Study: Biogen conference may have led to 20,000 COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts


A man walks outside the Biogen Inc., headquarters, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Cambridge, Mass. Seventy of Massachusetts’ 92 confirmed coronavirus cases have been linked to a meeting of Biogen executives that was held at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel in Boston in late February 2020. For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BOSTON (WWLP) – A new study, released Tuesday, has linked the COVID-19 virus outbreak at a Biogen Conference in Boston back in February to thousands of cases across Massachusetts. 

The study, authored by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, along with Massachusetts General Hospital and the state Department of Public Health, connected at least 20,000 coronavirus cases in the Commonwealth to the Biogen conference that took place at the Boston Marriot Long Wharf in late February. 

After the conference, the research found the virus quickly spread to Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, Australia and even Singapore. 

“In this post, we describe our updated dataset that now includes complete genomes across the first wave of the epidemic in the region,” researchers stated.  

They added that, “the data reveal at least 80 unique introductions into the Boston area, largely from Europe and elsewhere in the US, and demonstrate how superspreading events have profoundly shaped the Boston-area epidemic.” 

The COVID-19 spread from the conference was also found to have contributed to case-loads in hot-spots like Everett, Revere, and Chelsea. 

As of Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 116,770 coronavirus cases have been reported in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with a death toll of 8,729. 

This story is still developing. 22News will follow this and bring you the latest when we learn more. 

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