CT Covid-19 Deaths Surpass 5,000; Lamont Resists Closing Gyms, Suspending Indoor Dining for Now

In a press conference on Monday Governor Ned Lamont, who mentioned he was happy to be out of quarantine himself, shared a -3-day Covid-19 summary.

He said CT’s 4.4% positivity rate actually reflected a slight decrease.

“It’s been going down over a week. We were at 5.8% a couple weeks ago. That is hopeful,” he said. “

We’ve got to continue to do our best to tell the truth to the people of Connecticut, to say why the decisions we make are in their best interest, and 90% of what we do to stop the virus depends on their appropriate behavior. We’ll find out in the next few weeks if we can bend the curve a second time.”

Governor Ned Lamont

He noted that while hospitalizations and fatalities increasing, they are lagging indicators.

There were 59 additional fatalities over 3 days for a total of 5,020 in eight months. Deaths had more than tripled since the start of November compared to October.

Lamont said the models forecast that the peak of the second wave of Covid will come some in January, possibly earlier.

The dotted yellow line is positivity (7 day average) and blue lines are the numbers of people in the hospital.
Green is the best and that’s VT and Hawaii. The lighter the color the better. CT is yellow, as is neighbors like NY and ME with less than 5%. Idaho and South Dakota are at 30%+ for perspective. “We’re still the 5th or 6th lowest in the country, which is good,” Lamont said.

Vice President Pence’s Covid Task Force Meeting with Governors

The Governor said he just attended one of Vice President Mike Pence’s last Covid task force meetings.

“We were all on the same page. Everyone was wearing a mask, from the vice president and everyone around the table, and the governors, unless they were speaking,” he said.

An update from the task force meeting concerned vaccines.

“Probably by Dec 14 we could get our first 20,000 doses of (Pfizer) vaccine. And probably a week later we’ll get another 20,000 doses from Moderna – 95% effective,” he said. “Dr. Fauci was on, and said not only is it safe, it’s surprisingly effective.

In-Person Learning at Public Schools

“Dr. Fauci was very clear when he said this weekend to say, ‘Close the bars. Open the schools. And you can do it safely,'” Lamont said.

Fran Rabinowitz, director of the CT Association of Public School Superintendents, said superintendents have reported higher attendance for in-person learning, and that mitigating strategies were working.

“We know that in person schooling is so effective for all of our kids, but most especially for our youngest kids and our students with disabilities.”

“They’re also saying if they are forced to close, it’s not because of transmission of Covid,” Rabinowitz added. “It’s because they do not have enough staff to cover classrooms while staff are quarantining because they’ve been exposed outside school.”

Also, she said, “We’ve heard from the kids themselves – it’s so important for them to have the relationship with their teacher and fellow classmates. And it cuts down the isolation and some of the issues families have developed because of Covid.”

Governor Lamont noted that New York City Mayor DeBlasio announced Sunday that New York City Schools would reopen, at least for some children in younger grades and children with disabilities.

Gyms and Indoor Dining

Lamont said on of the day’s headlines varied referred to a letter from dozens of CT doctors urging the state to close gyms and indoor dining.

“Others say ‘No, you have to leave gyms and indoor dining open. It’s important for our mental health. It’s important for our economic health,'” he said.

“You don’t have to do a lot by fiat,” he said. “The people of CT continue to do the right thing.”

And while the results of behavior over Thanksgiving won’t be in for another week or two, he said Metro-North reported travel was down 85% and driving was down about 30% related to Thanksgiving.

“Restaurants have worked really hard to stay open and do it safely,” he continued, adding that analysis of Open Table offered a snapshot of behavior.

Restaurants were down 3% from Sept 2019 to Sept 2020.

Restaurants were down 18% from October 2019 to October 2020.

Restaurants were down 43% from November 2019 to November 2020.

“People tend to do what they’re comfortable with, and that’s what keeps them safe,” he said, adding that he would continue to look at numbers carefully, including whether hospital ICUs and staffing were being overwhelmed.

“I don’t think we’re close to that,” he said, adding that he did take the letter to heart and planned to talk to the doctors on Tuesday.

“I could shut down schools, shut down restaurants, lock everything up and say let’s come back in the new year,'” he said. “I think we have a good balance now. We can always change course of we have to.”

“We’re hoping with the institution of mandatory wearing of masks in gyms, which went into effect last week, that will help reduce the risk,” said Josh Geballe, Lamont’s chief operating officer. “We worry the most about indoor interactions with no masks.”


Lamont said CT should receive vaccines before the end of the year.

“Dec 14 is the date they’re hoping for at Pfizer,” he said, adding that the state has been working closely with CVS and Walgreens on distribution.

He said a focus in the near term will be on getting vaccines to nursing homes and hospitals, and that teachers will also be considered frontline workers.

Federal Aid

The Governor said he was eager for a deal for aid from the federal government, and explained a comment he made earlier in the day comparing Mitch McConnell to Herbert Hoover.

“The feds just can’t make up their mind what they’re going to do,” Lamont said, adding that states are running out of money.

“In terms of vaccinations and testing, states are coming up against the wall right now. You’ve heard a lot over the last few weeks about how restaurants need help, hospitals need help, universities need help, not-for-profits need help. If I bail them all out, who is going to bail out our state?” he asked. “The feds have got to do the right thing to fend off what could be a really severe recession….Let’s take something…Make a deal.”

See also:

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Nov 25, 2020