Empty planes, all-night drives: The Mass. delegation rushed back to D.C. to vote on the coronavirus bill

Massachusetts' US House delegation rushed back to Washington on Thursday and Friday to help ensure passage of the $2.2 trillion rescue package.

Stuck inside during coronavirus outbreak, many are using the downtime to tap into new and old skills

Some people are rediscovering passion projects they’d long ago abandoned, or broadening their horizons when it comes to their favorite hobbies.

A cry for help from inmates caught in a coronavirus outbreak in Bridgewater

Fourteen inmates and staff members at the Massachusetts Treatment Center have tested positive for COVID-19, but inmates say they have no way to protect themselves.

In state’s intense chase for protective equipment, coronavirus isn’t the only rival

In the span of a several days, Marylou Sudders and a team of state officials confirmed two separate orders last week: One for hundreds of N95 respirator masks and another promising shipments of 35 ventilators to Massachusetts, every week, for the “foreseeable future," the state’s health and human services secretary said. They represented victories, if relatively small ones compared to the millions of pieces of equipment the state is chasing. That is, until, it ran into a force seemingly as immovable as the novel coronavirus.

Latest Metro headlines

Rhode Island to New Yorkers: If you come here, stay indoors

At a time when life and work and routines are changing every day, Rhode Islanders awoke Saturday to this: The sight of National Guardsmen, in camouflage and surgical masks, tracking down and corralling dangerous interlopers: New Yorkers.

Against a stealthy virus, a united front

The survey reveals an extraordinary sense of shared purpose in the face of an unprecedented crisis, with Massachusetts residents nearly unanimous in their support for the severe restrictions that Governor Charlie Baker has imposed on life in the state to help slow the highly contagious virus.

Two Berkley teens killed in fiery car crash; third teen injured

Christian Couto, 19, and Devyn Crosby, 18, both Berkley residents, died when a 2009 BMW belonging to Couto’s father struck a tree Friday night.

‘I just don’t want her to wither away’: visiting Mom through an open window

As the coronavirus has spread with terrifying speed, Jean Follett’s daughters have grappled with the same questions confronting anyone with a loved one in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Some nursing homes could be used for coronavirus treatment centers as Mass. reports more than 1,000 new cases

It’s an unusual, complex move that underscores the immense scale of a crisis that threatens to overwhelm Massachusetts hospitals.

Yvonne Abraham


Abraham is a Metro columnist. Her work appears on Thursdays and Sundays.

Thomas Farragher


Farragher is a Globe columnist and associate editor. He spent eight years as editor of the Spotlight Team.

Adrian Walker


Walker has been a columnist for the Metro section since 1998. His column runs Mondays and Wednesdays.

Special reports

The house at 212 Forest St.

He bought the fencing coach’s house. Then his son got into Harvard

The Needham house was assessed at $549,300, but sold for nearly a million dollars. The buyer, who never lived a day there, would sell it 17 months later at a substantial loss in what may become the next chapter in the national debate over fairness in college admissions.

More Metro headlines

Cutbacks for some doctors and nurses as they battle on the front line

These financial cutbacks, coming in response to sudden shortfalls during the coronavirus outbreak, have triggered an outcry from doctors and nurses who are already working grueling shifts in demanding working conditions.

No dining in restaurants, but what about takeout lines?

Since Governor Charlie Baker ordered restaurants and bars to stop serving food and drinks on site two weeks ago, concerns have been raised about whether the ban just shifted the risk from the dining room to the take-out line as restaurant patrons gather en masse at meal times to pick up food to go.

Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is losing its reservation

In a statement posted on the tribe’s website, Chairman Cedric Cromwell said the Mashpee would continue to fight for sovereignty over its ancestral lands.

While the world retreats from coronavirus, nature catches its breath

As the horrors of the coronavirus accumulate, there has been at least one bright side of the shutdown of most commerce and traffic in Boston and beyond: pollution has abated.

Does Chinatown Count?

"There’s nothing so bad that it couldn’t be worse." That old saying was never truer than now. Especially in one Boston neighborhood.

Virus’s long reach imposes a heart-wrenching isolation on all of us

Virus’s long reach imposes a heart-wrenching isolation on all of us

In the midst of coronavirus, a rare moment of joy

In a time increasingly marked by isolation, a small ceremony in a Brookline park brings two together.

For two epidemiologists, MGH becomes a makeshift wedding venue

Two epidemiologists on the frontlines of COVID-19, were married Friday before a small group of disaster medicine colleagues, all wearing surgical masks and sitting six feet apart.

Two seniors die from COVID-19 amid outbreak at Charlwell House in Norwood

Two seniors died at Norwood Hospital Friday morning after a coronavirus outbreak sickened more than 10 residents of Charlwell House Health & Rehabilitation Center, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

Harvard enacts worker protections, makes classes pass/fail

Harvard University will continue paying staff and contract workers through May 28, officials said Friday, and will temporarily switch to pass/fail grading, which Boston University said Friday it would make optional for most students, as colleges adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.

Baker asks all travelers arriving in Mass. to self-quarantine

Massachusetts effectively closed its doors to tourists and many travelers Friday, as Governor Charlie Baker urged anyone arriving from out-of-state to self-quarantine for two weeks — the latest attempt to curb the spread of a pandemic that has now killed nearly three dozen people here.

New app takes aim at backlog of untested rape kits

Rollout of the confidential, Web-based “Track-Kit” system began Jan. 6 and arrived in Boston this week. It allows survivors access to their kit’s exact location and provides this information to law enforcement, medical staff, and prosecutors involved in the case.

