HYANNIS, Massachusetts—As the freezing water sloshed up against the sides of the boat and the first winter Nor’easter formed off the shores of Cape Cod, a team of men hoisted a small white box onto a ferry.
Under a grey sky, morning commuters shuffled up a ramp and onto the high-speed ferry and sat next to the package. No one on the boat knew the importance of that box. How could they? It was so nondescript as to elicit non reactions among the gathered. But inside were a few dozen doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine—doses that, at the end of an hour-long journey south to the small Massachusetts island of Nantucket, would be the first step towards helping end an outbreak that has roiled one of the country’s toniest vacation enclaves.
Over the past several weeks hundreds of people on the small island have tested positive for the virus, kickstarting a local game of whodunnit. Residents have begun accusing others of contributing to the spread of the disease. For every individual charged with disregarding public health guidelines there seemed to be another calling their neighbors out for their reckless behavior either on social media or privately on calls with the board of health.