Baker urges caution around large gatherings

Health

BOSTON (SHNS) – Anyone planning a large outdoor family gathering this summer “should either put them off or be really careful” if any attendee’s age or health conditions put them at greater risk for a severe case of COVID-19, Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday.

“One of the things we know absolutely about COVID is if you have multiple comorbidities, if you are over the age of 75 and especially if you’re over the age of 85, you are at extreme risk of getting severely ill if you get that virus. And therefore, any big group that involves people who fall into those categories, I think people should either put them off or be really careful,” the governor said Tuesday afternoon. “For some of us who don’t fall into those categories, maybe COVID is not as big a deal, especially if you’re vaccinated. But even if you are vaccinated among some of those more vulnerable populations, we should all be very careful.”

Baker’s comments came in response to being asked whether he was invited to the 60th birthday party that former President Barack Obama is reportedly planning to throw this weekend on Martha’s Vineyard. Baker said he was not invited but “would have declined because I think 700 people at an event like that is not a good idea.”

When reporters asked if the governor felt it was not a good idea even though the party is reportedly going to be held outdoors, the governor said it is a “judgment call all the way around.” “But that’s the beauty of judgment calls, we can all make our own decision about what we think is most appropriate to us,” he said, adding that a large outdoor gathering of his own family would include his father, who is older than 90.

Baker said he visited his father this past weekend and “wore a mask the entire time I was with him.” Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito have a Sept. 2 fundraiser planned, with entertainment from blues musician James Montgomery, at the Mashpee home of prominent Boston public relations executive George Regan.

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