Vaccinations race against “impending doom”

Boston Statehouse

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal coronavirus response on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Since last Monday, the number of people in Massachusetts fully vaccinated against COVID-19 has grown by more than 17 percent. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has also increased, by about 11 percent.

On the day that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a former Massachusetts General Hospital infectious diseases physician, reflected on the sense of “impending doom” she feels over the pandemic’s trajectory in the United States, Massachusetts public health officials reported 675 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 15 recent deaths.

Counting 340 deaths of people with probable cases of COVID-19, the state’s death toll stands at 17,130 since March 20 of last year. The average positive test rate for the past seven days is 2.37 percent, up from 2.25 percent a week ago.

Massachusetts could surpass a total of 600,000 COVID-19 cases this week — the cumulative caseload hit 594,242 on Monday with the addition of 1,464 newly confirmed cases, from 41,771 tests. The state crossed the half-million case threshold on Feb. 1, 2021, a year after the first COVID-19 case here was confirmed.

State and local governments should receive their latest infusion of federal stimulus funding around the second week in May, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch said Monday, describing cities and towns as “in desperate need of funding…just for the core costs of dealing with the pandemic.”

The pandemic’s financial toll proved too heavy a burden for Worcester-based Becker College, whose trustees announced that the school would close after its May 8 graduation. “Ultimately, the impacts of COVID-19 turned what was a very challenging situation into an unsustainable situation,” Becker President Nancy Crimmin said in a statement.

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