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What's In The COVID-19 Forecast? New Variants Moving Into Massachusetts

BOSTON (CBS) - There's one called "BA.2", and another called "deltacron". Reports of new variants popping up in Europe and Asia have people in Massachusetts wondering how it will look here.

"It has typically been the case that what we see emerging in Europe does ultimately show up in the US," said Brigham and Women's infectious disease Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes. "We have to be prepared, that we may have to go back to using certain precautions."

WBZ-TV checked in with UMass Amherst COVID-19 forecaster Neil Reich. "What the models are saying, like all the experts are saying right now, is that we should be prepared to see growth in COVID over the next few months," he said.

His collection of models looks about a month into the future. "Some of those models are showing moderate risk of increases in COVID hospitalizations by the end of this month or early April," Reich said.

He said the increases look small, but uncertain. It matches data from Boston's wastewater treatment plant now showing the virus count up slightly, after a dramatic plunge over the last few weeks.

"We have to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I don't think the worst is ahead of us, but I do think we're going to see more cases," said South Shore Health infectious diseases Dr. Todd Ellerin. He said in most cases, infections from the new variants involve minor symptoms, but are more contagious than even omicron.

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