Page 44 - BusinessWest July 20, 2020
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Nominations for Humane Awards
Through July 31: Dakin Humane Society is accept- ing nominations from the public for its Dakin Humane Awards until July 31. Nominees should be people who go out of their way to care for animals in need, people who volunteer to help animals, or peo- ple and/or animals who have provided significant public service or shown courage in a crisis. Finalists in each of the award categories will be picked from among the nominees and notified of their selection in August. The award ceremony will be livestreamed at a later date in the fall, and one winner in each
of the categories will be announced. There are five awards to be bestowed: the Frances M. Wells Award, given to an individual recognized for notable con- tributions to the health and welfare of animals; the Youth Award, honoring a hero, age 16 or younger, whose extraordinary care and compassion makes
a difference in the life of an animal, and makes the world a kinder and gentler place; the Champion Award, given to a public servant who makes life bet- ter for tens of thousands of animals and people in their community, and recognizing their dedication and compassion on behalf of animals and people in need; the Richard and Nathalie Woodbury Philan- thropy Award, paying homage to an individual who displays a remarkable sense of stewardship in shar- ing time, talent, and financial resources to improve
the lives of animals and people who love them; and the Animal Hero Award, recognizing an exceptional animal and handler (when applicable) whose valor and extraordinary devotion to people proved life- saving in disastrous or challenging heath circum- stances. Nominations are being accepted online only at bit.ly/2NOcgps. Mail-in nominations will not be accepted. Nominees should be residents of Central or Western Mass. or Northern Connecticut.
MCLA Gallery 51 Virtual Artist Series
Through Aug. 8: MCLA Gallery 51 will continue its online program, the G51 Virtual Artist Series, live
via Zoom at noon on alternating Saturdays. Local, regional, national, and international artists will give virtual tours of their studios and discuss their prac- tices. Discussions with the artists will also be record- ed for later viewing. The series kicked off on May
16. The gallery’s full spring programming schedule
is available on its website. Upcoming artists include Kim Faler (July 25), a local, multi-disciplinary artist working in painting, drawing, installation, sculpture, and photography, whose art practice unpacks the emotional weight found within everyday objects and architecture; and Anina Major (Aug. 8), who works with topics of identity, slavery, the female body,
Bahamian culture, and more. She considers her cre- ative practice to be a response to continuous erasure and a culture that is constantly being oversimplified.
Agenda
Submission Period for Virtual Art Show
Through Aug. 13: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMI Western Massachusetts will present a virtual art show this year, and is now accepting artwork for the show. Submissions are limited to individuals liv- ing with a mental-health diagnosis, and the artwork will be displayed on the organization’s website and social-media pages for a limited time, then switched out for new artwork. To submit, e-mail a picture of the art to [email protected] Note the size of the piece, the medium, and the price if it is for sale. The artist should also specify if they want their name used. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 13.
   State
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the longer you can sort of wait this out and stretch this out, the better off we’ll be.”
In other words, people can’t relax
or think for a moment that maybe it’s time to start talking about the pandem- ic in the past tense.
As they talked about the state’s cur- rent status as a ... let’s call it a cold spot for the virus, both Roose and Artens- tein praised the Commonwealth’s approach to reopening, which has been described by both those sup- porting and criticizing it as slow and careful.
Pain Threshold
Artenstein had another word for it.
“It’s painful, because we all want
to get back to a sense of normalcy,”
he explained. “It’s exhausting that you can’t do what you like to do the way you used to do it, and eventually we will be able to. But this approach has paid dividends; you get used to a little bit of a new normal, but you also know that you’re moving toward something.”
Roose agreed.
“What I think Gov. Baker and
the Executive Office of Health and Human Services have done very well
is be cautious, rely very clearly and directly on the key data points, and move slowly but consistently through
a phased reopening,” he explained.
“In other states, governors had moved much more quickly, and we’re see-
ing the effects of that now; in many states, they’re seeing such significant increases that they’re moving backward and rolling back some aspects of their reopenings.
“It’s not to say that this same type of
thing couldn’t happen here,” he added quickly. “But relying consistently on key data and reinforcing consistently the important public-health and safety strategies that we know are effective in reducing transmission — that has not wavered, and I think that has sent a very consistent and strong message to residents to continue to wear masks, be cautious with increasing your social circle, practice hand hygiene, and quarantine when you’re sick.”
As a result of the slow reopening plan and diligence with things like mask wearing, contact tracing, social distancing, and testing, the Common- wealth has effectively moved past the first wave of the pandemic — while other states have clearly not, said
those we spoke with. It is now in what Artenstein called a “window,” where, he said, residents must be diligent about not backsliding when it comes to mask wearing, hand washing, keeping one’s distance, and other preventive mea- sures, while also preparing for the sec- ond wave that most say is almost cer- tain to come in the fall or winter.
“That’s just historically what pan- demics do,” he explained. “They don’t all do that, but statistics will tell you that there will be at least a second wave if not more waves.”
What will those waves be like? It’s difficult to say at this point, said Roose and Artenstein, adding that a number of factors will dictate the level of infec- tions and how well the healthcare com- munity can respond to the next surge.
But in the meantime, and while still in this window, the state’s residents and business owners alike must continue to stay the course, the experts said.
“We still could do better in terms of how often people wear masks in pubic
and follow the public-health recom- mendations,” said Roose, adding that state leadership must continue to rein- force those messages. “We know that when we give those recommendations and that guidance and it’s clear and connected to science, it helps, and it’s certainly important to be consistent about it, or people will have less incli- nation to follow them.”
Meanwhile, as the state proceeds with phase 3 of its reopening plan and eyes phase 4, testing will be another critical key to closing off paths the virus might take.
“I believe strongly that adequate capacity and widespread testing are critical for us to continue to move forward into phase 4 and into a state where the community is engaging as fully as it can,” Roose said. “That allows us to ensure that, if we do identify infections, we can mitigate the spread; widespread testing is really critical, and we’re not yet where we need to be, as state and as a country. We still could be doing more, and I think the ways we do testing will continue to get easier and more readily available, and that will help quite a bit.”
Artenstein agreed, but quickly noted that all the steps people have been tak- ing — and hopefully will continue to take — only serve to slow or inhibit
the spread of the virus. The virus is still there, and it will remain there until a vaccine is developed.
“You can temporarily shut down or limit transmission,” he said, “and then you have the chance for other things to kick in, such as therapies and bet- ter approaches to diagnosis and treat- ment. Those things take time, but they can get a chance to take root once you’ve already established those pub-
lic-health principles.
“It’s pretty obvious that limiting
public gatherings and staying the course has helped,” he went on, return- ing to the thought that, however pain- ful and exhausting the last few months have been, the strategy moving forward for the state and all its residents has to be to continue to wait it out and, as he said, “stretch it out.”
Bottom Line
Turning the clock back 100 years,
to the so-called Spanish flu, Artenstein said the second wave of that pandemic was more severe than the first in many parts of the country simply because communities eased off on restric- tions and returned to what life was like before it struck.
“A lot has changed in 100 years — science, technology, people, etc.,” he told BusinessWest. “But one thing that hasn’t changed that much, in my opin- ion, is behavior. We may be able to further mitigate any future surge, just as we mitigated this surge, by adhering to public-health guidelines. If we can keep that up, and then get some help with testing, better contract tracing, better therapies, which will happen, and maybe a vaccine...”
He didn’t completely finish the thought and instead stressed that this ‘if’ is a very large one, and there are really no certainties when it comes to this strategy.
But the very best strategy at the moment, he stressed, is to string this out and close off those pathways the virus can take. u
George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]
BusinessWest
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