It might feel like it sometimes, but when it comes to COVID-19 we are not actually back to Square One.
Square Two, maybe, but not Square One. That’s about as optimistic as I can get.
The depressing deja vu comes because new cases of COVID-19 are rising fast in New Hampshire, showing exponential growth that makes August 2021 feel like October 2020.
The difference, of course, is that about half of us are vaccinated. This makes it far more likely that even if we inhale a Delta virus we won’t get sick, and even if that virus does cause symptoms, our vaccine-strengthened immune system means we will ride out the illness much more easily than we would have a year ago.
You can see this in the state data: In the past two weeks the daily count of new cases has tripled but the number of people in the hospital has only doubled and the number of deaths hasn’t budged from just a couple a week.
Unfortunately this probably won’t last as Delta works its way through the unvaccinated crowd. We’ve seen with overflowing hospital ICUs down South what happens when a more contagious virus floats into a mass of vulnerable people. In particular, younger adults and children seem to be more affected by the Delta variant than by the original breed of the virus.
Since I’m no fool, I got the vaccine as soon as I could. All my family and friends are vaccinated. We have started being more cautious than a month ago – I’m wearing one of those blasted masks again when indoors in public places – but we’re not as scared as we were last winter. That’s nice.
But not nice enough. This doesn’t help adults who have shunned vaccines so far, nor does it help those under 12 who can’t get vaccinated or adults who can’t get the jab for medical reasons.
And it doesn’t help the businesses that are going to have to shut down again when the spread of COVID-19 comes their way, or the students and teachers who are going to have to change plans this fall yet again, or the performers who are seeing gigs canceled just as they were starting back up, or all the other aspects of life that can’t happen in the midst of a continuing pandemic.
If you know somebody who could be vaccinated but isn’t, do your darndest to change their mind. That’s the only way we’re ever going to get to Square Three and beyond.
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How are we doing on vaccinations? Just about maxed out, unfortunately.
Since the start of July, the state reports that fewer than 5,000 people have been added to the rolls of the fully vaccinated.
The 741,000 people with full vaccination is about 55% of the total population. It doesn’t look like we’ll get to 60%.
What’s the trend on the spread and impact of the disease? Lots more sickness.
The two-week average of daily new cases hit 150 last Friday, almost exactly triple the number of two weeks previously. That’s exponential growth.
Hospitalizations have almost doubled in the same period. Deaths have not increased; about one person infected with COVID-19 is dying every two days in the state.