fbpx

New England Sees Surge in COVID Cases Despite High Vaccination Rates

On Friday, the United States crossed the threshold of 700,000 deaths from COVID-19. The deaths during the Delta surge have been unrelenting in hotspots in the South. New England has been at the other end of the spectrum, but the region is still coping with the same surge that has ravaged other parts of the country.

Hospitals across New England are seeing full intensive care units and staff shortages are starting to affect care. Public officials are pleading with the unvaccinated to get the shots. Health care workers are coping with pent-up demand for other kinds of care that had been delayed by the pandemic. Despite having the highest vaccination rates in the country, there are constant reminders for most New England states of just how vicious the Delta variant of COVID-19 is.

(Photo by Leila Navidi/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Even though parts of New England are seeing record case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths that rival pre-vaccine peaks, largely among the unvaccinated, the region hasn’t seen the impact the delta variant wave has wrought on other parts of the country.

According to statistics from The Associated Press, the five states with the highest percentage of a fully vaccinated population are all in New England, with Vermont leading, followed by Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. New Hampshire is 10th. The AP data found that full vaccination rates across the six New England states range from a high of 69.4% in Vermont to 61.5% in New Hampshire.

Case counts in Vermont, which has continually boasted about high vaccination and low hospitalization and death rates, are the highest during the pandemic. Hospitalizations are approaching the pandemic peak from last winter and September was Vermont’s second-deadliest month during the pandemic. On September 22nd, Maine had nearly 90 people in intensive care units, a pandemic peak for the state. Maine also recently passed 1,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Despite the relatively high vaccination rates — the U.S. as a whole is averaging 55.5% — there are still hundreds of thousands of people across the region who, for one reason or another, remain unvaccinated and vulnerable to infection. Officials throughout New England continue to push the unvaccinated to get the shots as well as bolster vaccine mandates. One Rhode Island official said he didn’t think the 70% vaccination goal, once touted as the level that would help end the pandemic in the state, is enough.

“What we’ve learned with delta and looking beyond delta, is because that’s where our focus is as well, to really reach those levels of vaccination, to give you that true population-level protection, you need to be in excess of 90%,” said Tom McCarthy, the executive director of the Rhode Island Department of Health COVID Response Unit.



Follow Us On: Facebook and Twitter