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COVID tracker: Things are getting worse again even as vaccination spreads

  • NH DHHS—Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 3/30/2021 3:37:47 PM

Back in early February, I began to hope that the Monitor’s weekly COVID-19 tracker would be winding down about now.

At the time, case numbers were falling sharply after the winter surge and vaccines were starting to arrive. It didn’t seem unreasonable to think that when the time came for us to start worrying about mud season and black flies, we could worry less about the pandemic.

It no longer looks that way.

The average number of new cases has risen 25% in the past two weeks, the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 hasn’t budged over that same period and, most distressing of all, the number of deaths has increased sharply since early March.

That last is an unpleasant surprise because New Hampshire has done a great job vaccinating elderly people, yet the toll of people dying from COVID-19 in the category of “60 years of age and older” is rising.

It’s unclear if the increase is due to any of the more contagious variants which are upending programs in parts of the world such as Brazil, which has seen hospitals overwhelmed by an unanticipated rise in cases. It’s at least as likely that we’ve dropped our guard due to COVID fatigue and are letting the virus spread again.

We’re not alone. New cases are showing up around the country as more states “open up,” not just to economics but also to contagion. 

It’s starting to look as if we might be facing another surge by late spring which would be incredibly depressing. But viruses, as we know, don’t care what makes us happy.

Being able to stop writing this weekly COVID tracker would make me happy. Maybe that will be possible in a few months – maybe?

Charts and other information about the disease and vaccinations can be seen on the Monitor’s COVID-19 page at concordmonitor.com/coronavirus.

How are we doing on vaccinations? Great!

Almost one out of every six New Hampshire residents is now fully vaccinated and this week’s rollout of appointments for everybody over age 16 means that figure should go up more quickly.

Number of new cases – what’s the trend? Getting worse.

The two-week average of daily new cases fell steadily from 821 on Jan. 9 to just 250 on March 10. But since then it has risen steadily to 326 as of Sunday, with no sign of slowing down.

Number of hospitalizations – what’s the trend? Not getting better.

There were 335 people in the hospital with COVID-19 on Jan. 1. Two months later, on March 9, there were just 73. Since then, however, the figure has fluctuated up and down a bit but basically hasn’t budged: There were 76 in the hospital on Sunday.

Number of deaths – what’s the trend? Going up again.

The same pattern is seen in deaths as we see in new cases; In early January, more than 10 people a day were drying of COVID-19 in New Hampshire. By March 10 that was down to 1½ people a day.

Since then the figure has edged back up, almost doubling to 2.7 deaths a day as of Sunday.

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

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