With colder weather, cases of COVID-19 have risen around New England – Community News
Covid-19

With colder weather, cases of COVID-19 have risen around New England

In Massachusetts, the rate was 27.6. And in Connecticut, the rate was 16.1, although it appeared to be on the rise.

By contrast, in July, when expectations were skyrocketing — and the Delta variant hadn’t yet reared its ugly head — some states saw rates of less than one case per 100,000 per day.

Governor of New Hampshire [Chris] Sununu and [the state’s Department of Health and Human Services] have long been clear by stating that a winter surge is to be expected, especially as all New England states begin to see an increase in cases fueled by the Delta variant,” DHHS spokesman Jake Leon said in an e-mail. mail.

“The state of New Hampshire continues to use a [public service announcement] campaign to encourage individuals to get vaccinated if they have not already done so, and to encourage eligible individuals to get their booster vaccination. The vaccine remains the most effective tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and for individuals to protect themselves, their families and their communities,” Leon said.

Vermont expanded booster shots to all adults on Wednesday, joining a group of other states to respond to potential federal approval late this week.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott said he wanted “to give everyone a boost to help reduce the disruption of higher cases and minimize transmission to high-risk Vermonters, especially during the winter months.”

Maine Governor Janet Mills, whose state also opened boosters to all adults, said: “As Maine and other New England states face a sustained wave and with cold weather sending people in, we want to review the complicated eligibility guidelines of Maine. simplify the federal government and make getting a booster shot as simple and easy as possible,”

The coronavirus is moving north and west as the colder weather sets in and people move in, close their windows and gather. A summer wave of cases in the South is waning.

National cases had been falling since early September, but have risen again in recent weeks, reaching a seven-day average of 25.2 cases per 100,000 on Monday.

dr. Cassandra Pierre, the associate hospital’s epidemiologist and director of public health programs at Boston Medical Center, said the number of cases was expected to increase as winter arrived.

“As people move back in and spend time together, unfortunately COVID will be transmitted between households, at work and in schools,” said Pierre. “It’s something we’ve been waiting for.”

“What we don’t want to see is a corresponding increase in emergency care and hospital admissions,” Pierre said.

The key to that, she said, is vaccinations. “Vaccinations go a long way in keeping us safe and reducing that winter surge and preventing hospitalizations and deaths,” she said. “The people who should really be concerned are the people who haven’t been vaccinated.”

She urged people who have not been vaccinated to get their injections, and people to get their boosters if they qualify, especially if they are 65 years of age or older or are medically frail. She encouraged people to talk to their friends, relatives and community members to convince them of the benefits of vaccination.

She also said people should keep masks on in indoor public areas and continue to get tested, including using rapid tests at home.

While some have suggested that COVID-19 will eventually become a disease that people are learning to live with, Pierre said, that time has not yet come.

“No one I know is pushing for complacency for the situation we currently have,” she said. “We’re not there yet. … All vigilance is still needed at this point.”

dr. Paul Sax, clinical director of the Infectious Diseases Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, noted that “only a very small proportion of our children are currently immunized. In addition, in adults the effectiveness of the vaccine begins to decline markedly over time, which is why I have advocated a 3rd dose for every adult who is 6 months after their second injection.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is aiming to allow booster doses of Pfizer’s vaccine to all adults as early as Thursday, and a panel of experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will discuss it the next day, raising the prospect of approval by the weekend, according to media reports.

“We need to get as many people vaccinated as possible, along with many people also on their third dose,” Sax said in an email.

He also urged the wearing of masks, better ventilation of buildings and the use of rapid tests before social gatherings.

dr. Howard Koh, a former Assistant Secretary of Health and Massachusetts Commissioner of Health, said: “We are still running a public health marathon. Everyone can do more in the future to promote prevention. We cannot assume that the relatively high vaccination levels in New England are high enough.”

“We need to closely monitor hospitalization and death outcomes while supporting public health and healthcare professionals who in turn support us during this uncertain time,” said Koh, who is now a professor at Harvard TH Chan School of Medicine. Public Health, in an email.

Material from Globe Wire Services has been used in this report.


Martin Finucane can be reached at [email protected]