Ellie Lyons waved good morning to students. She has converted the backdrop of the bedroom in her Brookline apartment into a makeshift first-grade classroom to make her students more comfortable.

For online teachers (and students), school is a work in progress

What does remote education look like in Massachusetts? The picture varies by classroom, by age group, by school, and by community, as educators across the state try to resume teaching, or at least restore connections with their students, whose routines have been upended by coronavirus-related school closures.

UMass students to get refunds after coronavirus-driven closures

University of Massachusetts president Marty Meehan and the chancellors of the Amherst, Bosannounced Friday they will adjust room, board and parking fees in response to the coronavirus-driven closures of residence halls and the transition to online-only instruction.

Suddenly that grimy crowded subway car doesn’t look so bad

Stuck at home in a coronavirus shutdown, sire-crazy commuters now look back on the daily commute with nostalgia.

MSPCA donates personal protective equipment to Mass. General, other local hospitals

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will donate masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment to help protect medical workers at local hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic, MSPCA spokesman Rob Halpin said.

Coronavirus isn’t stopping pet adoptions at Scituate shelter

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the globe and confine people to their homes, many are adopting pets for companionship, and a Massachusetts nonprofit is working to help those facing economic hardship keep their animals.

‘We’re going to have to figure out another way to pay the bills': Cash-strapped families hope coronavirus rescue arrives in time to pay the rent

As the outbreak has torn through their lives, unemployed workers desperately need federal stimulus money before bills come due.

The realities of coronavirus ‘super-spreading’

It’s a phenomenon seen at Boston’s Biogen meeting and elsewhere. What can we do about it?

Lexington biotech and Sanofi plan to work together on coronavirus vaccine

Translate Bio becomes the latest local drug company to join the effort to prevent COVID-19.

UMass workers unions demand protections amid coronavirus

A group of 17 unions representing university system workers wants Governor Charlie Baker and UMass president Marty Meehan to protect employees' health and financial security.


Lottery results from Thursday drawings

Massachusetts seeks disaster assistance as toll of pandemic mounts

There were troubling signs that the coronavirus is creeping into senior housing in Massachusetts, a state prison, and other institutions.

More than 160 Boston hospital workers test positive for coronavirus

Major hospitals in Boston are seeing a steep rise in the number of infected workers, doubling to more than 160 in the past two days, which officials believe may be more attributable to community spread than contact with infected patients.

Swampscott orders residents to remain home amid pandemic

The North Shore town’s Select Board and Board of Health voted unanimously in an online public meeting Wednesday night to make mandatory what Baker had advised on Monday, but also to go further by prohibiting gatherings outside residences, town officials said.

News in brief

Small businesses seek answers to uncertainty in federal stimulus

Thousands of business owners in Massachusetts and around the United States are trying to sort out whether the federal stimulus plan will help them survive the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expectant mothers face searing anxieties over how coronavirus will affect pregnancy and childbirth

Experts don't know exactly how the coronavirus behaves in pregnant women. But the risk of infection is only one of many uncertainties for expectant mothers.

A staggering 3.3 million people filed for unemployment as economic toll mounts

Mass. filings rose more than twentyfold. Job losses will continue, analysts said.

State Senate finds Fitchburg senator used taxpayer resources for political gain, violating rules and perhaps breaking the law

Senator Dean A. Tran assigned his taxpayer-funded staff campaign tasks, asked them to help with fund-raising work for his campaign, and had his public and political work so intertwined, one staffer said, he was confused about where one stopped and the other began, according to an internal Senate investigation made public Thursday.

$250 for Purell? State probes complaints of price gouging

As people clamor for vital items, officials say some sellers are taking advantage. And they urge people to report disproportionately high prices.

Top Mass. court reinstates rape charges against former Milton Academy teacher

Reynold J. Buono, a former drama teacher, has been accused of raping a student in the early 1980s.

State child welfare worker infected with coronavirus, others ill and awaiting test results

The social workers, each based out of a different DCF office, had interacted with children and families the agency serves, as well as colleagues.

Kevin Cullen

In a pandemic, Nobody thinks we should smoke more weed

Nobody is part of the libertarian Free State movement. He thinks government is too big and pretty much useless, and believes people should smoke more weed, which, in the middle of a pandemic, sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Yvonne Abraham

The rich and famous get coronavirus, too. But it’s no equalizer.

Coronavirus may be the one thing that doesn’t care how rich or important you are. But the rest of us still do.

This flower shop is trying to lift people’s spirits during coronavirus crisis

Floral arrangements from the 117-year-old Olympia Flower Store in Boston are brightening customers’ days despite the spread of COVID-19.

Medical schools are graduating students early to help with coronavirus

The state has asked BU, UMass, Tufts, and Harvard medical schools to graduate medical students in April, instead of waiting until May.

Boston artist installs surgical masks on oversized baby head statue outside MFA

While strolling around the city last week as part of his pandemic-induced exercise, Boston artist Peter Agoos got an idea as he passed the Museum of Fine Arts.

R.I. board will borrow up to $300m as crisis chokes off state’s revenue

The rarely used Disaster Emergency Funding Board votes 4-0 to open a line of credit as restrictions for the pandemic choke off sources of state revenue.

Colleges switch to alternative grading systems during coronavirus outbreak

Students across the state are urging administrators to forgo standard letter grades in light of the upheaval caused by the pandemic.

The economy is in free fall, but these businesses are hiring

A subset of businesses now scrambling to meet the demands of the new outbreak-driven economy are offering a surprising counter-narrative to the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus: they're hiring.