COVID Tracker will keep on trackin’

  • The average number of new cases reported daily has fallen sharply since mid-April – not quite as sharply as when it rose last November, but almost. NH DHHS—Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 6/13/2021 9:53:04 AM

The people have spoken, or at least a subset of them have, and the Tracker will keep on trackin’ for the time being.

Last week we asked readers whether they thought the winding down of the pandemic meant this weekly look at the state’s COVID-19 status could go into hibernation after a year of reports. We got more than three dozen responses via email, voice mail and online comments – nobody sent in a fax, so I guess that technology is officially dead – and almost everybody voted to keep it going.

Their reasoning? The pandemic isn’t over.

“Although multitudes are letting down their guard, the world is still at risk. … My son is an emergency physician and he is continuing to see new COVID patients on every shift,” wrote Lucy Karl.

“It's also good to be reminded that we cannot take anything for granted. COVID can strike back with a fury. I think David is right in his concern that the absence of the COVID Tracker may lull people into thinking COVID is over in NH. First, it is not over in NH. Second, over in NH is not enough,” wrote Brenda Tirrell, expressing concern about more contagious variants, and concern that visitors could bring in the coronavirus to infect youngsters or those who can’t be vaccinated.

One woman who didn’t leave her name put the point succinctly in a voice mail: “As for the tracker of the pandemic, we all know it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings. Keep up the tracker. Bye.”

A few people thought the Tracker could ease back to every other week or so, which might happen as the summer goes on. And some had more creative ideas.

Tom Chase, for example, considered alternatives to my verbiage, although I think it was tongue in cheek: “Maybe like the daily weather box on the front page, with little graphics accompanying the number of cases, hospitalizations (a hospital bed) and deaths.  The skull-and-crossbones may be too macabre.”

As a final note, I have to mention the response from a reader who shall remain nameless. She praised the Tracker and made careful, cogent points about the need to keep it going. Unfortunately for my ego, the subject line of her email was “Re: Ray Duckler'sCovid Weekly Reports.”

Daily updated charts and other information can be seen on the Monitor’s COVID-19 page at www.concordmonitor.com/Special-Sections/Covid-19.

How are we doing on vaccinations? Slowing down.

At last Thursday’s press briefing, DHHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette noted that the state didn’t order any of its federal allotment of vaccines last week because we had some left over from the week before – and we’d ordered only half our usual amount that week. The state still hopes we’ll vaccinate 70% of eligible adults by mid-summer, which might be considered the bare minimum of possible herd immunity, but it’s going to take a lot of work.

If you missed it, check the NH Public Radio story from last week about conflicting tallies on how many doses have been given. It appears that at certain times doses given by pharmacies in New Hampshire were double-counted, once by the federal government and once by the state.

Number of new cases – what’s the trend? Still going down.

The two-week average of daily new cases has fallen below 50 for the first time since Columbus Day.

Number of hospitalizations – what’s the trend? Still going down.

Fewer than 30 people have been in the hospital with COVID for most of June. That’s more than last summer but much fewer than any time in the last 9 months. The one concern is whether we’ll see an increase in younger people getting very sick due to the four COVID variants that are circulating in the state; that has been the case in other areas.

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

As I write this, just 11 people have died in the past two weeks from COVID. Again, that’s more than last summer but very low by recent standards.

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



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