WINCHESTER - Contrary to what some people on TV or the radio said this week (or last week or the week before), the coronavirus remains a serious threat to the safety and well-being of all US citizens (including those in Massachusetts and those in Winchester and surrounding communities). In fact, we now know President Donald Trump knew early on the dangers this virus presented (not to mention how it spread) thanks to newly released audio of a conversation he had back in early February with journalist and author Bob Woodward.
The president called it an air-borne virus and admitted it could kill five times more Americans than even the worst seasonal flu outbreak. He said on average the flu kills 25,000-30,000 Americans each season. This week, the coronavirus death toll surpassed 190,000 meaning that it’s taken the lives of more than six times the number of people who die (on average) from the flu each season.
Knowing all this information back in early February (Woodward recorded his interview with the president back on Feb. 7; for perspective, the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl on Feb. 2), the president continued to hold public rallies (six in total, not counting the ones he held in June or the ones he continues to hold today).
Basically, President Trump knew the dangers of the virus and how it spread in early February, and yet the country didn’t shut down major in-person gatherings until a month later (the NCAA held conference tournament basketball games with packed arenas in March). Had the president given the American people all this information sooner, it could have saved countless lives and allowed governors and mayors to shut down their cities, towns and states much earlier.
Instead, he chose to keep this information to himself, hold rallies with thousands in attendance, ask governors to reopen states almost immediately after they finally shut down, downplay the need for masks (even though, again, he knew exactly how the virus spread), and encourage his supporters to protest lockdowns (again, knowing, and admitting privately, exactly how deadly COVID-19 was).
Thankfully, Massachusetts turned the corner and the state has done a much better job of containing the virus compared to the early months when it was one of the hardest hit areas in the country. At one point, Massachusetts had the third most cases, only trailing New York and New Jersey. Now, it only sees a few hundred cases a day as opposed to the thousands it saw back in the spring.
Locally, even though residents of Winchester and surrounding communities didn’t have all the information they needed from day one, these cities and towns managed to combat the virus and keep the death toll relatively low. Winchester has only seen eight deaths.
For total cases, as of yesterday, Winchester saw 132 with less than five in the past two weeks. The town tested 8,473 people in all with four people testing positive in the past two weeks. Some other communities fared just as well while others continue to struggle somewhat.
Belmont: 254 total cases, less than five in the past two weeks, 8,679 total tests and two positive tests in the past two weeks.
Burlington: 287 total cases, five in the past two weeks, 7,687 total tests and six positive tests in the past two weeks.
Lexington: 346 total cases, six in the past two weeks, 9,403 total tests and seven positive tests in the past two weeks.
Arlington: 348 total cases, 15 in the past two weeks, 15,279 total tests and 17 positive in the past two weeks.
Melrose: 300 total cases, five in the past two weeks, 12,006 total tests and seven positive in the past two weeks.
Reading: 326 total cases, eight in the past two weeks, 8,656 total tests and 11 positive in the past two weeks.
Stoneham: 427 total cases, 12 in the past two weeks, 8,646 total cases and 13 positive in the past two weeks.
Tewksbury: 637 total cases, seven in the past two weeks, 12,664 total tests and 11 positive in the past two weeks.
Wakefield: 348 total cases, seven in the past two weeks, 9,890 total tests and eight positive in the past two weeks.
Wilmington: 362 total cases, 11 in the past two weeks, 6,820 total tests and 15 positive in the past two weeks.
Woburn: 716 total cases, 20 in the past two weeks, 13,844 total tests and 22 positive in the past two weeks.