Category Archives: COVID-19

Digital tech bad for kids

Wisdom and a warning this morning from the New York Times – see below – connect to article here

“What makes less sense to me is why our society has done so little to protect children from the apparent damages of ubiquitous digital media. They are almost certainly larger for most children than the threat from Covid.”

Also, there was an excellent 60 Minutes piece on Sunday on the increased mental health issues youth are experiencing – via this link

May 10, 2022
Author HeadshotBy David Leonhardt
Good morning. We look at the mental health crisis facing adolescents — and the role of digital technology.
The local Boys and Girls Club in Glasgow, Ky.Annie Flanagan for The New York Times
On the phone, alone
Many measures of adolescent mental health began to deteriorate sometime around 2009. It is true of the number of U.S. high-school students who say they feel persistently sad or hopeless. It’s also true of reported loneliness. And it is true of emergency room visits for self-harm among Americans ages 10 to 19.
This timing is suspicious because internet use among adolescents was also starting to soar during the same period. Apple began selling the iPhone in 2007. Facebook opened itself for general use in late 2006, and one-third of Americans were using it by 2009.
Last month, The Times began publishing a series on adolescent mental health, and the latest piece — focusing on pediatricians who are struggling to help — has just published.
The author of the series is Matt Richtel, who has spent more than a year interviewing adolescents, their relatives and their friends. In my recent conversations with Matt about his reporting, he has gone out of his way to emphasize the uncertainty about the specific causes of the crisis, including how much of a role social media plays.
“When you look at specific research on the role of social media impacting young people, it’s quite conflicted,” he said. Some studies find that adolescents who use social media heavily are more likely to feel sad or depressed, while others find little or no effect. There is no proof that, say, TikTok or social media’s “like” button is causing the mental-health crisis.
But Matt also thinks that some of these narrow questions of cause and effect are secondary. What seems undeniable, he points out, is that surging use of digital technology has changed life’s daily rhythms.
It has led adolescents to spend less time on in-person activities, like dating, hanging out with friends and attending church. Technology use has also contributed to declines in exercise and sleep. The share of high-school students who slept at least eight hours a night fell 30 percent from 2007 to 2019, Derek Thompson of The Atlantic has noted.
Technology use is not the sole cause of these trends. Modern parenting strategies, among other factors, play a role as well. But digital technology — be it social media, video games, text messaging or other online activity — plays a strong role, many experts say.
“If you’re not getting some outdoor relief time and enough sleep — and you can almost stop at not enough sleep — any human being is challenged,” Matt said. “When you get the pubescent brain involved in that equation, you are talking about somebody being really, really challenged to feel contented and peaceful and happy with the world around them.”
The role of any specific social-media platform or behavior may remain unknown, but the larger story about American adolescents and their emotional struggles is less mysterious.
“They have too much screen time, they’re not sleeping, on phones all the time,” Dr. Melissa Dennison, a pediatrician in central Kentucky who sees many unhappy adolescents, told Matt. Dennison regularly encourages her patients to take walks outdoors or attend church.
It’s true that the decline of in-person interactions has had a few silver linings. Today’s adolescents are less likely to use tobacco, drink alcohol or get pregnant. But the net effect of less socializing is negative. Most human beings struggle when they are not spending time in the company of others.
The Covid-19 pandemic, of course, has exacerbated isolation, loneliness and depression. In December, the U.S. surgeon general warned of a “devastating” mental health crisis among America’s youth.
A 12-year-old patient of Dr. Dennison in Kentucky.Annie Flanagan for The New York Times
I find Covid to be a particularly relevant comparison. Over the past two-plus years, millions of American parents have demonstrated intense concern for their children by trying to protect them from Covid. Fortunately, Covid happens to be mild for the vast majority of children, causing neither severe illness nor long-term symptoms. One sign of that: Young children, not yet eligible for vaccination, are at considerably less risk on average than vaccinated people over 65.
Still, I understand why so many parents remain anxious. Covid is new and scary. It taps into parents’ fierce protective instincts.
What makes less sense to me is why our society has done so little to protect children from the apparent damages of ubiquitous digital media. They are almost certainly larger for most children than the threat from Covid.

