My Turn: Comparing NH with our neighbors on COVID numbers

For the Monitor
Published: 4/4/2021 2:00:16 PM

Now a year plus into the pandemic I think it is good to compare our data with our neighboring states, including Quebec. I’m using data from the Johns Hopkins Public Health COVID-19 Dashboard.

In comparing the percentage of our population that has gotten COVID, we in NH have nearly twice the number in comparison to Maine (which has about the same population) and we have more than twice the number of Vermont. Quebec is similar to Maine. Massachusetts is the only neighbor doing worse than NH.

As far as deaths from COVID as a percentage of the population, NH again has nearly twice the number of Maine and three times the percentage of deaths as Vermont. Quebec and Massachusetts have had a higher percentage of deaths than NH, but one must remember they both are much more populous states/provinces with very big cities.

We are in general a lot more like Maine and Vermont than Quebec and Massachusetts, but have done significantly worse than our neighbors to the east and west. So what goes? Our governor got re-elected because of the perception that NH has done a good job. But even after winning on what I think is a false narrative, Sununu’s own party leaders want to reverse his mask mandate. They even picketed his home.

So maybe he is only partially to blame. The state’s vigorous “Live Free or Die” mindset is different than the practicality mindset we think of in Mainers and Vermonters. Is it possible that to our east and west legislators are serving their people as thoughtful public servants rather than politicians? Maybe they are thinking more about the care of their neighbors and the science of this virus than we are here in New

Hampshire.

If one looks at the bills being pushed in our legislature in regard to the virus it seems political nonsense, not science, is winning out in NH. Our numbers stink and have not improved over time in the last year. One positive note is that we are one of the leaders relative to our neighbors regarding the percentage of the population getting vaccinated at this time. Hopefully that will continue and allow us to get better numbers in the coming months, but even that will be dependent on getting a high enough total percentage of the population vaccinated to get us to herd immunity. So, be smart and be thoughtful New Hampshire. Get vaccinated.

(Dr. Nick Perencevich lives in Concord and is a member of Healthcare Voices of New Hampshire)




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