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Stories of the Year: COVID turned our world upside down

  • Jacqueline Colls gives the COVID-19 vaccine to Donna Infante as part of the first round of vaccinations for frontline health care workers at Monadnock Community Hospital Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/30/2020 4:05:28 PM

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 shaped the year 2020 unlike anything else. It’s been on our radar for nearly 12 months now, and for the past nine, there’s been nothing more pressing, more urgent and more dangerous, eclipsing the nation’s other swelling issues like race and politics while at the same time exacerbating them. 

In New Hampshire, the spread has been relatively minimal compared to the rest of the United States, the country leading the way worldwide in COVID-19 cases – but the toll has still been heavy.  Globally, nearly two million people have died from the virus; in the U.S., that number recently topped 330,000, and in New Hampshire, 735 people have died so far this year, as of Tuesday night. Four out of every five of those New Hampshire deaths were residents of long-term care facilities, twice the national average.  

“This is really one mean virus,” retired epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Gehlbach of Jaffrey told the Ledger-Transcript earlier this year. 

In the Monadnock region, we’ve been lucky. We’ve been spared the deadly outbreaks that have run rampant in nursing homes and we haven’t had the community spread larger cities have experienced. Nonetheless, COVID-19 continues to make its mark. In the Ledger-Transcript’s 16-town coverage area, 832 of our friends and neighbors have tested positive for the coronavirus, with likely hundreds more going untested. As of this writing, about 100 people in our coverage area are currently infected, with countless more awaiting test results. 

The virus has touched us all in one way or another, despite most of us putting in our best efforts to stop the spread. We’ve lost grandparents, old friends and holiday traditions; in-person schooling, large gatherings and mask-free shopping are all off the table for the near future, and with cases rising following another holiday spike, a long, dark winter full of loss is likely. 

But, there is a ray of hope cresting the horizon. Multiple vaccines have already been developed and approved, with more on the way, and the first syringefuls are already coursing through the veins of local frontline health care workers, with first responders and nursing home residents expecting their shots in the near future as well. 




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