Mass. Reports 15 More Coronavirus Deaths, 157 New Cases

The average of positive COVID-19 tests and deaths is down about 90% since mid-April

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Massachusetts on Monday reported 15 new deaths from the coronavirus and 157 additional cases on the day the state entered Phase 3 of its reopening process.

The death toll in Massachusetts among confirmed cases now stands at 7,983 and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 104,659, according to the Department of Public Health.

The 7-day weighted average of positive tests is down 94% and the 3-day average of COVID-19 deaths is down 89% since mid-April. There are currently 603 coronavirus patients hospitalized in the state, 99 of whom are in intensive car units.

Casinos, gyms, movie theaters and museums were among the businesses allowed to reopen in Massachusetts on Monday under the third phase of Gov. Charlie Baker's coronavirus economic recovery plan, but things will look different.

Limited capacity, face coverings, more frequent cleanings and other precautions designed to prevent a new surge of COVID-19 cases will be the new normal.

The rules don’t apply to Boston and Somerville, both of which will move into phase three on July 13.

Peter Pitts, the former FDA Associate Commissioner, said industry, academia and government are working together to make an effective coronavirus vaccine available by early 2021. But the rollout is expected to be complicated, with more than one vaccine likely available and questions about which groups should be prioritized to get the vaccine first.

Although museums were allowed to welcome visitors Monday, many are delaying reopening.

Professional sports will also be able to resume playing games under Phase 3, but with no fans.

The progress in Massachusetts stands in contrast to much of the rest of the country, where cases are surging. The United States has the most infections and virus-related deaths in the world, with nearly 2.9 million cases and over 130,000 dead, according to a tally from NBC News. Experts say the true toll of the pandemic is significantly higher, due to people who died before they were tested and missed mild cases.

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