Firefighters in Massachusetts hosing a home. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency two days after fires and explosions caused by over-pressurized natural gas lines ravaged dozens of homes throughout Lawrence, Andover and North Andover and forced evacuations of thousands of residents.

The latest: A new leak was detected Saturday morning in Lawrence as emergency crews swept the area. CBS reports that a teenager was killed and about 25 were injured from Thursday's explosions.

Columbia Gas, the company managing the pipe system and serves nearly 300,000 customers, encouraged people not to enter their homes without a representative from the company.

The problem: The pipe system in the surrounding area is one of the "oldest and leakiest" in the nation, USA Today reports. Columbia Gas has 471 miles of cast-iron and wrought-iron distribution lines connecting throughout the area.

  • Government officials have encouraged utility companies to replace old pipe lines made of those materials for decades — some were installed "more than 50 years ago."

The company has said it planned on replacing 500 miles of the pipeline, but estimated it would take until 2033. Each mile of pipeline could cost $1 million to replace.

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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

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Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.

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