Projected model shows Massachusetts is not ready to reopen

Coronavirus

BOSTON (WPRI) — Rhode Island could soon be opening the state’s economy in just a couple of weeks, but in the bordering state of Massachusetts, that may not be the case.

The Bay State’s stay at home advisory is set to expire on May 4, but a new projection model from Massachusetts General Hospital shows devastating consequences if restrictions are lifted even a few weeks after that.

The simulator shows that lifting restrictions at the end of May could still result in more than 40,000 COVID-19 related deaths by the end of the summer.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the city will remain shut down past Gov. Charlie Baker’s advisory. Walsh said “there is no question” May 4 is too early.

The MGH simulator shows a few different scenarios. If restrictions end May 25 and go to “minimal” through the summer, the model still projects around 27,000 deaths by the end of the summer. Alternatively, if Baker lifted restrictions in June, the model shows that number could drop to about 5,600.

The simulator adds that if Massachusetts went full lock down, including interstate travel, deaths could be reduced to around 4,400 by the end of August.

Boston doctors still say more testing is needed so officials have more data to work with when making decisions.

“There is a large gap between where we are now and where we need to get to before we start to get out of quarantine,” Boston Medical Center Dr. Katherine Gergen Barnett said. “All of that incredible work that each of us is doing every day right now will really be lost and all of our footholds will be lost if we do it too quickly.”

On Monday, deaths surpassed 3,000 in Massachusetts and Baker said he will make a decision about extending the stay at home advisory by the end of the week.

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