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Our Opinion: Clarity, information are critical these days

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Gov. Baker spoke with clarity Sunday night on new policies regarding the state's reaction to the spread of the coronavirus. This was a welcome change from late last week when the administration was less forthcoming about testing than it should be and less forthcoming than neighboring states have been.

Under pressure from the media and elected officials, among them Attorney General Maura Healey, the governor acknowledged Saturday that the state had only tested 475 people for coronavirus. There was also initial confusion as to whether the state was referring to the number of people tested or the number of specimens tested, as more than one specimen is taken from each person. Admittedly the state, like all states, has been hamstrung by the Trump administration's slow response to the virus but the addition of two private testing centers will help the state catch up.

But information is needed now, and clarity also, as the concerns of residents increase. The Eagle is doing its part to keep our community as connected and informed as possible in these difficult times through the news, editorials, opinion page columns and letters to the editor.

On Sunday night, the governor lowered the limit from 275 people in public gatherings to 25, one of the most strict limits in the nation. All restaurants will be limited to take-out as of Tuesday. There will be an economic cost here to all manner of businesses but limiting the spread of the virus obviously has to be the governor's top priority. These restrictions, along with the closing of schools for three weeks, are supposed to be lifted on April 6, but realistically that will depend on the success or lack of same in dealing with the virus.

The governor deserves credit for acknowledging that there is a cost to the policy of social isolation being instituted to curtail the virus' spread. We are social animals, and the governor urged people to stay in touch with friends and relatives, as well as those who are isolated and need an encouraging word. The governor has added to the federal ban issued Friday on visitors to nursing homes and rest homes by prohibiting visitors to assisted living residences. While necessary, this will be difficult on residents.

We have telephones and email, however, as well as a variety of ways to connect through social media. While we cannot actually "stick together" in getting through this crisis we can do so virtually. In the process we should consider anyone who may be left out of the loop and see that they are included.

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