Category: Covid-19

Covid Watch 146: Cases still low but rising as Delta variant spreads

We are all tired of the epidemic. We all want life to get back to normal. But there is growing doubt that we will see a full relaxation of restrictions on 21 June. There is a notable growth in cases in England. In Scotland also but not in Wales where restrictions have been stricter for longer. Case levels in England are relatively low, averaging around 6,000 cases a day so far this month. Over the equivalent period in January at the peak of the second wave, we were witnessing 47,000 cases a day. But positive tests are increasing and again growing here in Shropshire. There are no reported cases here in Ludlow and south west Shropshire. But there are a rising number of cases in the Church Stretton and Much Wenlock areas, further north in Shrewsbury and around Baschurch. And in Telford & Wrekin. Though the number of cases is low, the trend is up and that is what is worrying health professionals.

Covid Watch 145: All quiet in Shropshire but national concern over Delta variant

It is looking good here. First dose vaccination rates are close to 100% and most people who have been offered second dose have taken it up. There have been no reported cases of Covid-19 in Ludlow for twelve weeks. Over the last seven days, 29 cases have been reported in Shropshire and 69 in Telford & Wrekin. Compare that to the first seven days of February, when there were 613 reported cases in Shropshire and 462 in Telford & Wrekin. The wider picture is less settling. The Delta variant is spreading rapidly in urban areas though it is not as yet putting a strain on hospital services. But its spread means that Boris Johnson’s Midsummer’s Night Dream of full re-opening on 21 June may still prove to be a lot of bottom.

Covid Watch 144: Despite outbreaks it is looking good as Shropshire approaches near zero Covid

Readers of this blog know I am never one to claim we have surmounted a hurdle before we have done so. But the Covid statistics for Shropshire, including south west Shropshire and Ludlow, remain very low. It is looking good. The outbreak of Covid-19 at the Crew Cake bakery in Bala has spilled over into Oswestry where some of the workers live. Health chiefs across the region are on the task and the outbreak is not expected to spread infection. Concerns over a variant in Telford have led to a surge in testing but the overall level of new cases remains low. Vaccination rates are high with almost all those in Ludlow over 60 years having been vaccinated by 25 April.

Covid Watch 142: Good news as Covid-19 cases approach zero in Ludlow and Shropshire

New Covid-19 cases have been at zero or close to zero in Ludlow for weeks, and very low in the rest of south west Shropshire over the same period. Our county is coming close to being Covid-19 free, although there are likely to be local upsurges as restrictions ease. Although all over 50s have been offered a vaccination before the end of the month, half our population locally is under 50 and will not be vaccinated until mid-summer. And that is dependent on vaccination supplies. But let’s not miss the good news. The town centre was buzzing yesterday morning and it felt like life is returning to normal. We will all welcome that.

Covid Watch 141: Would you welcome a vaccination passport if they were introduced? Vote now

I have very mixed views about vaccine passports. The government is resisting the idea. Ministers worry about the complexity and potential discrimination, though rather less about the intrusion into civil liberties. But many people I know support the idea if it is the price of getting access to their favourite hostelry, restaurant or entertainment venue. There is even talk of using vaccine passports for shops. With  “non-essential” shops and pubs opening across the country and in Ludlow today, I am asking the question – do you support vaccination passports?

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