Harvard epidemiologist concerned as Mass. experiences spike in COVID-19 cases

BOSTON (WHDH) - With the Commonwealth reporting more than 600 new cases every day this week, and nearly 1,000 cases on Thursday, many health experts are wondering if this is the start of the second surge.

Harvard Epidemiologist Michael Mina says when COVID numbers were lower in the summer, Massachusettes did not prepare enough for the fall and that’s why we are seeing the number of cases skyrocket as we move into cooler weather.

“Now we are really left with impossible decisions,” he said. “Either remaining locked down and having political, economic fallout come from that or staying open and continuing to open and having health consequences as a result.”

The national average of new, daily cases has climbed to just over 60,000 and some states and cities are choosing to reimpose virus restrictions.

In Massachusetts, state health officials have put 22 new towns in the red — bringing the total number of high-risk communities up to 77.

Those communities are not allowed to move onto Phase 3 in the reopening process and must revert totally back to Phase 1.

“If this was any sort of actual war that was killing 200,000 people, we would as a country, would be building bombers, we’d be building missiles. We would be doing things that cost a thousand times more than or a hundred times more than these rapid tests would.,” Mina said.

He believes the key to keeping the virus under control is more frequent testing. He said the drive up testing centers are useful but not convenient enough for people without cars.

“Until you’re testing large factions of the population pretty frequently, say every week, you’re going to barely find the people who you need to find when they’re infectious. And so, maybe you’ll put a small dent, but really not change the course of things,” he said.

Until there is an effective vaccine, Mina said the country should focus on sending rapid tests to every resident.

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