COVID tracker: Worrisome start to autumn (yes, again)

  • the state says 95% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 have been unvaccianted. Courtesy—NH DHHS

Monitor staff
Published: 9/5/2021 9:12:43 AM

A year ago, September’s first edition of this weekly look at COVID-19 progress was headlined “Worrisome start to autumn as case numbers rise.”

Note to copy desk: If you’re lazy, you can use it again. You can even add an exclamation mark.

The two-week average of new cases in the state has risen by 50% in a fortnight, to almost 300. In that column from last year, by the way, the average of new cases had also risen by 50% in a fortnight – but only to 58. We’re doing far more testing now, however, so be cautious comparing those new-case numbers.

We’re also starting to see more outbreaks in nursing homes and prisons: Eight are active as I write this, the most in a long time.

Just as bad is our positivity rate – the percentage of PCR and antigen tests which come out positive. The state reports about 6,000 tests a day, three times the number of a year ago, and the positivity rate has risen above the 5% mark that generally marks the sign of widespread contagion.

Hospitalizations have increased about 50% in two weeks and deaths are rising slowly, now averaging almost two a day.

All this, of course, is a sign of the more contagious Delta variant. Being fully vaccinated is strong protection against the variant even if not an absolute guarantee. It’s like a seat belt –  it might not stop a bad thing from happening but will greatly reduce your chance of getting hurt.

The CDC released a study Thursday that said an unvaccinated person who gets COVID-19 is 17 times more likely to end up in the hospital. Similarly, New Hampshire says 95% of those who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since January were not vaccinated.

Which makes it depressing that our vaccination numbers have stalled: Barely 1,700 were added in the past two weeks.

The Union-Leader noted that we’ve fallen out of the top 10 among states in terms of percentage of adults who are fully vaccinated, partly because the appalling disease outbreaks in the South have prompted vaccine-hesitant people there to take the plunge.

Let’s hope it doesn’t take appalling outbreaks here to make us realize that we still need to take this pandemic seriously.

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

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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