COVID response chart

From today’s enewsletter from the Charles River Regional Chamber –

COVID-19 SYMPTOMS FLOWCHART
• SYMPTOMS: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches,
headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
• SYMPTOM TIMELINE: Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
• A CLOSE CONTACT: This is generally someone who has been near a person with COVID-19 for at least 15
minutes when health and safety measures were not in place or were insufficient.
• SYMPTOMS RESOLVING: No fever, no persistent runny nose, no persistent cough, no sore throat, no
vomiting, no diarrhea.
I was in contact
with a person that
was in contact with a
COVID+ individual
I have
symptoms
I was in close contact
with a COVID+
individual
I was in contact
with a COVID+
individual
Test
Negative Positive
Vaxed more than 6
months ago,
J & J - more than 2
months ago
Vaxed within last 6
months,
J & J - 2 months or
boostered
Isolate for 5 days with
resolving/ending symptoms.
Day 0 is whichever day is first
onset of symptoms or the
positive result.
Day 1 isolation begins the day
after day 0.
With continuing symptoms after
day 5, remain isolated until 24
hours after symptoms resolve
(see above)
Isolate for 5 days
5 days of mask
wearing when around others
10 days of mask
wearing when around others
Monitor for symptoms
*This chart is intended as a guide and does not substitute for professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals

Wastewater indicates COVID really spiking

Email this afternoon from the METROPOLITAN AREA PLANNING COUNCIL (MAPC) – the graph should be all the warning we need – be careful – COVID must be everywhere – “Yesterday’s wastewater analysis from the MWRA indicates a level of infection unseen during the pandemic.”

COVID-19 Update   Amid new wastewater data, MAPC will share resources and expert information to assist municipal officials in pandemic response
Good afternoon Mayors, Managers, and local officials.  

Let me start by wishing you, your families, and staff a happy and healthy New Year. For many of us, 2021 has proven to be a very challenging year, but as we look ahead to 2022, we are in a much stronger position to address COVID-19 than we were a year ago:  

We have vaccines, and high vaccination rates compared to the rest of the country. Vaccines and boosters are tamping down serious illness and death. 

We have committed and science-driven federal partners, who have appropriated vast resources through CARES and ARPA. Just one month ago, the Legislature responded to calls from the Governor and all of you to pass legislation appropriating over $6 billion in ARPA funds for a wide range of critical purposes, from housing to small business support to expanded public health.

We have an ongoing and productive dialogue with our state leaders. Many of our counterparts in other parts of the country can only wish for such a level of collaboration.  

Most importantly, you have each other. In a career that now spans 40 years, I have never seen such an impactful level of collaboration among municipal leaders. That has helped to get us through 2021, and that regional approach will help to get us to a stronger 2022.  

I want to take this opportunity to update you on our current COVID status and offer ways that MAPC can help.  

Yesterday’s wastewater analysis from the MWRA indicates a level of infection unseen during the pandemic. Wastewater data has been a consistent indicator of the volume of COVID-19 cases who are actively shedding virus, whether they are symptomatic or not. The chart below indicates the results of wastewater testing in the northern half of the MWRA district (green) and the southern half (orange), but the results are similar across the district.
Of course, we are worried this data predicts a likely surge in illness and hospitalizations over the next few weeks, even if Omicron illness is less severe than Delta.  

As you know, hospitals are already full, elective procedures are postponed, health care staff are stretched and tired, and many are out with COVID themselves. The number of deaths in the Commonwealth has also been creeping up for weeks. Yesterday, the 7-day average published by DPH stood at 26.5, or 795 people per month. We mourn these losses deeply, and must take steps to reduce further devastation in our communities.   We are already in touch with the Baker Administration to discuss additional steps they can take on a statewide basis to address the current surge. If we have any news of additional actions from the Commonwealth, we will share that information with you immediately.    At the same time, city and town leaders remain our frontline defense. Many of you are already taking critical steps to safeguard your residents and have implemented policies related to masking, testing, vaccines, boosters, and more. These critical steps can actively reduce the number of individuals who become infected, which in turn reduces serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Cities and towns can do this on their own, or – better still – they can collaborate with their neighbors.  

Beginning next Monday, January 3, MAPC will being distributing recommendations and sample documents to help you over the next month. 

We will also be organizing additional calls among mayors and managers, both to share best practices and to learn from experts who can provide you with the latest information science can provide.   Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions and concerns. We are here to help. Despite all of these challenges, please remain hopeful! Again, from all of us at MAPC to all of you, may 2022 be a blessed, happy, and healthy year.   With warm regards,   Marc Draisen Executive Director Metropolitan Area Planning Council

State helps town order tests

From the Division of Local Services (DLS) at DOR this afternoon –

Baker-Polito Administration Announces COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits Available to Municipalities, Other Entities Direct from Manufacturers

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced contracts with COVID-19 at-home test manufacturers that will allow municipalities and eligible entities to begin the process of placing orders for rapid test kits for their constituents that utilize the state-negotiated prices on these contracts. These contracts build on an announcement earlier this month that the Administration secured 2.1 million iHealth Labs over-the-counter at-home rapid antigen tests that were delivered to 102 cities and towns in Massachusetts with the highest percentage of families below the poverty level, according to US Census data. Municipalities are eligible to utilize American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to purchase test kits.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts continues to take steps to ensure access to COVID-19 at-home rapid antigen test kits, which are a critical tool to mitigate transmission of COVID-19. As demand for these test kits remains high across the country, the Operational Services Division (OSD) is sharing this update to ensure that buyers such as municipalities, educational institutions, and other entities understand all options available to them.

