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KSU Epidemiologist: COVID-19 Cases Are Likely to Rise During Holidays, but It's Not Too Late to Take Action

a photo of KSU professor Tara Smith
Kent State University
Tara Smith, an epidemiologist and professor at Kent State University, says a statewide shutdown would be effective against the climbing COVID-19 cases. Short of a mandate from Ohio's governor, Mike DeWine, Smith says other prevention measures also can help reduce the spread of the disease.

COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Health reported 437,928 cases Tuesday and a positivity rate of 18.9%.

Kent State epidemiologist and professor of public health, Tara Smith, believes things will get worse before they get better. She says there will be bigger spikes as we move further into the holiday season. And she doesn’t think the stay-at-home advisories in counties like Portage and Cuyahoga are making an impact on the right people.

Tara Smith: take action to stem coronavirus spread

“A lot of the people who are already concerned about this and who are paying attention to public health and to viral spread probably are already doing those things, and the people we really need to reach are those who already are maybe a little bit complacent about where they’re going and what they’re doing," Smith said.

She says closures or a statewide order from Gov. Mike DeWine may be more effective in stopping the spread. However, she says it’s not too late to take effective action, such as canceling upcoming holiday gatherings, practicing social distancing, and wearing masks.

Abigail Bottar is a junior at Kent State University. She is pursuing a major in political science with a concentration in American politics and minors in history and women's studies. Additionally, Abigail is starting her second semester copy editing for The Burr.