It’s getting scary out there. Yesterday, the number of new daily Covid-19 cases in the UK topped 60,000. The Directors of Public Health for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin have issued warnings that cases in both council areas are rising rapidly.
Cases are rising every area in the county except in the Bishop’s Castle area. Shifnal and Wem have particularly high rates of infection, as does much of Telford & Wrekin. There were 15 cases in Ludlow in the seven days to 3 January.
Further afield, London has declared a major incident as its hospitals hit capacity.
We all fed up with lockdown and restrictions but the data show there is no room for relaxation on the rules.
This is not like flu. Covid-19 is more transmissible, especially the new variant. It kills more people than flu. And we are beginning to learn that many of those that recover will suffer long term health impairment, including organ damage.
The screengrab above is from yesterday’s Indie_SAGE briefing. It shows weekly ICU admissions for this winter compared to recent flu seasons.
That’s why this lockdown is so important, despite the damage it will do to the economy and the strain it will put on our social fabric. I wish it were different. I wish the lockdown had started before Christmas in line with SAGE advice and that the Christmas Day relaxation of restrictions had been cancelled. But we need to get out of this.
Vaccination is the long term solution but supplies, logistics and bureaucracy are slowing down delivery. That’s not for want of local efforts. We are expecting announcement on ramping up the vaccination rollout across the county and here in Ludlow over the next ten days.
I have published many of these maps before. The darker the colour, the higher the infection rate per hundred thousand people over the previous seven days. The image above is the infection rate to 3 January, the latest data available for local geographies. The rate in Shifnal was 862. Wem was 1,040, the highest rate recorded for an area within the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin area. That’s 66 new cases in a week. Shrewsbury had 229 new cases in the same week, a rate of 309. The rate in Ludlow was 137, 15 cases a week.
To give an informal guide to these numbers. Up to 50 is low level and not of great concern, though people are still suffering. Over 100 is a cause of concern. Over 200 the concerns become serious. Over 300, very serious. Over 500 and it’s time to sound the emergency sirens.
The notable point from the graphs below is the very steep rise in infection rates since Christmas. This is much faster rise that we saw in November. That’s why every day counts in trying to damp down the third wave.
As I said at the beginning of this article, it’s getting scary out there. We all need to take care.
Notes on the graphs
The grey bars on the right of the graphs are data for the last five days. These are provisional data. The most recent day is overreported, the previous four days underreported. This is a continuous cycle of correction. We will not know whether the dip in cases in England in the last few days is real for a few days. And any impact from New Year socialisation will only be seen during the next week.
The data are for positive tests and this will underestimate the prevalence of Covid-19 in the population as some people are asymptomatic and are not tested.