There was a (slight) uptick in cases in Easthampton last week, and the change pushed the 7-day average for the city back into the "yellow" category of transmission. There were fewer cases two weeks ago, so the 14-day average for the city is still in the "green" category of transmission. It's hard to predict what will happen with cases in Easthampton next week. Case rates in Hampshire and Hampden Counties are continuing to decline - hopefully last week was nothing more than a blip.
This week the dashboard includes a visualization of the science of masking. The table is an adaptation of a table recently produced by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, and is the summary of a growing body of literature. Any mask provides more protection than no mask. The degree of protection depends on the quality and fit of the mask of both the wearer (you) and other people around you. You can increase your protection significantly by selecting a KF94 mask or, if you have one available, an N95 mask. N95 masks provide the highest level of protection, and can be worn "non-fit-tested" (basically just putting it on) or "fit-tested." Probably only health care providers have access to a fit-tested N95. That's okay! A non-fit-tested N95 is about equal to a KF94 mask. Masks aren't perfect and can't prevent every infection, but they do reduce the risk quite a bit. Notably, the body of literature on masking overwhelmingly indicates that masks are not harmful to the wearer. For those who are interested, I've included more information on the concept of a "body of literature" below.