In the coming weeks, the world will see the negative impact of holiday travel on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. But we can still turn that around, according to Dr. Nicholas Reich, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Reich, who has been modeling the pandemic in collaboration with the CDC since the spring, said the United State could log as many as 25,000 deaths a week this month.

But in the midst of these bleak numbers, Reich sees a silver lining.

"We know the cases that have occurred in the last few weeks, we know how many people are hospitalized, and that really does a lot to inform us about what the next four weeks will look like in terms of mortality," he said. "But what we've seen is that predicting the next four weeks of numbers of incident cases is quite a bit harder. And I think that is due to the fact that the die is not cast. You know, the sudden changes that we make on an individual level or a societal level can really have a dramatic impact on the trajectory."

Action is exactly what Dr. Michael Collins, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is calling for. He and UMass President Marty Meehan are pitching for university and college campus nationwide to be used to help support vaccine distribution efforts. He has also suggested that eager college students and other young people be tasked with staffing these efforts.

Click on the audio player above to listen to the full episode.


Dr. Nicholas Reich - 2:43
Dr. Michael Collins - 16:04