SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- As Western Mass News continues to report the daily coronavirus numbers, we also want to provide context behind those figures.
There are 13,837 cases of the deadly illness in the state, but the numbers show the differences between how western and eastern Massachusetts are being impacted by COVID-19.
Based on the numbers from the state we get every day, we can see the number of COVID-19 cases are going up.
More than 13,000 cases sounds like a lot because it is a lot of people, but we wanted to breakdown the western Massachusetts cases and look at what percentage of each county is actually sick.
Western Mass News compared the number of COVID-19 cases in a county to that county's total population shows the percentage of western Massachusetts that is fighting the disease.
- Roughly 0.15% of the Franklin County population has tested positive.
- 0.09% of Hampshire County has COVID-19
- 0.19% of Hampden County is afflicted - the closest numbers to the state's overall total.
Combining the numbers in all three counties and there is still less COVID-19 in western Massachusetts than in Essex County alone.
Local hospital officials said some models indicate western Massachusetts’ virus peak could be in May.
We asked Clinton Mathias, immunologist and professor of pharmacology at Western New England University, about the differences between the western and eastern parts of the state.
“If the rate of transmission is a lot higher, such as it is in eastern Massachusetts right now, we’d expect the peak to hit there a lot sooner than it would in western Massachusetts if the models Springfield officials have been talking about are accurate,” Mathias said.
Mathias said although models may not always be 100 percent accurate, they do play a role in helping local officials institute safety plans like social distancing.
“…Helps the state and public health officials to plan for what they need to do, but it’s absolutely imperative and essential that every single individual takes their own precautions,” Mathias said.
They are precautions that Mathias said are the most important in keeping the mortality rate down.
“The mortality rates, in my personal opinion, are going to vary from region to region and they’re also going to depend on social distancing measures that everyone is putting into place,” Mathias added.
The numbers from just the last three days here in western Massachusetts show how important that mortality rate could be for those over 60.
In that timeframe, 25 people from the three local counties died from COVID-19.
- 3 in their 60s
- 8 in their 70s
- 11 in their 80s
- 3 in their 90s