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Virus counts tick upward in NH

Concord Monitor
Published: 3/22/2021 8:54:09 PM
Modified: 3/22/2021 8:54:06 PM

You’ve probably heard people cautioning you that despite the vaccine rollout, we’re not out of the COVID-19 woods yet. I’ve said it myself.

But actually, it’s worse than that: We’re starting to head back into the woods.

In the past week, the average number of new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Hampshire each day has risen by 10%, from 261 to 287, and the average number of deaths has increased by almost one-third, from 1.9 a day to 2.6 a day.

That depressing turnaround after two months of continuous improvement happened even though one out of every eight people in New Hampshire is now fully vaccinated.

The problem might be the circulation of new, more contagious variants of the SARS-CoV2 virus or — this is my guess — because people are so tired of COVID-19 that we’ve stopped taking precautions.

Whatever the reason it tells us that, as glorious as the speedy creation of vaccines has been, they are not a silver bullet that kills the COVID werewolf; they only wound it.

We have to keep the masks in public, stay out of crowds, yadda, yadda, yadda — you know the drill — until enough of us are vaccinated to squelch the virus’ transmission.

Vaccinations

As I write this the state’s new vaccination-registration website is doing poorly, overwhelmed by the surge of demand as Phase 2B opens and everybody age 50 or older can get a shot.

You’ll remember the same thing happened when the 65-and-over crowd became eligible, although it was a different website.

Assuming it gets fixed quickly, it seems possible that a quarter of New Hampshire’s population will be at least partly vaccinated by Easter Sunday, since Phase 2B covers about 200,000 people.

That’s far from enough for us to relax but it’s much better than we could have hoped a year ago.

New cases

As I said above, after two months of improvement, the number of new cases has reversed course and has been increasing for the past week.

Hospitalizations

The number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 has fluctuated between 68 and 78 for most of the month. If past patterns hold true, the current increase in new cases will show up as more hospitalizations in a week or two.

Deaths

It’s not clear why deaths are going up since outbreaks in nursing homes seem mostly contained as a result of vaccination.




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