Rates of detected Covid-19 infections are falling rapidly in England, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. It is not known at this stage whether this is a result of growing herd immunity and high vaccination rates. Undoubtedly both are helping. But we have seen many blips that have proven to be a mirage generated by testing capacity and timing. I hope the fall in rates is genuine and not a resulting of people people having been reluctant to get tested during the pingdemic. Although infection rates remain high it does look more encouraging.
The Office for National Statistics’ infection survey for the week ending July 17 suggests one in 80 people has the virus, up from one in 100 the week before, with the Delta strain accounting for almost every case.
A week ago, the seven day infection rate in Shropshire was 399 per 100,000 people. The best estimate for the infection rate for the seven days to yesterday was 230. There were 35 cases in Ludlow during the seven days to 19 July, a rate of 319, the highest it has been the town.
The surge in cases remains among younger people. Last Monday, 19 July, the seven day infection rate in Shropshire per 100,000 people was 537 for those under 60. For those 60 or over, it was 77. The rate of infection for those aged 90 plus was 78.
Only the Ellesmere area was free of reported Covid-19 cases in the week to 19 July (two or fewer cases are not reported under standard practice in demographic statistics). The local hot spots were Shifnal with 102 cases, an infection rate of 1,086. Donnington in Telford had 96 cases, a rate of 1,041. These rates are very high, though the highest rates in England are above 1,500.
It is known that the Delta variant is having a lower impact on health and on hospitalisations. The fatality rate is around 0.1% for Delta, compared with around 1.9% for the original alpha variant.
The health secretary, Sajid Javid, has recovered from his dose of Covid-19 and announced in a classic Donald Trumpian phrase that people should “not cower from the virus”. That remark has been widely condemned but he is right that people need to get their jabs.
Vaccination rates are high in Shropshire but there is still a need to complete vaccination among people under 50, especially second doses.
The graph of vaccinations is based on NHS data for first jabs and ONS mid-year estimates for population for 2020. The estimates seem to be getting adrift from the real population as 101% of the population of Shropshire aged 74-79 have been vaccinated. It is likely that the ONS is currently undercounting that cohort of the population.