The news is mixed. Coronavirus cases are beginning to rise sharply in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. We have new cases here in Ludlow. We are not yet seeing the levels of infection witnessed during the second wave. But infections can grow rapidly among unvaccinated populations and Shropshire is witnessing a accelerating number of cases very week. At beginning of June, seven news cases were identified daily. By the end of June, that had grown to 63 cases a day. If that were to continue, we could be seeing more than 500 new cases a day by the end of July.
We are in a race between vaccination and the disease.
Better news is that the virus is having less impact because it is spreading in the younger fitter population. However, some young people will still suffer serious harm from catching the disease.
Nationally, more than 20,000 cases are being detected each day. During May there were around 2,000 cases a day.
Although they are less likely to be hospitalised or die from COVID-19, young people in can catch the virus. Some develop severe and lasting symptoms, particularly if they are living with obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure or other conditions. Young people, and I am talking here of adults under 40, are more mobile and more social. Because the effects of Covid-19 are not overall as severe as among those over 60, some young people feel a sense of invulnerability and care little for ignoring the rules.
The heatmap above shows that the virus is principally spreading in the younger population. The spread among the eldest has slowed significantly.
Many young people may pass the illness to others unknowingly. None of the vaccines gives 100% protection against the virus. Some people cannot be vaccinated for health reasons. The virus is mutating and so far, the current vaccines are proving effective. That means there is a continuing risk of long term damage to people’s health from the virus.
We are all looking forward to relaxation of the covid restriction on social distancing and wearing of face masks. Some Sunday newspapers are reporting that on 19 July, the requirement for face masks will become voluntary in shops, hospitality venues, on public transport and elsewhere. Boris Johnson is said to be planning to scrap the regulations that require businesses to collect contact tracing details for customers. We will no longer need to scan a QR code or sign in when entering a bar, restaurant, hairdresser, gym or other venue.
There is a contrary view in today’s papers. The Guardian reports that some scientists believe the third wave of cases could be enormously disruptive, even though hospitalisations and deaths may be greatly reduced.
As always, we are witnessing a tension between the political and economic imperative to loosen restrictions as soon as possible and the need to reduce illness and deaths.
As always with coronavirus, the future is uncertain. The best action people can take is to ensure that they are vaccinated. Vaccines are now available for all over 18s. Walk in clinics are open in Telford, Shrewsbury and Oswestry. Locally, you need to contact your GP or preferably book online.