressing some concern about not having enough protective gear. Is the state doing everything it can to help them?

Charlie Baker: (19:02)
Well, I can ask one of these folks who knows more about this than me, but what I will say is we are pursuing our own options with respect and our own channels with respect to purchasing gear. And we are also leaning incredibly hard on the federal government to give us additional access to the stockpile. You want to speak for this?

Marylou Sudders: (19:24)
So one of the reasons the governor established the command center was… I put my glasses on, sorry. One of the reasons the governor created the command center was actually to do a whole supply chain analysis on personal protective equipment. The Department of Public Health has prioritized personal protective equipment for hospitals and EMS across the state, and they’re acting prudently and prioritizing your quest by need and allocating reserves as a bridge.

Marylou Sudders: (19:57)
Many hospitals actually keep ordering supplies and the like, and based on the information that comes up to the Department of Public Health, the Department Public Health has been prioritizing need and sending out the allocation that we got from the national stockpile as a bridge hoping that the allocations come in.

Marylou Sudders: (20:15)
The command center’s receiving calls every day from suppliers and we’re feeding that into MEMA and to the Department of Public Health. But we are continuing to sort of identify every potential source for for equipment. Let me just turn it over to the commissioner for a second.

Speaker 1: (20:32)
And secretary. I’ll add that the other thing that we’re doing is conserving the supplies that we currently have in the Commonwealth. So the orders that we have around the cancellation of non-essential elective surgeries and turning some outpatient visits and other visits into tele-health, those are all meant to conserve our existing supplies as well.

Speaker 6: (20:51)
When can we see… can you talk about relying on some of those manufacturers and when can people expect to see more from them?

Marylou Sudders: (21:00)
So again, this is a constant of reaching out to suppliers, suppliers reaching out to us and the Department of Public Health putting up very clear guidelines and including EMS as really part of our priorities to get it out. So this is literally like a constant everyday trying to bring in as much supplies as possible. And the governor advocating with the national stockpile for the needs of people in Massachusetts.

Speaker 7: (21:23)
[crosstalk 00:21:23] facilities are asking the public to donate masks if they have been having them at home. Is that where we are right now? N95 masks, there’s one in Massachusetts that’s already put the call out.

Charlie Baker: (21:33)
You want to speak, I mean you know more about N95s than I do, but I mean what I would say is first of all, because this is an ongoing process, there is going to be gear arriving, gear being distributed, gear arriving and gear being distributed on a regular basis for quite a long time here. And the asks into the stockpile, as I said yesterday, the big thing I’m looking for from the federal government is a routine here. You’ve got 10% of what you asked for last week, what are we going to get the next 10 and the next 10 and the next 10 so we can plan that alongside the other pursuits that we’re engaged in with our colleagues in the provider community through existing suppliers?

Speaker 7: (22:19)
Governor Baker, trains and buses were crowded this morning. Some of the bus drivers were telling us they’re not getting cleaned as much as you said they were supposed to be cleaned. Any word on that and counting on them?

Charlie Baker: (22:33)
Honestly that’s the first I’ve heard of that. Most of the feedback I got with respect to about trains and buses was that it was relatively quiet morning.

Speaker 7: (22:40)
We’ve got photos of the trains, Blue line crowded with people, and bus drivers saying that they’re not coming by and cleaning as often as they should be.

Charlie Baker: (22:49)
The rules that are the rules. And like I said yesterday, the rules aren’t being followed. We need to do something about that. [crosstalk 00:22:58] Say again.

Mike: (22:59)
Can you tell us about the contracts with the community?

Charlie Baker: (23:01)
The public, the local Board of Health contracts?

Mike: (23:03)
Yes, spell out if we’re getting them over a certain period of time.

Marylou Sudders: (23:08)
Again, it’s a short form contract. Went out today. They sign it, bring it back. We will immediately release funds for the larger cities and towns. So for Boston it’s a quarter million dollars. For the other large municipalities, it’s $100,000 and for the others, depending on their size, it is between $50-70, 000. Again, it’s an initial down payment. When they return the contract it’s literally like a contract face sheet. And then we’ve asked them within the next few weeks to submit actually a budget and a more detailed proposal. But again we’re talking about a short form proposal. This is really just a way to get funds out quickly and then to determine greater needs so that we can get funds out, more and more funds. So these funds, it’s like literally, think of it as a down payment.

Speaker 7: (24:03)
Secretary, [crosstalk 00:24:05] supplies at this point, the analysis of those supplies [crosstalk 00:24:05]

Marylou Sudders: (24:11)
No, because we are literally doing a whole supply chain analysis with MEMA, the Department of Public Health, contacting manufacturers, trying to figure out how much is out there that we can bring into Massachusetts.

Speaker 7: (24:23)
Secretary, other States have reported a shortage of reagents to conduct the COVID-19 tests. Is that something Massachusetts is also dealing with?

