Baker says he plays the hand dealt him
'You have to be willing to be nimble,’ he says
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER said on Monday that one of his guiding principles during the COVID-19 crisis is to play the cards he’s dealt, an acknowledgement of how much he and other state policymakers are in the dark about what’s coming.
Baker made the comment when asked whether he felt the federal government had let the state down by sending it 100 ventilators instead of the 1,000 the state was promised a week ago.
“You need to play the hand. You just have to play the hand,” he said, refusing to criticize the Trump administration, which he continues to hope will send the state more ventilators.
Baker was also wary of reading too much into Department of Public Health data indicating the rate of growth in coronavirus cases had slowed dramatically over the last eight days compared to where it had been previously.
Nevertheless, he is sticking with his estimate that a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations will start this Friday, give or take a few days, and continue for about 10 days. “No one really knows how many people will be lost to this virus,” Baker said. “The numbers are extraordinary. And behind every one of those numbers is a person with a story and a circle of friends.”
Baker acknowledged there is no guide map for dealing with COVID-19. “This is a new virus. It’s not like many others where there’s been years and years of research and people have a general idea about it,” he said. “I mean people are still debating whether or not if you have it once you can have it again.”
He also said the uncertainty about COVID-19 extends to the state budget, which is likely to be heavily impacted by the pandemic and the economic collapse it has caused. “This is very hard to figure out,” he said, pointing to tax revenue numbers for March that showed the state 3.2 percent ahead of its benchmark projections for revenue through three-quarters of the fiscal year that ends June 30.“We’re all kind of scratching our heads what the last three months of this year are going to look like and the beginning of next year,” Baker said.
And then he reiterated his operating philosophy. “This is not a virus people have seen before. This is new and because it’s new it’s not something we have a lot of history people can rely on,” he said. “You have to be willing to be nimble about this and be willing to adapt.”