The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is now publishing key coronavirus data weekly instead of daily — andit comes at a time when a new variant is spreading, and more data is needed, according to one local doctor.
The BA.5 variant is more contagious and can evade immunity. It is contributing to a new surge in cases and hospitalizations.
Dr. Sabrina Assoumou, infectious disease physician with Boston Medical Center, said that considering the new variant is circulating, it is not the time to have less frequent data reports from the state.
"At a time when we have a subvariant that we know is more transmissible and more immune-evasive, I would have personally liked to have access to more data," Assoumou told Jim Braude on Greater Boston.
It remains unclear if the variant causes more severe disease, and Dr. Paul Sax, clinical director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital infectious disease division, said intensive care units are not filling up with COVID patients.
"The dominant effect on disease severity is how much prior immunity the population has, and our population now has lots of prior immunity," Sax said.
Sax and Assoumou said it's important to remain vigilant in the face of the new variant by getting a booster shot, hosting gatherings outside in the nice summer weather and testing if you have symptoms.
Watch: New coronavirus variant is the most contagious yet. What can you do to protect yourself?