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Two communities in Massachusetts, which has recorded the fourth most COVID-19 deaths of any state, are handing out harsh disciplines during the coronavirus pandemic for not wearing masks outside, according to a report.

Peabody and Winthrop are threatening fines up to $1,000.

Several other communities are threatening to fine people up to $300 for not wearing masks; they include SomervilleCambridgeEssexEverettLawrenceSalem, and Watertown.

Mayor Joe Curtatone of Somerville said the fine is necessary.

“We are a very densely populated city, the most densely populated in New England, one of the most densely populated in the country,” said Curtatone. “So it is necessary.”


A statewide executive order signed by Gov. Charlie Baker mandating the use of masks or facial coverings while in public when social distancing isn’t possible goes into effect Wednesday.

Massachusetts continues to see coronavirus numbers heading in the right direction, Baker said.

One good sign is that even as the state increases the number of tests it conducts, the percentage of those testing positive for the virus is decreasing, Baker said.

The state has also seen a downward trend in the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the Republican added.

But Baker said the state needs to see those numbers decline more before it can begin to reopen the economy. A 17-member commission is planning to release a proposal May 18 about how to begin safely to reopen.

The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts topped 70,000 on Tuesday.

There were 122 newly confirmed COVID-19-related deaths, bringing to 4,212 the total number of deaths recorded in Massachusetts since the pandemic’s start.


On Tuesday, nearly 1,200 new cases were added to the state’s COVID-19 total.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units now stands at 914, down from more than 1,000 a week ago, while the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is more than 3,500 — down from nearly 3,900 a week ago.

The number of deaths at long-term care facilities now stands at 2,520 — or nearly 60 percent of all COVID-19-related deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.