Ayanna Pressley Says Mass. Isn't Ready to Reopen, Urges Baker to Re-Evaluate

The Democratic congresswoman said Monday's announcement "left us with more questions than answers"

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Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley took to Twitter on Tuesday to criticize Gov. Charlie Baker's plan to reopen Massachusetts, saying the state isn't ready and he should re-evaluate his timeline.

"MA isn't ready to 'reopen,'" Pressley tweeted Tuesday morning. "Policy decisions that offer a false choice between public health & economic recovery will hurt our communities."

"I urge @MassGovernor to re-evaluate his timeline & invest in the supports needed to keep our families safe."

Baker on Monday outlined a phased-in approach to gradually restart the Massachusetts economy, which was largely shuttered as the state ramped up its fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The Republican governor closed all but essential businesses on March 23.

In the first phase to begin this week, manufacturing and construction will be allowed to reopen provided they follow guidance and standards meant to protect against the spread of the virus. Houses of worship will also be allowed to resume services if they can also follow social distancing guidance. Outdoor services are encouraged.

But Pressley, a Democrat, said Monday's announcement "left us with more questions than answers," adding that she's been on the phone with families worried about child care, faith leaders concerned it isn't safe to gather and small businesses worried about their workers' health and about access to personal protective equipment.

Though the numbers have been trending in the right direction in recent weeks, Massachusetts on Monday reported 65 new deaths and 1,042 additional cases from the coronavirus outbreak.

The state's COVID-19 death toll now stands at 5,862, while 87,052 people total have tested positive for the virus, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Trends in Each State

The official guidelines propose either a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases within two weeks or a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests for states to lift quarantine measures.

As shown below, when you compare yesterday’s new case count with that of two weeks ago, the number is often lower, simply because the counts fluctuate. Critics call the measures vague and ultimately because they aren't binding, some states have chosen to reopen whether they meet the criteria or not.

Source: The COVID Tracking Project
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC

If health data trends are negative, specific industries, regions or the entire state may need to return to an earlier phase, Baker said Monday.

Massachusetts has had the third-highest number of deaths of any state, after New York and New Jersey.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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