Lack of test fails to capture scope
BY JOSH RESNEK
Everett has entered the fifth week of the coronavirus shutdown with rising infections, deaths, and a host of social and economic realities that are placing the city, the state and the nation under more pressure as time goes by.
Very little testing is being done here to determine the full sweep of the virus’ infection rate, which is believed by public health officials to be much higher than what has been reported.
The city reported Tuesday that 617 residents have been infected, up from about 400 last week.
That’s a dramatic spike.
Deaths are indeterminate but are likely in the 7-12 range or maybe a higher number that cannot be determined exactly because some victims may have died from the virus without knowing it.
In neighboring Chelsea, the virus infections have exploded. Chelsea is now number one in the state for infections. Everett is number six. Revere is number nine.
Testing for the virus remains non-existent here, except for those showing symptoms or hospitalized at various health facilities.
An estimated 20% of the Everett population might be carrying the virus, according to state public health officials. But this cannot be determined exactly without testing.
Also, the city has imposed a face mask ordinance requiring everyone entering public places five and older to wear a facemask or face covering.
The economic toll the virus and shutdown are taking on the city are becoming more evident as time passes.
At least five thousand Everett residents, maybe more, have been put out of their jobs in restaurants, clubs, gyms, bars, and commercial outlets of every kind.
Larger businesses too, have made layoffs and employee cuts across the board.
Some of the pain this causes has been cut by unemployment benefits and stimulus checks which have begun arriving en masse by electronic transfer in peoples’ checking accounts.
A number of real estate owners that we have spoken with reported that many tenants have responded to the crisis by not paying their
rent – a situation for them and for the owners of the property.
This has giant consequences if this shutdown goes on and on.
Real estate agents throughout the city and the state have been stymied by the virus and the shutdown.
The real estate market has suffered a total and immediate collapse.
A few real estate deals that were in the banking pipeline were transacted in mid-March and early April. Buyers who have placed deposits down on properties feel compelled to go through with the purchase or lose their down payment.
However, the moment they have purchased their property in the present environment, they can- not sell it for even close to what they paid because the buyer’s pool has evaporated.
For the immediate future, real estate is dead and equities are all in question in the down market caused by the virus.
To protect the interest of those who cannot pay their mortgages or their rent, Senator Sal DiDomenico has entered legislation to disallow foreclosures and evictions during this time.
Car dealers are also suffering. Car sales have collapsed. Most of the city’s used car lots are having a tough time attracting buyers.
With so many out of work, buying a car is made almost impossible for middle class residents.
The schools remaining closed represents another key issue.
Many parents who are still working cannot leave their children behind and cannot afford child care and with the virus all around, child care is almost non-existent.
June will be budget time for the schools and the city.
There is already talk among city administrators that without an injection of millions of dollars from the state and federal government that there will be difficulties maintaining rich budgets and paying the present contingent of schoolteachers and city employees.
First responders are experiencing day to day disaster situations while at the same time risking their own lives and the health and welfare of their families by responding.