Massachusetts General Hospital will collect data from 1,000 asymptomatic Boston residents in a study to gather intelligence to evaluate community exposure.
Some 1,000 residents in the city of Boston are being invited to participate in randomised testing for antibodies to Covid-19 in a bid to provide “vital clues” about the spread of the virus.
The sampling will focus on residents living in East Boston, Roslindale, as well as specified zip code areas of Dorchester, some of the city’s worst infected areas.
As part of the study, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) will collect data from 1,000 asymptomatic Boston residents by administering testing for both the Covid-19 virus and the Covid-19 antibodies.
“It is our hope that by conducting this testing, we as a collective city will get a better understanding of the true prevalence of Covid-19 in our community,” said Martin Walsh, mayor of Boston.
“The more we can expand our testing, the more we can learn how to use our medical resources more efficiently, and how we need to focus our current efforts to contain the virus. I want to thank MGH for being an excellent partner on this effort that we hope will be a step forward towards the path to recovery.”
Any resident who tests positive for the Covid-19 virus or the Covid-19 antibodies will be provided with clear guidance and information on how to care for themselves and those around them.
“We are at war with Covid-19, and overcoming this viral enemy demands knowledge, strategy and intelligence gathering.”
According to city authorities, this randomised testing is critical, as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nationally 25 per cent of people infected with Covid-19 are asymptomatic, and may not know they are a carrier of the virus, or that they could be infecting others.
Participation in the study is entirely voluntary for residents who have been contacted and is available to them on a first come, first serve basis up to 1,000 residents. Residents will not be charged for testing.
“We are at war with Covid-19, and overcoming this viral enemy demands knowledge, strategy and intelligence gathering,” said Peter Slavin, president of Massachusetts General Hospital.
“Data from this testing in Boston will provide vital clues into the spread of the virus and will help us develop strategies to slow down or stop this invisible foe.”
“A growing body of evidence suggests that many people who have been infected with Covid-19 are asymptomatic, but we don’t yet know how prevalent the disease is in our city, in our communities and in our society. Data from this testing in Boston will provide vital clues into the spread of the virus and will help us develop strategies to slow down or stop this invisible foe.”
Testing for this study is expected to be completed by 1 May 2020, and summary data of the compiled results will be made publicly available, including the numbers and percentage of residents who test positive for the Covid-19 virus and Covid-19 antibodies, both within the neighbourhoods included and the total study group tested.
At the end of March, the Boston Department of Innovation and Technology’s Citywide Analytics Team developed two dashboards to provide up-to-date information about the status of coronavirus in Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States as a whole.
One includes a day-by-day breakdown graph of the spread of Covid-19 in Massachusetts, and tracks daily updates from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) for the number of Covid-19 cases.
The second dashboard includes information specific to the City of Boston, including total daily cases, recovered cases and total cases over time. It also tracks the levels of testing done throughout the United States.
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