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Baker, other governors to talk vaccine efforts with Biden

BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is planning to join a group of governors to meet with President Joe Biden on Tuesday to discuss ongoing efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible to continue the fight against COVID-19.

“It’s basically to talk about how to reach and deliver vaccines to either folks that are part of what we would call the hesitant community or folks who are part of communities that are just hard to reach and need more help to get vaccinated,” the Republican told reporters during a stop Monday at a community health center vaccination clinic in Quincy.

Baker said the state continues to make progress and by the end of the week more than 3 million people in Massachusetts will be fully vaccinate.

He said the goal continues to be to have more than 4 million adults in the state fully vaccinated by the beginning of June. The state has a population of about 7 million.

Persuading stragglers could be the toughest job now that the first crush of those eager to get the vaccine is winding down.

To help encourage those still on the fence, all of the state’s mass vaccinations and most pharmacies are now offering vaccines to those who walk in, whether or not they have an appointment.

More restrictions eased

The Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins can welcome more fans starting Monday as Massachusetts continues to ease restrictions aimed at thwarting the spread of the coronavirus.

Indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks, which had been limited to 12% capacity, are now allowed to increase capacity to 25%.

Amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks are also allowed to welcome more visitors, up to 50% capacity, as long as they have a safety plan approved by the state Department of Public Health.

Road races and other outdoor organized amateur or professional sporting events can also resume.

Supermarkets and other retailers are now no long required to maintain special hours for seniors and singing is now allowed indoors with strict distancing requirements in place.

Restrictions are being relaxed as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19. As of Sunday, more than 2.9 million people in Massachusetts has been fully vaccinated, according to the health department.

To make getting a shot easier, the state will allow walk-up vaccinations at six mass vaccination sites.

Virus by the numbers

The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 increased by about 450 Monday while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by 14.

The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,344 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to about 653,000.

The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were about 430 people reported hospitalized Monday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 120 in intensive care units.

The average age of those hospitalized was 60. There were an estimated 18,000 people with current active cases of COVID-19 in the state.

About 6.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Massachusetts, including more than 3.8 million first doses and more than 2.7 million second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

There have been about 224,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.

More than 2.9 million people have been fully immunized.

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