Reopening Mass. Next Week Could Lead to New Outbreak, Some Experts Say

Scientists warn that it may be too soon to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic in Massachusetts, one of the hardest-hit states in the nation

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Taking steps to reopen Massachusetts' economy next week could lead to new outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, a group of scientists told the Boston Globe.

Experts fear a broad reopening would create a second wave of infections, hospitalizations and death, according to the Globe, and question whether the state has all the necessary tools to test and trace new outbreaks. 

The state is preparing to begin the reopening process as early as May 18, when the state's stay-at-home advisory is set to expire, but Gov. Charlie Baker has yet lay out the details of his four-phased reopening plan.

With the rate of coronavirus cases trending downward, Massachusetts may meet one of federal metrics for reopening by next week, which calls for a steady decline over a period of 14 days. The state’s cases have largely decreased since May 1, the Boston Globe reports.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker revealed a four-phased approach to reopening the state, which is expected to start Monday.

Just 33 new coronavirus-related deaths were reported in Massachusetts Tuesday, the lowest number since the surge, though caused in part by a reporting issue, health officials said.

Additionally, 870 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus were reported Tuesday, bringing the total to 79,332. The death toll stands at 5,141.

On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Congress about the dangers of reopening the economy too soon.

"There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you might not be able to control," Fauci said. "In fact, paradoxically it will set you back -- not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided but it could even set you back on the road on trying to get economic recovery. "

The governor has said the state’s reopening will depend on what’s happening with the virus. He is expected to give more detail on his reopening plan Monday.

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