BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Mayor Marty Walsh announced the annual St. Patrick's Day parade has been cancelled to keep "the residents of Boston safe and healthy" amid fears of COVID-19 on Monday.
The parade was scheduled for Sunday, March 15.
"This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing what is needed to keep the residents of Boston safe and healthy," Walsh said in a statement.
Walsh went on to explain that the risk in Boston remains low, but authorities are monitoring a rapidly changing situation. "Our top priority is preventing any new cases, to the best of our ability, and we are paying close attention to guidance from public health officials," Walsh added. "We encourage all residents to follow preventive measures to avoid illness, such as washing hands and staying home if you are feeling sick, and we will continue to make public any information as this situation develops in Boston."
On Nightside with Dan Rea, Walsh said that people love the parade, but there could be parts of the route that if there's someone with the coronavirus, it could "easily spread at that point."
"Any type of preventative measures that can happen is important," Walsh said.
He also said there is a lot unknown about this virus, which is a major problem in combating it.
"I know that a lot of people are saying that more people die of the flu in the course of a year, and that might but true, but we've also never experienced this coronavirus before," Walsh said.
However, Walsh said that "we have some of the best and brightest medical minds in the world right here in Boston."
"They're working on trying to figure out what's going on here, and hopefully they can come up with a solution really fast so we're having hopefully a different conversation a few weeks from now," Walsh said.
The number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts ballooned to 41 on Monday, up from 28 over the weekend.
WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas reports