Guidance is available for entities looking to purchase rapid test kits for distribution to their constituents, not individuals looking to purchase test kits. Information is also available related to the following: COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits Available Direct from Manufacturers COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits Available from Distributors Ancillary Goods Available for Purchase or Rent OSD Recommendations for Ordering Local officials with questions are encouraged to contact the OSD Help Desk at osdhelpdesk@mass.gov or at 1-888-627-8283. For detailed information on testing, visit mass.gov/gettested.
 

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us About Worker Safety

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PETERSON | Law
Osler “Pete” Peterson
617-969-1500 – Newton
August 2021
Attorney Photo
Mental Health Support During COVID-19
COVID-19 has affected us all, both physically and mentally. Anxiety, exhaustion, frustration, and loneliness are influencing our daily lives and can be overwhelming. As the pandemic lingers, it is important to care for your mental and physical health. If you or someone you love needs mental health support during this difficult time, help is available. Check out these resources from Mental Health America, including guidance for frontline workers, wellness and coping, caregiving, parenting, marginalized communities, and more.
Continue reading.


covid worker safety
The COVID-19 pandemic upended how we shop, educate, socialize, and of course, work. And while many people were able to work from home, there are those heroes who venture out every day for their jobs, putting themselves at great risk. Some companies protected their employees … and some definitely did not. Read on for our overview of workplace safety during COVID-19 and what we might expect for an uncertain future.
READ MORE

BY THE NUMBERS

40%
According to one study, restaurant workers saw their chances of dying during the pandemic double to 40%.
READ MORE

VIDEO BOOKMARK
Extreme Stress on Health Care Workers
Many healthcare and frontline workers suffered from overwhelming mental stress during the pandemic. 
VIEW VIDEO

THE DOCKET
GET TOWN OF MEDFIELD INFORMATION AT MY BLOG

CORONAVIRUS OVERSIGHT
The U.S. Government Accountability Office tracks the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic and more than $4.7 trillion in spending. 
READ MORE

CDC Guidance – 7/27

From the CDC 7/27/21 –

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated

How to Protect Yourself and Others

Updated July 27, 2021Languages

Print

Safer Activities for You and Your Family

Friends and family grilling outside
  • If you are fully vaccinated, you can participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic.
  • To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
  • Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area.
  • You should continue to wear a mask where required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance.

band aid light icon If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, find a vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can do things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.

Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated: ±

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.

If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be protected even if you are fully vaccinated. You should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people until advised otherwise by your healthcare provider.

 What You Can Do

COVID-19_banner_when_fully_vaccinated_01

If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • To reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
  • You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
    • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
    • You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms. You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative. You should isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive.

What You Should Keep Doing

multiple images of people doing everyday things

For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.
  • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others.
  • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).
  • Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested 3 days before travel by air into the United States (or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months) and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others. If your test is positive, isolate at home for 10 days.
  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system, should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.

What We Know

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, including severe illness and death.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are effective against severe disease and death from variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 currently circulating in the United States, including the Delta variant.
  • Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. When these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild.
  • If you are fully vaccinated and become infected with the Delta variant, you can spread the virus to others.
  • People with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications, may not be protected even if fully vaccinated.

What We’re Still Learning

  • How long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.

Want to learn more about these recommendations? Read our expanded Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.

± This guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines.  This guidance can also be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g. AstraZeneca/Oxford).

Related Pages

Post-COVID planning for downtown – please take the survey

From Town Planner, Sarah Raposa –

In December 2020, the Town of Medfield submitted an application to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to take part in the Local Rapid Recovery Planning Program (LRRP). The LRRP is intended to provide municipalities in Massachusetts with the opportunity to develop actionable, project-based recovery plans tailored to the unique economic challenges and COVID-19 related impacts to downtowns, town centers and commercial areas across the Commonwealth. Additional information is available on the LRRP website.

There are three phases for this program:

Phase 1 (Diagnostic) was completed from April to June 2021 and included data collection from the study area (see below for a map of the study area, Note: not shown, but the study area includes Basil’s on Frairy Street) to assess the current state of the physical environment and its impacts on customers and businesses and the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses in the study area.

Phase 2 (Project Recommendations) is currently ongoing and involves reviewing data compiled during Phase 1 and obtaining feedback from the community to develop recommendations for projects intended to help Medfield achieve its recovery goals.

