Coronavirus Coverage | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage

Credit Centers for Disease Control

Important links:

For more info on COVID-19 in N.H., visit the N.H. Dep. of Health & Human Services page here

A third COVID-19 vaccine is on the way, and this one requires only one shot for immunization.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Johnson & Johnson's vaccine for emergency use Saturday, a day after a panel of advisers to the agency voted unanimously (22-0) in its favor.

Doctor Ben Chan
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

As we begin the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Hampshire, scientists continue to learn more about the virus, and the race to vaccinate people as quickly as possible continues. We talk Monday about the new mask recommendations from the CDC, vaccine development and efficacy, and how to safely transition to in-person learning, work, and life. 

House lawmakers on Friday approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, advancing the legislation to the Senate.

The vote came days after the United States surpassed 500,000 deaths from COVID-19.

A sign outside King Kone in Merrimack reads: "Dr Fauci Needs You / Wear A Mask"
Emily Quirk, NHPR

After scaling back contact tracing efforts last November amid surging cases, New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services says it has resumed investigating all new COVID-19 infections.

Community health workers prepare for a vaccine clinic next to a sign that says "Clinical observation 15 minutes after your vaccination" in English and Spanish
Casey McDermott, NHPR

Inside one of Nashua’s community COVID-19 vaccine clinics, before patients arrive, nurses, public health workers and first responders are suiting up in scrubs and protective masks, sorting through paperwork and assembling supplies to administer the shots.

Capitol Building against sky

A $1.9 trillion package aimed at helping the country rebuild from the pandemic seems headed toward House passage.

Now, Democrats are also searching for a way to revive their drive to boost the minimum wage. The relief bill embodies President Joe Biden's drive to flush cash to individuals, businesses, states and cities suffering from the pandemic.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: Feb. 26, 2021

Feb 25, 2021

During a two-day session held in a sprawling indoor sports complex with chairs arranged to allow for social distance, the Republican-led New Hampshire House passed bills expanding the state's Stand Your Ground law, banning some abortions, and allowing patients licensed for therapeutic cannabis to grow their own plants. The House also voted to refund fines issued to businesses that violated COVID-19 orders, prompting a rebuke from some Democrats and from Governor Sununu who suggested in a statement that the bill could "incentivize law-breaking and reward those who do not follow the rules." At times, debate became rancorous, with some Democrats walking out in protest. Party leaders tried to set a somewhat conciliatory tone at the start of the second day.  

Air date: Feb. 26, 2021

A line of cars awaits at the Lebanon vaccination site
Courtesy of Barbara Pontier

Starting next week, New Hampshire will begin a large-scale effort to get more vaccines to people who are unable to get to fixed vaccine clinics — either because they lack transportation or have other medical conditions that prevent them from leaving home.

A resident at the New Hampshire Veterans Home receives the COVID-19 vaccine
New Hampshire Veterans Home

With COVID-19 vaccination clinics for second doses nearly complete at long-term care facilities, the state says it will release new guidance in the coming weeks to standardize in-person visits from family and loved ones.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

It’s been about a year since the coronavirus first arrived in New Hampshire, and the country has reached the sad milestone of 500,000 lives lost to the virus. NHPR is gathering photos and stories of people we've lost to the pandemic.

A sign says "Vaccine Available," next to other signs pointing to "Vaccines"
Todd Bookman, NHPR

Earlier this year, state leaders were eager to tout New Hampshire’s progress getting COVID-19 shots into the arms of its residents.

“Here, in New Hampshire, we continue to administer vaccines at a higher rate than most states,” Gov. Chris Sununu noted during a Jan. 14 press conference. “I think we're currently ranked about 12th on the CDC chart, in terms of administration.”

