Category: Covid-19

Covid Watch 156: Infection rollercoaster continues as cases rise locally and nationally

Covid-19 infection rates are on the up in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin and have stopped falling across England. This was perhaps inevitable after relaxation of social distancing regulations. Social mixing  is increasing and there is growing trend for people not to wear masks in public and enclosed spaces. While infections rates are rising, there has only been a small increase in hospitalisations due to the effectiveness of the success programme. In Shropshire, 78.4% of adults have received both vaccinations, with a further 7.1% having had their first dose. In Telford & Wrekin, the equivalent figures are 81.1% and 12%. Everyone 18 or over in England is now eligible for vaccination. All 16 and 17-year-olds in England are to be offered their first coronavirus vaccine dose or the chance to book one by 23 August and will be contacted by GPs or other local NHS service.

Covid Watch 155: The third wave recedes but is the rollercoaster ride continuing?

Infection rates in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin have until recently been dropping by more than 40% a week. The rate of fall was astonishing. But in the last few days there are signs that the drop infection rate is slowing in England and may even have halted in Shropshire. Infection rates are now low. Restrictions have been eased. The government is urging people to go back to work. But vaccination rates among young people remain low. Young people are less likely to suffer serious health impacts from Covid-19 but a small number will suffer seriously from the disease. They will also spread the disease and while the disease is prevalent, the danger of new variants emerging remains high, including escape variants which are able to dodge the vaccines. We have been on a rollercoaster since March 2020. We have found ways of working with Covid-19. But the epidemic will never be over until the world is vaccinated.

Covid Watch 154: Delta roller coaster continues in Shropshire and Telford as GPs urge younger people to get vaccinated

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.

Covid Watch 153: Rates of Covid infection in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin rising faster than nationally

Just as it looked like the rates of infection in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin were slowing a little, they are now soaring up. Cases of Covid-19 are growing by around 70% a week in Shropshire and 75% in Telford. That’s much higher than in England as a whole, where rates are increasing by around 30% a week. The growth in infection is among children of school age and young adults. No area of Shropshire or Telford is now free of Covid-19. That includes south west Shropshire where rates have gone from zero at the beginning of June to 102 per 100,000 people in the week to 11 July. Tomorrow, Freedom Day, has been called a gamble. It is certainly beginning to look like a gamble that could backfire. They should support shopworkers by keeping the wearing of face masks compulsory in indoor retail outlets and make mask wearing compulsory on public transport.

Covid Watch 152: Fewer than one third of local people want all covid restrictions to end on 19 July

The results of my straw poll are in. Just three in ten people want all restrictions lifted next Monday. Sajid Javid and Boris Johnson yesterday announced they are sticking to their plan to remove almost all restrictions on 19 July. But fewer than one-third of the 395 respondents think that all restrictions should end next Monday. From what I have learnt in the past week, wearing of face masks is the main concern people have about the easing of restrictions. We learnt from Javid yesterday that the easing of almost all restrictions is not “irreversible” as Johnson had previously claimed: “If [the] risk matrix changes, for example with variants of concern, we will not hesitate to take the appropriate action.”

Back to top