Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending Jan. 13, 2021

There’s a moment in the HBO series “Chernobyl,” which you should absolutely watch if you like feeling dread and realizing that things could absolutely be worse, where the man in charge when the #4 reactor blows, Dyatlov, wants to know how much radiation there is.

His cowed underlings tell him it’s 3.6 roentgen. “3.6 roentgen,” he says, “Not great, not terrible.” Dyatlov brushes aside the fact that their dosimeter only goes up to 3.6. They are, in fact, in much worse shape than their instruments can tell them.

That’s this week’s COVID-19 case prevalence map; it’s 3.6 roentgen, but only because we have the cheap dosimeter. The scale here only goes up to 40+ cases per 10,000 people, and most of the map has the color corresponding to that category. I made this scale back in April when I couldn’t imagine how much worse things could get. The reality is that many of these towns have case prevalence rates of 50, 60, 80, 100, and higher. If you mouse over each town you’ll see the actual number.

Changing the scale at this point would make it much harder to compare what is happening week to week. The darkest color on this map still stands for dangerously high case numbers in proportion to population.

This week, I fervently hope, is the peak. We’re two weeks out from the Christmas/New Year’s holiday, and this is usually the point in the cycle when things start to improve. There are no other big holidays looming where we all feel the need to go gather with one another.

Then again, if new, more contagious mutations of the disease start spreading here, the patterns we’ve observed in the past may become far less predictive.

There were 21,122 new cases recorded last week, which is a record that far exceeds the 17,233 recorded the week ending Dec. 16. That works out to a case prevalence for the entire state of 59.12, and a test positivity rate of 7.08%.

Let’s take a look at the map.

Case prevalence is very high all over the state. There are very few towns with a case prevalence under 30. Two towns, Cornwall and Canaan, recorded zero cases this past week.

On the opposite end of the scale, Bozrah (126.13), New London (100.96), Norwich (102.97), Putnam (108.97), Voluntown (122.29), and Wethersfield (115.02) all had a case prevalence of 100 or more new cases per 10,000 residents. Put another way, one in every hundred people in those towns caught the disease this past week. All of these towns except Wethersfield were in eastern Connecticut.

Connecticut will begin the next wave of vaccinations next week, which could potentially vaccinate up to 1.5 million residents. That, and the fact that we’re not getting together for a holiday right now, should hopefully start bringing our case numbers down to something a bit more manageable.

Hopefully. In the meantime, please wear your masks and practice social distancing, if you must go out!

Here’s last week’s map for comparison:

Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending Jan. 6, 2021

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 or any of the author's other employers.