Phase 3 (Rapid Recovery Plan Development) will be completed in August 2021 and will involve development of strategic project recommendations based on information gathered in Phases 1 and 2 and best practices collected from communities throughout the Commonwealth and the country. BerryDunn was paired with the Town to serve as Plan Facilitator for the program. On April 14, 2021 a BerryDunn team conducted a site visit of Medfield’s study area. The team collected data on the physical and business environment and presented findings to the Board of Selectmen on June 1, 2021. The BerryDunn team is currently working with Town officials to obtain feedback from the community for Phase 2. Please use the links in the survey to provide your thoughts on the study area, including suggestions for physical improvements, regulatory changes, economic development challenges, or simply your experience as a business owner, employee, customer, resident, or visitor to downtown Medfield. 

The LRRP approach considers six facets of downtown economic development including: 

  • Public Realm:  streets, sidewalks, public parks and other public spaces
  • Private Realm: commercial buildings, storefronts, parking lots and open space on private property
  • Revenue & Sales:  strategies for increasing revenue of existing businesses; issues impacting business growth and customer traffic
  • Administrative Capacity:  government regulations, staffing and oversight; organizational management of the district or business association
  • Culture & Arts:  public art, arts and cultural institutions, businesses, events, educational facilities, etc.
  • Tenants Mix:  attraction and retention of businesses and particular business types

Comments, suggestions and ideas are loosely organized in these categories above and can be posted on the Ideas Wall or by using the Study Area Map.

Survey Webpage: https://berrydunn.mysocialpinpoint.com/town-of-medfield 

We appreciate your thoughts!


Best,
Sarah

Sarah Raposa, AICP

Town Planner
459 Main Street
Medfield, MA  02052
Office Phone: (508) 906-3027

Work Cell: (339) 206-1773
sraposa@medfield.net  

www.town.medfield.net

Out of Office: last week of July and last week of August

Gov. signs extension of some COVID measures

From Division of Local Services (DLS) –

An Act Relative to Extending Certain COVID-19 Measures Adopted During the State of Emergency

On June 16th, the Governor signed into law Ch. 20 of the Acts of 2021, extending certain pandemic-related policy measures including authorizations for remote public meetings, to-go alcohol sales, eviction protections and more. Click here to view the law.

For additional related information and resources, please see the DLS COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for Municipal Officials page.
 

COVID extension bill to Governor

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association this morning –

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Breaking News from the MMA

 

Legislature sends pandemic policy extension bill to governor

Late last night, the Legislature sent a compromise bill to the governor to extend certain special allowances that were tied to the COVID-19 state of emergency, which had expired nearly 24 hours earlier.

The Senate passed its version of the bill last Thursday, and the House approved its version yesterday afternoon. A six-member conference committee worked out differences between the two bills into the evening.

In the end, the committee decided to leave some items on the table for further discussion in order to fast-track the more time-sensitive provisions, like extending the allowance for public bodies to hold remote meetings, which ended at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday.

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Don’t Let a Playground Injury Ruin Outdoor Fun

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PETERSON | Law
Osler “Pete” Peterson
617-969-1500 – Newton
June 2021
Attorney Photo

How to Avoid COVID-19 on Playgrounds

Thanks to national vaccinations, COVID-19 numbers are declining for adults. But vaccines are not currently available to children under 12, meaning they are still vulnerable to the virus. The question then: Is it safe to take your kids to the park? Doctors say “yes,” as long as you follow basic precautions such as:

* Wear masks and practice social distancing.
* Bring your own toys and food, and don’t let your kids share these with others.
* Wash or sanitize your kids’ hands before and after play.
* Find a different playground if the park is especially crowded or come back later.
Continue reading.


boy on playground

Don’t Let a Playground Injury Ruin Outdoor Fun This Summer

Ah, playgrounds and summer – the perfect combo for millions of children on school break and bursting to get outside. Not surprisingly, playground injuries spike in June, some serious and most preventable. Don’t let a playground injury ruin outdoor fun for the kids in your life this summer with these tips on equipment, clothing and safe behavior.
READ MORE


BY THE NUMBERS

5 to 9

Children ages 5 to 9 have the highest rate of emergency room visits among the more than 200,000 kids injured each year on playgrounds.
READ MORE


VIDEO BOOKMARK

Join the Danger Rangers Before Playtime

The first step to protecting children from playground injury is to talk to them about safety. Here’s a video to watch together before hitting the monkey bars. 
VIEW VIDEO

THE DOCKET
GET TOWN OF MEDFIELD INFORMATION AT MY BLOG


ALL KIDS DESERVE PLAYGROUND FUN

This website will help caregivers find playgrounds that are safe and accessible for kids with disabilities or help DIYers build their own!
READ MORE
You Should Know is a copyrighted publication of Voice2News, LLC, and is made possible by the attorney shown above. This newsletter is intended for the interest of past and present clients and other friends of this lawyer. It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.