If the virus was a dog, we are admitting way too many new breeds


Published: 07/04/2021 1:00:16 PM

I’ve flown Delta Airlines, visited the Mississippi Delta, and completed my share of deltas in math class, but the only delta that interests me these days is molecular.

I am of course referring to the COVID-19 virus, which was formerly known as B.1.617.2 or the “India variant” and is now identified with the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. It is one of several races of the original SARS-CoV2 virus that were created by the force of evolution.

“Race” is not the clinical term, but I find it a useful metaphor.

I imagine the original COVID-19 virus as a German Shepherd, not far from lurking wolves in the wild, but domesticated enough that it sneaks past our defenses. It has thrived there and developed new breeds with different strengths.

Eighteen months after the pandemic started, there’s a Terrier-COVID variant that travels much faster and never slows down, and a Dachshund variant that can sneak under some of our antibody fences that keeps larger breeds off, and a Rottweiler variant that once much more damage it can do to our cells.

The longer we let these live, the more breeds they will produce and the more likely it is that some new breeds will go really bad. Fortunately, it appears that the various vaccines can kick the monster in the open and stop further evolution. The more people vaccinated, the less we have to worry about the development of a Rottweiler Badger and Terrier that will force us all back into lockdown.

Pretty good metaphor, isn’t it? Also, I’m told that writing about dogs will get me more clicks online.

More seriously, New Hampshire is always looking better, but the proliferation of the Delta variant should keep us from being complacent. As you probably know, Los Angeles County is now suggesting that people should wear masks again even if they are vaccinated, as they are concerned about easily contagious variants, and parts of Europe are expecting a fourth increase in cases, mainly from the Delta variant is powered.

It is not impossible that we will have to retrace one of these weeks. We should prepare psychologically for this disappointment, just in case, even if we like to open up again.

The monitor paused our daily updated charts. Information and updates on the coronavirus during the week can be found at concordmonitor.com/coronavirus.

How are we with vaccinations? Unfortunately we flattened the curve.

Very few unvaccinated people receive protection, according to state data: in the two weeks leading up to June 27, only 5,200 people were placed on the list of those who had received the first dose and 20,000 were placed on the “fully vaccinated” list. At this rate, we may not reach 60% of the total population fully protected; approx. 54% are currently in this status.

If you’ve seen higher percentages for New Hampshire, those likely relate to the percentage of eligible people – in other words, not people under the age of 12 – who are vaccinated.

What is the trend in the spread and effects of the disease? Very good and stay there.

New cases, hospital admissions, and deaths are all close to last summer’s levels, or in some cases slightly better. All of the painful work we’ve done since March 2020, the bans and masks and vaccinations and avoiding people, has paid off.

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


About Clayton Arredondo

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