Coronavirus: BU Friday Roundup
BU, Boston, state, national, and global updates
If you have a question or comment related to BU and its response to the COVID-19 crisis, on the subject of the move-out, remote learning, retrieving personal belongings, or anything else, please visit Boston University’s special COVID-19 website. Questions are being answered there by specific departments in a timely fashion. Thank you.
—Doug Most, executive editor, BU Today
Quote of the day:
We may need every physician we can get, based on what has happened in Wuhan and Italy, and what is happening in New York.
Stat of the day:
BU Commencement postponed; MED graduation date moved up
The University will hold an actual, physical Commencement in late summer or early fall, President Robert A. Brown announced Thursday. Determined to give the Class of 2020 an in-person send-off, the University opted against both a virtual Commencement and outright cancellation, both routes that other colleges are choosing. Individual BU schools and colleges may hold their own virtual events, however. Read all the details.
Meanwhile, the graduation date for School of Medicine fourth-year students has been moved up four weeks, to April 17. Anticipating a surge in the number of COVID-19 hospital patients, the deans of the four Massachusetts medical schools have agreed to the state’s request to accelerate the graduation of their fourth-year students, allowing them to join doctors on the frontlines of the pandemic up to eight weeks early. Read all the details.
Former BMC building to open for homeless care
Governor Charlie Baker announced that the former Newton Pavilion at Boston Medical Center, 88 E. Newton St., now owned by the commonwealth, will be reopened to provide care for Boston’s homeless. The temporary healthcare facility will be managed by a consortium of providers that include Boston Medical Center, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, the Pine Street Inn, and Boston’s COVID-19 response team. The facility will provide a range of healthcare services, among them testing and treatment for COVID-19. The facility can support up to 250 beds.
Boston and Beyond News
Hotel Commonwealth closing temporarily
Many BU families and alumni stay at the Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square when they are visiting campus (or coming in for a Red Sox game). But given the current circumstances, the hotel will close this Sunday, and will not reopen until at least May 1.
Greater Boston hospital workers infected
More than 100 medical and other staff at Greater Boston hospitals have tested positive for COVID-19, although it appears many of them contracted the virus through community spread rather than contact with patients.
Baker calls for major disaster declaration
Governor Baker today submitted a request to the federal government for a Major Disaster Declaration for Massachusetts. If approved, this declaration would provide the commonwealth with additional federal assistance and includes a request for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, which would make financial assistance available to cities and towns, state agencies, and certain nonprofits statewide. The disaster declaration request also asks FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program, including Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling Assistance, to help support residents in need during this unprecedented situation.
US & Global News
Thursday’s up-and-down economic news
Congress moved quickly to approve a $2 trillion stimulus bill, which won Wall Street’s approval. But the federal government revealed that there were 3.3 million new unemployment claims last week, a stunning number—the old record was 695,000 in 1982.
Prime territory for the virus
Workers in at least 10 Amazon warehouses have tested positive for the coronavirus, even as the company is trying to hire 100,000 new workers to deal with the massive increase in orders because of social distancing and stay-at-home protocols. The infected workers are no longer on the job, and where indicated, their workplaces have been deep-cleaned. But workers complain the company has not done enough to keep them informed.
Latest count of coronavirus cases
United States, 68,440; Massachusetts, 2,417.
Distraction of the day:
Working from home? Study up for your next Google Hangout or Zoom meeting with this New York Times article, How to Look Your Best on a Webcam.
Find BU Today’s latest coverage of the pandemic here. The University’s hotline for faculty, staff, students, and visiting scholars to call for referral of their virus-related medical concerns is 617-358-4990.