WINCHESTER - 2022 or 2020, too?

This alleged new year is starting off like the last several, with COVID-19 surging throughout the country. That includes in Winchester, where although the percentage of those who tested positive remains below the state percentage, the current number is four times higher than it was at the end of October.

Winchester tested 4,261 residents from Dec. 12 - Dec. 25 and found 188 positive results for a 4.41 percent positivity rate. Consequently, Burlington tested nearly 600 less people but returned 150 more positive results for a nine percent positivity rate. Woburn also returned a nine percent positivity rate (9.20), but the city tested 2,200 more people than Burlington (and found 200 more positive residents).

The town, according to its data dashboard, currently shows 240 active, confirmed cases. For the month of December, the town uncovered 480 cases, by far the most of any month last year (the previous high was 309 in January). For comparison, last December, in 2020, the town hit 336 cases.

The one (and maybe only) bright spot to reaching so many cases involves the newish omicron variant reportedly being less severe than the delta variant. Some studies showed omicron producing more mild symptoms in those who contracted it. Of course, if those people were vaccinated that could explain it.

Speaking of vaccines, Winchester vaccinated at least 89 percent of all age groups save for those between ages 5 and 11. 65 percent of that group, who only recently became eligible to receive the vaccine, received both shots. The data, however, still doesn’t show how many residents received a booster shot (which some doctors/scientists believe should now mean someone is fully vaccinated).

On the school side, the numbers (unsurprisingly) crept up over the holiday break. Currently, 112 students and staff at all Winchester schools tested positive. This includes 42 at the high school and 26 at the McCall Middle School. In total, 348 students and staff tested positive since school began back in September.

Fortunately, even though cases continue to rise in the state, Massachusetts vaccinated nearly three-quarters of all its eligible residents (5.14M people in total). That puts the state in a tie for the fourth-highest vaccinated state, behind Vermont, Rhode Island and Maine (and tied with Connecticut). Four states still haven’t even vaccinated half their population: Mississippi (48.1 percent), Alabama (47.6 percent), Wyoming (47.5 percent), and Idaho (46.2 percent).

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