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The original item was published from 4/10/2023 9:01:15 AM to 4/18/2023 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: April 10, 2023

[ARCHIVED] 3/30/23 Weekly COVID-19 Dashboard

3-30-23 Easthampton

I'm pleased to report yet another week of low COVID-19 activity in our community. Metrics look good across the board. From what I can tell from the current situation and the chatter amongst epidemiologists about what's coming next, this feels like a really joyful season of lower risk than we've had in years. 

The state has provided updated vaccination information, and for the first time, we can now report how many residents of Easthampton have received the bivalent booster. I've made educated guesses in prior weeks based on relevant factors, and it turns out - we were basically on target! Our overall proportion is high compared to the rest of the US, but is much lower than it can be among adults. Getting the updated booster shot each year will go a long way in avoiding disruption for you if you get sick, and I'd argue most importantly, means you are a break in the chain of transmission that could eventually lead back to the folks at highest risk - our oldest adults. It's still not too late to get that bivalent booster for this year (and still be eligible for next year's booster).

The situation is, of course, nuanced and some folks remain at higher risk. I suspect we'll continue to handle it in the pattern we've all settled into - we'll take care of each other and use the amount of risk avoidance required by the highest risk person in our group. The virus has changed and become more contagious over the past three years, but the virus remains fundamentally airborne which doesn't spread easily outdoors. Risk of airborne spread depends on concentration of viral particles in the air, where the denominator of airflow is infinity outside (okay, not infinity, but I'm a disease scientist so hopefully you'll cut me a break on my imprecise figure there!). 

I hope we coast through spring, summer, and fall in this pattern and that we have a solid yearly updated booster ready by the time epidemiologists are worried about COVID-19 spread in the community again.
And lastly, this will be my last COVID-19 dashboard and update - I hope forever, because that would mean we're no longer worried about COVID-19. It's hard to say I enjoyed the dashboard, because it was necessitated by a virus that kept us home, then kept us apart, and then (and still) keeps us uneasy, but it has been a privilege to help the city I love. I sincerely hope that these past months (years?) of the dashboard have been helpful in providing you with the information you need to feel safe(r) out and about in your community. 

All the best,
Megan W. Harvey, PhD (she/her)

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