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COVID cases are rising, but should you be worried this time?

Question Everything: Is an end of summer COVID spike a cause for alarm?
Question Everything: Is an end of summer COVID spike a cause for alarm? 02:37

BOSTON - COVID cases are on the rise around the country and here in Massachusetts in what's being called an "end of summer spike."

Should you be worried? A leading expert on the virus says it just needs to be put into perspective.

We spoke with Doctor Shira Doron, the Chief Infection Control Officer for Tufts Medicine, and she helped us get some answers about COVID as we head into the Fall.

Question: Should we be worried about hospitalizations from the summer spike?

Dr. Doron: "Uptick. Yes. Surge, no. Take into account that of those patients reported on the state dashboard. Only a quarter of them had received the drug Dexamethasone, which is the standard of care for severe COVID."

Question: Is the CDC still recommending testing?

Dr. Doron: "They still recommend that you test for COVID, even with mild symptoms, and that you know that isn't the case for any other virus. They still recommend that you isolate for five days, and then five more days with a mask, you know, going out, but with a mask for COVID. And they don't recommend that for other viruses, even though other viruses can also be contagious for a week."

Question: Will the summer spike affect back to school?

Dr. Doron: "I don't think it should affect back to school in the slightest. People are not interested in being under mandates anymore. And you know I understand that."

Question: When will a booster be available and should people get it?

Dr. Doron: "There will be a new booster in the fall. For sure, I will be recommending it to people who are high risk, because there are people who, have a certain level of risk where even a mild infection becomes a severe infection, even a mild infection can tip them over the edge. People who are already medically frail should certainly be getting that booster in the fall."

Question: Fear from the pandemic still lingers, how should people think about COVID at this point?

Dr. Doron: "People like me, doctors, scientists, drug makers, all need to be continuing to put, you know, COVID, at the forefront of our daily lives, our daily thought processes, our daily work. But COVID is not something that needs to be feared anymore. It really is fading into the background of how other respiratory viruses have always affected our lives."

Cambridge-based Moderna said Thursday that clinical trials for its Fall vaccine are showing a robust immune response against variants widely circulating at the moment, including the ERIS strain. Pending FDA approval, the vaccine booster should be available for the Fall. 

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