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COVID tracker: Following 2-out-of-3 rule will help avoid virus

  • New Hampshire may have passed the peak of the latest COVID-19 wave, based on number of people in the hospital. DHHSCourtesy

Grabite Geek
Published: 4/27/2021 2:47:52 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Monitor’s weekly COVID tracker is returning to Mondays as of this week, and Granite Geek will return to its Tuesday slot.

My apologies to the New York Times, but I’m going to swipe advice that newspaper ran earlier this week about how we should behave among other people as COVID-19 starts to recede in the face of vaccination, by using the two-out-of-three rule.

Here’s how it goes.

Three things can keep us safe until everybody is vaccinated and the virus has stopped circulating: mask-wearing, social distancing, and being outdoors. If you’ve got two of those three, you’re OK.

You’re outside and nobody’s nearby? Take off the mask!

You’re outside but on a crowded sidewalk, meaning six feet of separation is not possible? Mask on, my friend.

You’re inside a public place? Mask on even if nobody’s close by because who knows what’s circulating in the air.

The article credited the idea to Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech and it’s going to be my mantra through at least the summer.

I’m being careful even though it feels like New Hampshire has gotten over the hump of a fourth wave and  vaccines are rolling out nicely because I’ve seen what’s happening in rural India, urban Brazil and modern Ontario.

Those three places don’t have much in common but all have seen COVID cases increase so fast that hospitals have been overwhelmed. People are dying by the hundreds and thousands in India and Brazil while in Ontario, Canada’s richest and most modern province, they called out the police to enforce stay-at-home orders.

All three were doing pretty well, even quite well, handling COVID-19 until the past month or two. They are a reminder that the pandemic is not a solved problem and can turn on us at any time. Even if we’ve passed a fourth peak, that doesn’t mean we can’t be hit by a fifth.

So remember: two out of three. And get vaccinated as soon as you can.

Daily updated charts and other information can be seen on the Monitor’s COVID-19 page at www.concordmonitor.com/Special-Sections/Covid-19.

How are we doing on vaccinations? Good!

As I write this, one-quarter of the state population – 30% of the eligible folks who are over 15 – is fully vaccinated. If you’d told me in April 2020 that this would be the case, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Number of new cases – what’s the trend? High but maybe starting to go down.

The two-week average of new cases reported each day has slipped about 8% in the past week, the first extended decline in six weeks. It’s still over 400, however, so it’s too early to say that the latest peak is past.

Number of hospitalizations – what’s the trend? High but starting to decline

Similarly, this figure has fallen by more than 10% in the past week, the first extended decline since March, but is still very high: 112 as I write this.

Number of deaths – what’s the trend? Stable and fairly low.

Roughly three people are dying of COVID-19 every two days in New Hampshire, a rate that has held pretty steady since the start of April. Hopefully it will fall further, since it’s three times the rate we were seeing in September, right before the winter increase began.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

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