Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending Dec. 30

I stopped at the local Five Guys to pick up dinner today, and while I was waiting for an earnest kid in a mask to run my food out to the car, I watched the people inside. There were maybe a dozen people eating or waiting for food, each group or couple sitting far apart from the others. They took their masks off to eat, and when they were done, put them on again. One young person leaned against a table watching his group eat, mask still on. It was a hurried, nervous kind of meal.

Don’t you remember the sound of a packed restaurant filled with laughter, shouts from the bar, a baby crying, all above the constant murmuring rush of conversation? Don’t you remember how it was to walk back out into the cold night with friends and family, breath visible in front of everyone’s unmasked faces, satisfied, relaxed, and unworried?

The new year won’t know any of that. 2021 will start where 2020 left off, with us isolated and fearful as we watch the people who dared try to grab some kind of human enjoyment from our shattered world pay with sickness and death. COVID-19 doesn’t care that it’s a new year. It doesn’t care about our feelings, our longings, our loneliness, or our stubbornness. It just is.

New vaccines and a change in federal public health efforts by the incoming administration are going to beat this virus back, a little at a time. Maybe by 2022 we’ll have some of that old world back, but as we re-emerge we’ll begin to comprehend all the people, the time, and the familiar old places and ways of being that we’ve lost. Welcome to 2021: the year of mourning.

COVID-19 is still battering Connecticut pretty hard right now, but the good news is that we’re still holding fairly steady. Total cases increased by 12,924 during the week ending Dec. 23, and increased by 12,958 for the week ending Dec. 30; remarkably similar numbers. Test positivity increased slightly from 5.9% to 6.1%, mostly because of a small drop in the total number of tests administered.

Case prevalence, the number of cases per 10,000 people, also saw a very slight statewide increase from 36.17 for the week ending Dec. 23 to 36.26 for the week ending Dec. 30.

There is likely still a surge of cases related to the Christmas and New Year’s holiday ahead of us; that’s been the pattern with every other holiday during the pandemic. We should start to see that next week, if we see it at all.

Let’s take a look at the map.

I’ve done a little retooling to make the borders between towns easier to see. Hopefully, this change will be a positive improvement.

The virus is waxing in some parts of the state and waning in others, much as was the case in previous weeks. The Hartford area, Litchfield County, and the Danbury area all saw much-needed reductions in case prevalence numbers. Canaan had zero cases for the second week in a row; a rarity for this awful season.

Eastern and southern Connecticut, however, saw increases. The entire shoreline from Bridgeport east had higher case prevalence numbers this past week. Old Saybrook had the highest case prevalence number in the state: 100.13 cases for every 10,000 residents.

This kind of up-and-down pattern will continue, and next week will probably be worse than this week. Then, with the holidays behind us, we can hopefully start getting those case numbers down for good.

Then, and only then, will we begin to comprehend everything we’ve lost, and everything that will never go back to the way it was.

Here’s last week’s map for comparison:

Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending Dec. 23

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

The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of

Susan Bigelow

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