In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic all public events have been cancelled. Millions of Americans are now working from home and it hasn’t been the smoothest transition. Politicians have been forced to adapt and overcome to the new circumstances of our day to day lives. Joe Kennedy, an American politician serving as a U.S. representative for Massachusetts 4th congressional district, has done exactly this by bringing his work online with him. He has been coordinating multiple virtual Middlesex Town Hall meetings with ZOOM. In these meetings the public can ask questions and receive important updates about Corona virus. I attended one of his events on April 13th at 2:30 PM. I had my doubts about virtual meetings, but Joe Kennedy surpassed all my expectations.
Gerly Adrien, an Everett city councilor at large, and Dr. Karen Freund, Vice President of medicine at Tufts medical center, were helping him answer questions regarding the Corona virus. After Joe Kennedy introduced his colleagues, the first point they discussed was how to help elderly individuals in the city. They told the viewers that they plan to provide homecooked meals for seniors and are the raising money to do so as they speak. His next few topics were all revolving around the pandemic and how the government is responding to it. Kennedy believes that there should not only be more testing, but easier access to testing for possible Covid-19 patients. He also plans on speeding up the testing results so that people can find out if their infected moments after the test is taken. Furthermore, he states that the $1,200 stimulus check is “not enough to save people from eviction”. Joe Kennedy proposed that the dollar amount be raised to $4,000 per citizen. He then went on to explain that we need emergency measures put into the government so that a pandemic like this could never happen again. Dr. Karen Freund took the stage after Kennedy and reassured people that you shouldn’t be afraid to see a doctor if you are sick. She told us that our hospitals have the capacity to see all patients and that we have separate places for patients with symptoms not relating to Covid-19.
Finally, at the end of the meeting people could ask any questions they had. Some of the questions they were asking revolved around how black and Latino communities have been affected with the pandemic. Unfortunately, Kennedy and his companions didn’t have the answers to most of their questions because the statistical information regarding it was not released yet. For many of the questions they didn’t have all the information they needed to answer them completely.
The virtual town hall meetings will take some time to get used to. Joe Kennedy and other politicians are doing their best to inform the public during these trying times. If I could give any recommendations to improve these meetings, I would add more visuals to help maintain the audience’s attention and help get your point across. Besides that, I will defiantly be attending another virtual town hall meeting to receive updates about my city’s situation.