COVID-19 tracker: The vaccine rollout is a disaster, the vaccine rollout is a miracle

  • DHHS—Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 2/22/2021 4:45:04 PM

March 18. That’s when this 65-year-old is scheduled for his first COVID vaccine.

You wanted to know that, right? After all, the one conversation that everybody is having now consists of, “When are you getting vaccinated?” and “When can I get my shot?”

That is incredible when you stop to think about it.

Just 14 months after the world reluctantly acknowledged that a completely new disease was spreading throughout the population, we have several effective vaccines that are being produced by the millions and distributed widely. There’s reasonable hope that the pandemic will be under control in the U.S. and many parts of the world before the second anniversary of its discovery rolls around.

If you compare this to global pandemics that have swept through the human species for as long as we’ve been upright, decimating populations for centuries at a time and destroying entire civilizations, it seems miraculous.

But of course it’s not a miracle, any more than landing the Perseverance rover on Mars was a miracle. It’s the result of human beings working together, sharing knowledge so we can build on it over the centuries to do once-unimaginable things.

This is what separates human beings from all other species: We have cultural evolution, not just physical evolution. Often that causes problems but sometimes it’s unbelievably wonderful, and we should celebrate those moments. As I will do on March 18.

Having said that, there are of course problems with the vaccine rollout. Many people who deserve shots haven’t gotten them yet; websites organizing sign-ups have failed; underserved populations in the United States and all over the world are being overlooked.

As of this writing New Hampshire says it has been allocated enough doses of the two mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) to give to one-quarter of Phase 1B, which includes all people over age 64. The bulk of the state’s population remains in waiting mode.

However, we have passed a psychological point: More New Hampshire residents have gotten their second vaccine dose (75,000) than have gotten COVID-19 since we started counting (69,000).

Daily updated charts and other information about the spread of COVID-19 and vaccinations can be seen on the Monitor’s COVID-19 page at concordmonitor.com/coronavirus.

Number of new cases – what’s the trend? Getting better but still too high.

The average number of new cases reported daily was 837 on Jan. 21 and 350 on Feb. 21. That’s a decline of 59% in one month and it’s still going down. We still have a long ways to go, however: On Sept. 21 the average was just 35.

Number of hospitalizations – what’s the trend? Going down but still too high.

Similarly, there were 240 people in the hospital with COVID-19 on Jan. 21 and just 109 on Feb. 21, a happy decline. But again, still too high: On Sept. 21 there were just 11 people in the hospital.

Number of deaths – what’s the trend? Finally going down.

Over the past two weeks fewer than four people have died each day from COVID-19. That’s four times a tragedy every day, of course, but on Jan. 21 more than eight people were dying each day.

PCR test positivity rate – what’s the trend? Still very good.

This figure has been below 3% most of the month and slowly declining. A 5% positivity rate is thought of as a point at which contagion is widely spreading, so this remains a good sign.

(David Brooks can be reached at 603-369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com.)




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