BOSTON (WWLP) – Tuesday, Representatives Natalie M. Blais (D-Sunderland) and Mindy Domb (D-Amherst) brought legislation forward that would memorialize: those lost to the COVID-19 virus, acknowledge the suffering of COVID-19 survivors, and recognize the efforts of volunteers and essential workers in communities across the state.
According to a statement released by the General Court of the Massachusetts State House, the proposed legislation is similar to that proposed by Rep. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Ed Markey at the federal level. The legislation would designate the first Monday in March as “COVID–19 Remembrance Day” in Massachusetts.
“When this pandemic is over, a sense of loss will remain,” said Blais. “Establishing a day of remembrance provides the space for our constituents to grieve, to heal, to express gratitude for those who have cared for us, and to recognize the changes we need to consider to protect every community across the Commonwealth.”
As of Wednesday, in the United States over 39 million people have been infected with COVID-19, and over 642,000 have died as a result. According to the released statement, it is believed that that low-income communities and communities of color were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Evidence for this is seen in the numbers of infection and death counts.
“A remembrance day offers all of us, as a commonwealth, a way to acknowledge the immense personal and collective loss of those who have died from COVID. A designated day also gives us a chance to acknowledge the many who have survived COVID-19 and those who still struggle with the effects of the virus, while recognizing those health care providers and essential workers who sacrificed so much and delivered critical services to our communities during this crisis.” Domb said. “The pandemic is not yet over. The bill creates an opportunity for acknowledgement, shared grief and comfort, reflection, and respect.”
The COVID-19 vaccine is free in the State of Massachusetts to everyone over the age of 12.