As COVID-19 cases climb again, some states may need to resume restrictions

States in the Northeast that reined in COVID-19 infection rates after surges in the spring are seeing case numbers creep up again. Three Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health experts recently weighed in on whether states should consider rolling back reopening and reinstituting restrictions.

“If you actually care about schools, then you probably need to tolerate a much, much lower level of indoor gatherings. That’s indoor restaurants, bars, gyms,” said Ashish Jha, K.T. Li Professor of Global Health and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute in an August 3, 2020 Harvard Gazette article.

Barry Bloom, Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson Research Professor of Public Health, told the Boston Globe that he’s not ready to say the situation is getting out of control in Massachusetts, even though the state’s rate of positive COVID-19 tests has reached above 2% in recent days, after reaching lows of 1.7% in early July. “I would say the absolute limit, which means we really have lost the ability to track things, would be 5 percent, and I would start shutting things down at 2.5 or 3,” he said in an August 3 article.

Caroline Buckee, associate professor of epidemiology and associate director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, believes that Massachusetts needs clear guidelines about what would trigger a return to an earlier phase of reopening. “Most people would be amenable to going back to Phase 2, with the understanding that we’re doing this in a targeted way with a specific goal,” Buckee said in an August 4 article in the Boston Globe.

Read the Harvard Gazette article: Time to resume COVID restrictions in some safe states?

Read the August 3 Boston Globe article: Experts urge rollback of reopening as COVID-19 cases rise in Mass.

Read the August 4 Boston Globe article: What would trigger a second lockdown in Mass.? The state still hasn’t laid out clear guidelines