The infection rate, the number of cases per 100,000 people over seven days, reached 885 in Ludlow in the week to 17 October. That was more double the infection rate for England (388) and Shropshire (485) and considerably higher than for Telford & Wrekin (593). Although rates are now beginning to fall, they still remain at an all time high for our town.
It may be that Shropshire and Ludlow are playing catch up. The unitary area and our town had lower infection rates than much of the country during 2020. That could have led to a lower community immunity. With schools having been back and social mixing restrictions all but abandoned, infection has been growing in our community. Most clinically vulnerable people will by now have had two doses of vaccine and many have received their third dose. Most children tend to shake off Covid-19. But they can be very poorly. They can spread infection among their friends and family and a small number can suffer long term health damage.
There is significant concern that flu will be more severe this winter. We have been living in relative isolation in our local and national islands during lockdowns, restrictions on travel, shielding and social mixing. That means that immunity to flu is probably much lower this year than previously. That’s why there is such big push by the NHS to persuade people to get a flu jab this year. Paul Hunter, Professor of Medicine, University of East Anglia explains on The Conversation why flu jabs are essential this year. As he points out, you can get flu and Covid-19 at the same time. You can also get flu and Covid jabs at the same time if that is offered by your GP or pharmacy.
A quick reminder that if you have any symptoms that might be Covid, even if you have had two jabs, you should not attend a vaccination appointment. A small number of residents have been turning up “hot” with signs of infection. The best way to check your status is to take a lateral flow test before attending appointments or even before going for lunch with friends. Lateral flow tests are free and can be ordered online. But if you have symptoms, you can get a PCR test though the post or at one of several testing sites across Shropshire, including Ludlow Eco Park.
There has been some debate on social media about what the chances are of catching Covid, with one punter suggesting that the odds of catching the disease are around 1 in 4,200. This is wrong. The odds are around 1 in 4,200 that you will have had the disease. Based on the latest figures, people in Ludlow now have a 1 on 120 chance of testing positive for Covid over a seven day period. Daily the odds about 1 in 800. That’s a long way from 1 in 4,200. If you have been once, twice or thrice vaccinated your odds of catching Covid will be much lower but not negligible. Quite a few of us, me included, have had Covid after two doses of vaccine and I can assure you, while vaccination significantly reduced the impact, it’s can still knock you back for several weeks.
We have a way to go before we are out of this pandemic. We need to vaccinate the world, let alone the UK. Only that way can we minimise the risk of more dangerous Covid variants emerging.