The number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to increase in Massachusetts, as most expected it would. As of 4 p.m. on Sunday, there were 4,955 cases, up from 4,257 cases on Saturday for an increase of 698 cases. As of late Sunday, 48 deaths in Massachusetts had been attributed to the virus.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Bedford reached 13 as of last evening while there were 12 confirmed cases in nearby Fall River, according to statistics from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The DPH says coronavirus testing has increased as tests have become more readily available. As of Sunday, 39,000 individuals had been tested. That's an increase from 35,049 on Saturday. Health officials have even provided a breakdown of how many cases have been confirmed per county. Bristol County has recorded 208 cases of coronavirus while Plymouth County has had 325 and Dukes and Nantucket County have reported only eight cases.

The DPH also provides information about the ages of the victims. Most are elderly folks, but specific information about pre-existing conditions and how they might have contracted the virus is not always available.

What is missing from the daily DPH update is the number of people who had the coronavirus and have since recovered or how many who tested positive experienced only mild symptoms. This leaves the public to believe that 4,955 people have had a full-on bout of the virus, which is not necessarily true. Statistics are wonderful things but without supporting data they can be misleading. We need a full representation of all that is true.

Massachusetts has a population of more than 6.9 million people. Thus far 4,955 of them have tested positive for some level of the coronavirus and 48 have died. Whatever your spin, there is some positive news in that.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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