Things Are "Slowly" Getting Worse in This State That Beat COVID
Although this state brought its numbers down, doctors are concerned cases could rise again.
Many states have struggled to get COVID-19 under control but were able to come out on the other side victorious. However, just because an area has seen a few months with a low number of COVID cases doesn't mean they can't creep back up again. A few states have learned this lesson the hard way, including Rhode Island and New Jersey, both which have recently seen cases begin to increase slightly. Ashish Jha, MD, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI), has recently voiced his concern about the possibility of Northeastern states—and Massachusetts in particular—spiking again. Jha said, "things are getting worse" in Massachusetts as the number of cases begins to rise slowly.
Jha told Boston.com that he applauded Massachusetts and New England for doing "what the country needed to have done" to curtail the coronavirus early on in the pandemic. However, he said some of the Northeast, including his home state of Massachusetts, is "heading in the wrong direction."
Massachusetts closed down promptly, remained shut until the curve had flattened, and only then did it begin to reopen slowly and carefully, so what went wrong? "I worry that a lot of people living in the Northeast think that we're done with the pandemic," Jha said. Although the uptick in cases is very slight in Massachusetts, it is enough to concern officials.
According to The New York Times, Massachusetts reported 502 new cases on July 29, while just a month earlier, the state reported only 101 cases on June 29. "The data is early, but it looks like we are on the way back up," David Rosman, MD, the president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, tweeted on July 26. "We should consider backing down a phase."
Gov. Charlie Baker blames "lapses in judgment" for the uptick in cases, specifically citing a lifeguard party in Falmouth and a house party in Chatham. Baker also said that officials would be investigating other potential clusters linked to a football camp, a house party, a graduation party, a party on a private boat, and a 90-person prom party.
During a recent press conference, Baker acknowledged that cases are increasing, but assured that the state wouldn't need another lockdown as the majority of the clusters of cases are originating from events where people do not follow protective protocols rather than from open restaurants and businesses.
In a foreboding warning, Jha said, "You start seeing really large outbreaks and increases, and at that point, it's just much, much harder to control." If Massachusetts doesn't do something to stop the rising cases, he said the state will probably not be able to reopen schools in the fall. Jha then added that he hopes the uptick in data doesn't go unaddressed as it did in many southern states: "I feel like I've seen this movie before. And I don't like where it goes." And for more information on states that are seeing a similar spike, check out These States That Contained COVID Are at Risk of Backsliding, Expert Warns.