Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending October 28

COVID-19 in Connecticut is spreading fast. We just completed our worst week since late April in terms of raw number of cases. Hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise. Covidexitstrategy.org, a COVID-19 tracking website run by a group of public health and crisis experts, lists Connecticut as one of 36 states with a status of “uncontrolled spread.” There is not currently an end in sight as the numbers of cases keep climbing rapidly week after week.

It’s really tempting to wonder if we need another lockdown. After all, that’s what helped get things under control when infections were spiraling out of control in March and April, right, so maybe it would help here?

So far Gov. Ned Lamont has yet to roll back reopening phases or close down schools and businesses. However, Thursday he recommended that the communities in the state’s “red” and even “orange” status decide locally to move back to Phase Two.

In fact, Lamont is doing exactly what he did in March and April; he’s letting his decision-making be guided by science and evidence as filtered through public health and disease experts. According to them, infections are spread mainly through informal gatherings, not at businesses, schools, or workplaces.

But how can the government stop people who are weary of the pandemic and of 2020 in general from getting together to blow off steam? How can we possibly pull people back to the same level of care, concern, and vigilance that we were at in April?

It’s hard. Scientifically, a lockdown – even a brief one – wouldn’t make much of a dent in infection rates. But psychologically, it might help us remember that we’re dealing with a deadly disease, one that may have lifelong effects for those who survive it.

Still, it could be worse. The holidays are approaching.

Let’s take a look at the map.

It’s bad. Infections are rising in densely populated areas, specifically along the I-91 corridor, parts of the southwest coast, Danbury, and greater Waterbury. Conditions are improving a little bit in some towns in southeastern Connecticut, but worsening in others. Norwalk and New London both have over 30 new cases per 10,000 people this past week. Tiny North Canaan leads the state with 70.68 new cases per 10,000 people, due largely to an outbreak at a nursing home.

There were 4,426 new cases from 10/21-10/28, which works out to a case prevalence of 11.88 per 10,000 residents. This is up from 3,010 new cases last week, which was a case prevalence of 8.42 per 10,000 residents.

The rate of increase of infections has gone up slightly. During the two weeks from September 30th to Oct. 14, new cases increased 102% from 1,235 to 2,497, while during the two weeks from Oct. 7 to Oct. 21, new cases increased only about 65% from 1,814 to 3,010. For the two weeks from Oct. 14 to Oct. 28, new cases increased from 2,497 to 4,246, which is about a 70% increase.

The effect of the pandemic’s resurgence on next week’s election remains to be seen.

Here is last week’s map for comparison.

Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending October 21

Susan Bigelow

Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.