Massachusetts has the highest number of cases of a COVID-19 variant originating from Brazil than any other state in the country.

And the majority of those cases are in Barnstable County.

Dr. Kevin Mulroy is the senior vice president and chief quality officer at Cape Cod Healthcare. He says the so-called Brazilian variant is more transmissible than the strain that originally made its way to the state last year. This means that safety protocols like wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands are even more important — even for the vaccinated.

Still, Dr. Mulroy said he was optimistic.

"I don't want people to be so afraid that they're pessimistic because honestly we really are moving along in this thing and at this point I'm fairly optimistic that we're going to do fairly well in this disease process and we're going to get through this," said Mulroy.

And today, those over age 55 or with one qualifying medical condition became eligible for the vaccine. We also heard from Dan Hoffenberg, the vice president of Cataldo Ambulance. He manages the COVID-19 testing and vaccine functions for Cataldo across the state. Hoffenberg said they have a waiting list for volunteers wanting to help vaccinate residents.

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


Dr. Kevin Mulroy - 1:47
Dan Hoffenberg - 13:37