COVID tracker: The pandemic’s not going away, as N.H. hospitals can attest

Monitor staff
Published: 4/19/2021 3:01:48 PM

There’s no single number that tells how we’re doing with COVID-19 but in months working with the Monitor’s weekly tracker column, the one that has come to resonate most with me is hospitalizations.

A doctor’s decision that a patient’s COVID-19 symptoms are severe enough to admit them to the hospital is an objective measure both of how much virus is circulating and how seriously it is affecting us. We thought both those questions would be getting settled by now as vaccination becomes widespread (Did I mention that I got my second shot? Hooray!), but the arrival of COVID-19 variants has made them much less certain.

So it’s sobering that the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 has doubled in the past month and, at 133 on Sunday, is higher than any point since early February.

Even as flowers start to bloom and spring weather raises our spirits, it’s a reminder that the pandemic is not under control in New Hampshire, even though New England is in better shape than many parts of the country and the world. My vague plans to host a meet-each-other-again block party for my neighborhood this summer are looking less likely right now and my hopes of loosening my mask-wearing habits are fading away.

In short, we’re still knee-deep in a global pandemic and need to behave accordingly. Alas.

Daily updated charts and other information can be seen on the Monitor’s COVID-19 page at

How are we doing on vaccinations?

Pretty good. New Hampshire is at or near the top of the list of states in terms of the percentage of the population who have gotten at least an initial vaccine. As I write this almost 30% of over-15-year-olds are fully vaccinated. That includes me – or did I mention that already?

Number of new cases – what’s the trend? Not good, but maybe not getting worse.

The 14-day average of new cases reported each day has been stuck at around 420 to 430 for a week now. Hopefully, this shows that the rise in new cases that began in early March has leveled off, although it’s too soon to say.

Number of hospitalizations – what’s the trend? High and rising slightly.

Number of deaths – what’s the trend? Low but stable.

The death rate has been the bright spot in our COVID picture this month falling from 3 a day a month ago to 1½ per day now. However, it seems stuck at that level and has not declined any more for a couple of weeks.

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

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