Why East Boston’s coronavirus rate is so much higher than the rest of the city

State Rep. Adrian Madaro (D-East Boston) explains East Boston’s test positivity rate of nearly 8%, compared to 4.2% in Mattapan and, according to today’s stats, 1.4% statewide.

Our community isn’t worse at wearing masks/social distancing, or taking fewer public health precautions than any other. That’s not why our rates are higher than the suburbs. Our COVID infection rates are higher because our communities are systemically more vulnerable to the spread of this disease. This was true at the beginning of the shutdown, and it has become truer as MA has progressed through the phases of Reopening.

Many working-class Eastie residents don’t have the privilege of working from home. Their jobs require them to go out to work, and in most cases they’re interacting with coworkers or members of the public through jobs in the service industry – construction, cleaning, restaurants, etc. While the shutdown meant some (but not all) of these service workers were staying home, our state’s reopening means that even more are back to work out in the public now. This means Eastie residents & surrounding communities have an increased risk of COVID exposure and infection.

And housing is expensive and hard to find. Most Eastie workers live in apartments that are full of family or roommates, and short on space. People share rooms. When everyone’s living together in a small space, there aren’t many opportunities to social distance. This means that when a worker gets sick, they have nowhere to quarantine.

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