N.H. program to help renters

Gov. Chris Sununu says a new program will help eligible residents in New Hampshire who can't pay their rent and utilities because of the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID vaccine shot
NH National Guard

With demand for COVID-19 vaccines still far outpacing supply, states and health systems are under enormous pressure to ensure little—or ideally none—expires at day’s end. In New Hampshire, hospitals serving as public vaccination sites, as well as state-run vaccine clinics, are utilizing waitlists to manage last-minute appointments, though the lists themselves aren’t being publicized.

The Biden administration will distribute millions of face coverings to thousands of community health centers and food banks in an effort to help vulnerable Americans more easily mask up, officials said on Wednesday.

Portsmouth mask requirement sign
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

President Joe Biden plans to distribute millions of face masks to Americans in communities hard-hit by the coronavirus.

More than 500,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.

This week President Biden is asking Americans to mark the 500,000 deaths with a moment of silence at sunset Monday. He's also ordered flags on all federal buildings lowered to half-staff for five days.

New Hampshire State House photo
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A federal judge has rejected a legal challenge by Democrats to force New Hampshire House Speaker Sherman Packard to allow lawmakers with disabilities to attend House sessions remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sign thanking health care workers
Emily Quirk / NHPR

The U.S. stands at the brink of 500,000 deaths from the coronavirus. A year into the pandemic, America's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, calls the looming milestone horrible and historic.

photo of sign saying this stairwell is up only
Sarah Gibson/NHPR

While nearly all school districts in the state are offering in-person learning or a hybrid model, where students take classes in-person some days and at home others, Gov. Chris Sununu has ordered the remaining districts still in a fully-remote model to switch to at least some in-person learning.

UNH student Julia Sommer
Courtesy of Julia Sommer

It's been a tough year for college students as the pandemic has completely upended college life. The University of New Hampshire moved all classes online again last week to help combat the rising number of COVID cases on campus.

Julia Sommer is a junior at UNH studying theatre. NHPR's Morning Edition host Rick Ganley talked with Sommer about what things are like on campus now that there are even more restrictions in place.

photo of Carol and Al

During the pandemic, NHPR has received hundreds - if not thousands - of emails from listeners. People have written in expressing frustration with the government, or school closures, or to sing the praises of the National Guard and healthcare workers. 

One recent email stood out for where it was sent from: an Epping, New Hampshire woman named Carol Clapp writing from halfway around the globe.

Governor Sununu
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu will give a news update on New Hampshire's response to COVID-19 today at 3 p.m. While the Granite State is seeing a decrease in the number of new cases and hospitalizations over the past week, health officials announced 12 deaths last night due to the coronavirus.

House Speaker Sherm Packard
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Democrats in the New Hampshire House want a federal judge to force Republican House Speaker Sherman Packard to allow legislators with serious health conditions to attend next weeks’ House session remotely.

N.H. Renters In Line For More Relief, Though Details Still Unclear

Feb 16, 2021
Shane Adams via Flickr/CC -

Can New Hampshire spend $200 million in federal money to keep people in their homes when it wasn’t able to spend $20 million last year for the same purpose?

photo of doctor wearing mask

Before COVID-19 struck last year, the 18-bed ICU at Portsmouth Regional Hospital was already a busy place, full of post-surgery patients and emergency admissions: people suffering from heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia.

N.H. House members meeting outside in December, 2020.
Todd Bookman / NHPR

The 400-member New Hampshire House has found a new place to meet indoors later this month, but the Legislature's top Democrat is threatening legal action to allow lawmakers who don't want to meet in person due to COVID-19 the right to participate remotely.

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

People who are incarcerated have been particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks during this pandemic. New Hampshire's state prison system has been managing several outbreaks over the last few months.

photo of health care workers in scrubs
The National Guard

State health officials announced Friday that a highly contagious variant of COVID-19 has been detected in New Hampshire for the first time.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Friday its much-anticipated, updated guidance to help school leaders decide how to safely bring students back into classrooms, or keep them there.

photo of unh wildcat statue
Dan Tuohy | NHPR

The University of New Hampshire is suspending in-person classes due to a rise in the number of positive COVID-19 cases.