New Hampshire now holds a distinction that no state wants — the highest COVID-19 case rate in the country.
The chart-topping number of new cases comes as the Granite State grapples with the impact of a winter surge, something Gov. Chris Sununu characterized as “very serious” during his weekly news conference on Tuesday.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate climbed to 13.4-percent, according to CDC data published on Thursday. By comparison, Massachusetts’ seven-day positivity rate is 4.86-percent.
Over the last two weeks, coronavirus-related hospitalizations spiked by 43-percent, the governor said.
But many people weren’t surprised to learn of the troubling trends.
“I think that things have been relaxed too much by people who have been vaccinated,” said Martin Lorrey, of Nashua.
Evan Soares, also of Nashua, agreed.
“You see people — they don’t have their masks on. Stuff like that,” he said.
State Rep. William Marsh, a Democrat who left the Republican Party during the pandemic over its push against a vaccine mandate, said people are getting too comfortable.
Marsh, who is a retired medical doctor, said safety measures have also waned.
“At this point in time, people are really taking almost no precautions,” he said. “You go to the grocery store — people are not wearing masks. Vaccinations have plateaued at 60-percent.”
He pointed out that mask mandates in other parts of the state have been effective at curbing cases.
“Berlin [New Hampshire] Mayor Paul Grenier put in a indoor mask mandate, and their cases have gotten down and under control, which is a sharp contrast to much of the rest of the state,” he said.
In April, New Hampshire became the first New England state to lift its mask mandate. There are no plans to bring it back.