Marylou Sudders: (24:33)
Again, one of the reasons to bring on as many labs as possible and having the conversations with Thermo Fisher today and Elmer Perkin is because they have their own test kits. What we want to do is really match make between academic medical centers and some of these companies as well as bring on other commercial labs who have their own testing capacity and don’t have to rely on the testing kits that come from the CDC. So the more that we can bring them online, different commercial labs who have their own testing abilities, the greater we have capacity in the Commonwealth. So we’re really, again, trying to increase, as the commissioner would say, safe capacity for testing in order to increase the speed of Massachusetts.

Speaker 7: (25:17)
Is the anything happening in terms of [crosstalk 00:25:15].

Charlie Baker: (25:17)
Can I just follow this up on one thing. Does everybody know what the test kit actually is. The test kit is basically the vehicle to which you swab and figure out and take that and then it gets sent, and somebody tests that. One of the biggest changes the feds made in the guidelines on this was I think it was last Thursday or Friday, I can’t remember when. They basically said it would be okay at that point in time for the first time for commercial labs and other labs to use their own test kits as long as they met certain federal standards, that automatically put a tremendous amount of additional capacity into the market, which is why I believe you’re going to continue to see an uptick in the number of tests that take place. Because of the constriction, both on who you test and the mechanism that you could use to test dramatically changed last week. And that’s going-

Charlie Baker: (26:03)
You could use to test dramatically changed last week, and that’s going to pop in numbers in a pretty big way everywhere. My understanding is that one of those big commercial labs put hundreds of thousands of kits into the marketplace at the end of the last week when that order originally came through. So I actually think that issue is going to be less of an issue than some of the others have been.

Speaker 8: (26:22)
How big of a pop do you expect to see for Massachusets?

Charlie Baker: (26:27)
Well from my point of view, I would like to see us test way more than we’ve tested up until now. First of all, testing is an important way of determining where you have your most significant issues and challenges. And secondly, it’s also something you can use at scenario planning. But the other thing I would say with respect to this is the command center is doing scenario planning now with the healthcare community over what they think the ultimate requirement and demand with respect to dealing with the most difficult cases is going to look like, and that will be based on a lot of things, some of which will be based on the history of other countries, some of which will be based on the testing data and the results that we have and some of it will be based on guidelines and guidance that they get from other folks in the infectious disease community.

Charlie Baker: (27:12)
But the thing to remember here with respect to all of this is the most important thing we need to do is come up with ways to reduce the requirement for people to go to the hospital or the healthcare system generally. That’s why the Telehealth thing is so important. If we can actually get the health care world to stand up that platform in a pretty significant way, and people have the ability to engage their clinician in conversation and discussion around what they’re dealing with and what needs to happen next, that’s one less person who shows up in the ER, who shows up in the doctor’s office.

Speaker 9: (27:45)
Governor, we’re hearing there’s a spike of suspected cases at local hospitals. Can you confirm and let us know what the capacity is statewide for hospitals?

Charlie Baker: (27:55)
Well, the current occupancy rate statewide is around 74%. So at this particular point in time, we actually have a lot of inpatient capacity. That’s interesting that you say-

Speaker 9: (28:06)
[inaudible 00:02:05].

Charlie Baker: (28:06)
Well that’s interesting you saying that because the hospitals that I talked to say just the opposite, which is that our decision with respect to the elective surgeries and some of the other stuff that’s going on and people’s hesitancy, unless they really need to be at the hospital to go, has actually led to a significant reduction in activity. So I think it varies from hospital to hospital. I wouldn’t draw broad conclusions by the experience of one.

Speaker 9: (28:29)
Are there a couple that are seeing intense spike in hospital patrons?

Charlie Baker: (28:34)
All right.

Speaker 1: (28:39)
So I think one of the issues related to susceptible possible cases that you’re referring to is remember that the CDC recently changed their criteria. So it used to be that very narrow restricted person who could be a suspected case. Now because it’s appropriately broadened to include individuals who are very sick, so say in the ICU with respiratory illness, that by the definition changing there’ll be more suspected cases because we can test more people and that’s what we want. We want to test more individuals so we can understand the magnitude of the illness here in Massachusetts, protect people, isolate, quarantine and protect the healthcare staff on the front lines.

Speaker 10: (29:17)
Last question.

Speaker 11: (29:18)
Governor, a two-part question. How soon could laid off workers start getting unemployment benefits? I know you’re working with the legislature. And number two, the federal government is looking at giving $1000 to laid off workers. Is that something that Massachusetts would consider at giving laid off workers a certain amount of money?

Charlie Baker: (29:39)
Well, let me first say that our goal is going to be to try and turn around applications as quickly as we can. As I said earlier, we have a statutory requirement that says you have to wait a week before you send out checks to people who apply for unemployment. The reason we filed the legislation was to eliminate that one week statutory requirement. We would love to see the legislature enact that so we could move quicker than that. But the goal here between that and the changes we made with respect to the regulations, there were a lot of, what would I call these? Steps that people had to go through under a traditional unemployment insurance application process. They had to do a bunch of different things to actually start to get paid.

Charlie Baker: (30:26)
We changed those through the emergency regulations. So we are literally at the point where if people apply, and we want them to apply online, we will move as quickly as we possibly can without a lot of the administrative and demonstration barriers that existed previously, but we are going to have to abide by the one week, what was the term for it? The one week delay in sending out the money because that’s what it says on the statute. What was the second piece?

