COVID by the Numbers-Goodbye 2020 Edition
So December 2020 was awful. Just awful. One of the problems that makes knowing just how awful is that NH DHHS is having a hard time keeping up with the test reporting, so that the total number of new cases reported on any given day are actually results spread over nearly a week. On their web site, they reallocate the cases to the proper day, which causes the two aggregators I look at for nationwide comparisons, Harvard Global Health Initiative and Covid Act Now, to have widely divergent numbers of cases per 100,000 on any given day. So I am just going to reflect on the raw NH numbers as given in the daily reports. Of course, those numbers are still lacking some of the as-yet-unreported December cases, but they also include some of the long-delayed November numbers, so I am going to call it even.
In the month of December the total number of cases in the state of New Hampshire went from 21,776 to 44,028. More than half the cases in the state occurred this past month. The number of currently active cases is only slightly higher than at the beginning of the month, having gone from 5,022 to 5,919. But here are the grimmer numbers. There were 160 people hospitalized for COVID at the beginning of the month. At the end, hospitalizations are at an all-time high of 317, nearly double in one month, and the strain on medical resources is being felt. And December has been by far the deadliest month so far, with 231 NH citizens losing their lives. A total of 759 have passed over the course of the pandemic.
NH has the highest ratio of nursing home deaths in the United States, nearly double that of the next highest state. There are ways of looking at those statistics to make them sound less awful, for example, if you compare our nursing home deaths to authorized nursing home beds rather than to the total instate deaths, we are in the average range. So perhaps COVID has been less lethal among our general population, but in any case, the numbers are still horrifying. Maplewood nursing home reported its second case of COVID ever last week, and is conducting intense testing as a result. We owe Katherine Kindopp and her dedicated staff a huge dept of gratitude for the incredible care they are taking of the residents.
In Cheshire County generally, there had been 596 total cases at the beginning of the month. That number more than doubled by the end of the month, to 1,263. The number of active cases actually dropped from 169 at the beginning of the month to 142 at the end of the month, but it went up to a high of 258 for a few days in the middle. We have had 14 hospitalizations and 7 deaths. 2 of the deaths came this month.
Walpole had had 12 total cases at the beginning of the month. At the end of the month, we have more than tripled to 37. We are back down to 6 currently active cases, down from a high of 11.
We have no idea what is coming at us as a result of the Christmas/New Years holiday. My sister and brother-in-law in England got their first Pfizer shot two weeks ago, and were scheduled for the second dose January 7, but Boris Johnson has cancelled all the second shots, and they have been told they may get the second one in March, when Pfizer says it won’t do them any good. The NH House will meet, drive-in movie style, in our cars, in a UNH parking lot, on the 6th of January, to pick a new Speaker, our last Speaker having died of COVID. Just because 2020 has left us doesn’t mean the world has not still gone mad.
~And now for a (non-commercial) commercial break: I try to stay away from politics here, on our town page, but if you actually want my shamelessly political opinion, the Keene Sentinel published my op-ed yesterday and you can read it here: https://www.sentinelsource.com/opinion/op-ed/a-drive-in-session-in-january-welcome-to-the-1950s/article_f7f33fd9-df0b-5d80-8167-3631911e97a0.html?fbclid=IwAR0HluPJwrVDK0My7ReT09BRvmJO-ixH_RDTfSdgz7Y8-O8Tfvplw9i8c3k
Now more than ever: Wear your mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, keep well.
Wishing you and yours have a far, far better year in 2021. Thank you all for having been part of my 2020. I am so grateful to be a part of this community.