BU’s Global Days of Service Goes On, Virtually
Also in our Coronavirus Wednesday Roundup: no Boston Pride, SPH’s Sandro Galea gets props, and goodbye, Hotel Buckminster
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:
It feels bad to have to choose between your personal safety and your right to vote. But you have to be heard, especially if there’s people who are trying to minimize you.
Stat of the day:
Join Global Days of Service at home or online
There’s no better way to shed the gloom many of us feel now than by doing something good for someone else or for your community. One of BU’s biggest volunteer efforts, the annual Global Days of Service, brings alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends of the BU community together each April to support hundreds of nonprofits. The event, hosted by the BU Alumni Association, will go on this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated disruptions of everyday life. While in-person projects have been canceled, alumni around the world and students are encouraged to volunteer for an online or remote project—and there are many to choose from, from rating local business for the AXS maps for people with disabilities to making blankets for ill, traumatized, and needy children. Blood donations (with strict new guidelines) and personal protective equipment (PPE) donations for healthcare workers are also welcome. (Some people may also volunteer independently after checking with an organization to ensure that they are welcoming volunteers.) Find all the options here.
Global Days of Service provides an opportunity for the BU community to make an impact in local communities, driving change locally and globally. Over the past 10 years, University volunteers have served over 151,000 hours. In 2019, 2,566 volunteers participated in 159 cities worldwide.
SPH Dean Galea highlighted by LinkedIn
No surprise that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, LinkedIn has put out a list naming a dozen “Top Voices in health care that you should be following now.” No surprise either that number 11 on the list was Sandro Galea, dean of the BU School of Public Health and Robert A. Knox Professor, named for what he shares on the platform about the pandemic’s impact on society and the health gaps it intensifies.
“COVID-19 has revealed deep disparities in the health of populations. We are starting to more fully see the conditions that create poor health—the marginalization that leaves immigrants, low-wage workers, older Americans, people struggling with addiction, and other vulnerable groups at a unique disadvantage during this pandemic,” Galea wrote there recently.
LinkedIn says its “Top Voices” lists “rank the members whose content—posts, articles, videos, and comments—generate outsized downstream engagement in their industries and who reflect the world we work in today.”
Boston and Beyond News
Boston Pride 2020 is canceled
Latest casualties of the coronavirus epidemic are Boston Pride events scheduled for June, which have been pushed to June 2021, the city and organizers said Tuesday. This year is the 50th anniversary of the event. “I know this was a very hard decision to make, and I know it’s very hard news to hear, but it’s the right decision,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement. “As we fight the coronavirus pandemic, everyone’s safety and health is our top priority.”
Parking help for frontline healthcare workers
Walsh also announced new parking relief measures for healthcare workers. If a healthcare worker gets a parking ticket, the city will waive all fees if the worker appeals the ticket by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and includes both the ticket and a photo of their medical identification. This new policy also applies retroactively for tickets issued over the past month. It applies to violations like an expired meter, but not to public safety violations, such as blocking a hydrant, sidewalk, or handicap ramp. The city is also working on securing parking garages and lots across the city to offer free parking for healthcare workers. Find maps of these and other parking areas here.
Governor Charlie Baker promises major financial relief for hospitals
Baker said Tuesday that the state will infuse $800 million into the state’s healthcare system from April through July to provide health providers relief for lost revenues from missed visits and procedures canceled due to the coronavirus. Funding for this package is coming from reductions in MassHealth and from federal revenues. Half the amount, $400 million, will support 28 safety-net and high-Medicaid hospitals. This funding will address lost revenue, stabilization, and increased costs for treating COVID-19. Some $80 million will go to nursing facilities, and $300 million to other providers, including community healthcare centers.
Hotel Buckminster won’t be coming back
The Universal Hub website recognized it before we did: Kenmore Square’s historic Hotel Buckminster is closed, and not just for the duration of the coronavirus quarantine. The hotel—where the 1919 Chicago Black Sox baseball scandal was hatched, and long a favorite of folks going to Fenway Park—closed March 20 with “no plans to reopen.” And in response to queries on its Facebook page, hotel staff confirm it’s not an open-ended response to COVID-19. Facebook visitors speculate that the hotel will be renovated and reopen as a more upscale establishment.
US & Global News
Eyeing racial disparities among COVID-19 victims
In the coronavirus hotspot of Louisiana, about 70 percent of the people who have died are African American, although only a third of the state’s population is black, the New York Times reports. The data are limited, the Times says, but “the emerging statistics show black residents being infected at disturbing rates in some of the nation’s largest cities and states.” A variety of social and health disparities are being looked at as possible causes.
Latest count of coronavirus cases
United States, 383,256; Massachusetts, 15,202.
Distraction of the day: Music reccos
WGBH asked a bunch of Boston-area musicians what they’re listening to while holed up at home, away from the coronavirus. Answering were familiar names (Tanya Donelly, Kay Hanley, Bill Janovitz) and others not so much (Ballroom Thieves). The answers ranged from “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan to a Mahler symphony to “Ice Cream” by Cakeswagg.
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.