Speaker 11: (30:56)
The government-

Charlie Baker: (30:57)
The federal, the-

Speaker 11: (30:58)
Would you consider adding to that for laid off workers in Massachusetts?

Charlie Baker: (31:02)
I think we need to develop a plan for people here in the Commonwealth that’s specific to people in the Commonwealth. The Lieutenant Governor and I spent a lot of time talking to mayors and city managers about what they think their biggest issues are going to be with respect to their people. I think our goal is to try and come up with something that works for Massachusetts. If the feds come in with something over the top, which I hope they do, that’s great, but I still think we need to worry about what makes the most sense in Massachusetts, not community by community, but certainly region by region and it may vary-

Speaker 10: (31:34)
Thank you.

Charlie Baker: (31:34)
From one to the next.

Speaker 12: (31:34)
Commissioner, the governor of New York said that they think that this will peak in New York State in 45 days. That’s their prediction. Do we have any prediction with that for Massachusets? Is there any way to know?

Speaker 1: (31:44)
So there are a lot of predictive models out there as we’ve talked about before. What we do know is that this is an evolving disease. We’re gathering more information and as we have more information, we’ll be able to understand the trajectory of this curve of this current pandemic. What we do know is there will be a beginning, there will be a middle and there will be an end to this.

Speaker 10: (32:04)
Thank you very much.

Speaker 13: (32:06)
Sir could you [inaudible 00:32:07] … Could you answer something about that MIT Broad Institute-

Speaker 14: (32:09)
Broad.

Speaker 13: (32:11)
Broad Institute. So they’re a part of MIT, right?

Charlie Baker: (32:18)
The Harvard, MIT joint venture.

Marylou Sudders: (32:20)
The Harvard, MIT joint venture.

Speaker 13: (32:20)
So are they providing this … How does that work and what are the financial … Are they donating equipment [inaudible 00:32:26] going to be doing a 1000 tests a day.

Marylou Sudders: (32:28)
They could.

Speaker 13: (32:28)
They could. So how does that work financially for that company?

Marylou Sudders: (32:33)
So the Broad Institute has the capacity, if we can make the connection with them for testing supplies to test. And later today, we will have a more formal meeting to figure out exactly what things they need for us to make sure that they can come online and they believe they can come online very soon. So I can’t answer specifically your funding question at this moment like who will pay for the kits for them, the specimens for them to have. The fact that the Broad is just so committed to doing this for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a really important step today, and that’s really my answer to [inaudible 00:33:14].

Speaker 13: (33:12)
So do you mean they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart? Is that what you’re saying?

Marylou Sudders: (33:21)
No. The Broad is a very special institution in the Commonwealth and they have wanted to be engaged in testing and there were a number of issues that were in the way that obviously the FDA changes were very important ones to them. I’ve asked them to literally lay out what the issues are they have in order for them to implement and I was very excited by the call I had with them earlier today.

Speaker 10: (33:43)
Thanks everybody. He’s got to get going.

Charlie Baker: (33:44)
I’m going to go back briefly to your question about New York okay? I assume everybody in this room has looked at all of the trend data from the 25 or 30 other countries that have been posted since this whole thing got started. Now what you see in those trendlines is a gigantic difference in how fast it took off and what the trajectory of the line was and how long it stayed there between and among all of those countries right? Which means to me that it’s very hard to draw conclusions about what the ramp, the peak and the drop looks like from the experience of just one other country, one other state, one other region. Because it all depends, to a large extent, on the job people do with respect to social distancing and all the issues we’ve been talking about associated with spread.

Charlie Baker: (34:40)
The fact that New York thinks it’s 45 days, that means they believe that based on what they’re doing with respect to social distancing, what they’re doing with respect to managing spread, that’s what they think. But the bottom line is it’s going to come down here in Massachusetts to the work that everybody does collectively to deal with social distancing and to the extent that they possibly can, not being part of the spread because that’s going to be the mechanism that ultimately determines where the peak is and where it comes down. Thanks.

Speaker 10: (35:13)
Thank you.

Speaker 15: (35:13)
Any plans to shut down construction sites across the Commonwealth? [inaudible 00:35:16] Boston shut down their construction sites, just curious statewise.

Charlie Baker: (35:22)
I’m never going to say never to anything when it comes to this because things are always evolving, but we have no plans at this point to shut down construction statewide.

Speaker 10: (35:32)
Thank you guys.

Speaker 16: (35:32)
Governor, the houses [crosstalk 00:35:33] didn’t take action on your legislation [inaudible 00:35:33]. Are you frustrated at all?

Charlie Baker: (35:36)
We’re certainly going to ask them every day and to get back to the question that was asked previously about when people can start to see their checks, we would love to be able to get them their checks as fast as we possibly can. That statutory requirement makes it a little harder for us to do that. I would love to see that … I know both of us would really love to see that get fixed. I’ll tell you this, there are thousands of people who are applying for an insurance benefits or for unemployment insurance right now in Massachusetts who would really love to see that get fixed too.