Tag: Covid Watch

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.”

Covid Watch 150: Vaxxers – The Inside Story of the Oxford Vaccine

Having published 150 blog posts on coronavirus since March 2020, and as a recipient of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, I was eagerly looking forward to the publication of this book. When it dropped into my Audible inbox this morning, I immediately began listening as I ploughed on with my daily business of a councillor while living in self isolation. I was not disappointed. Sarah Gilbert is Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University. Dr Catherine Green is also at Oxford, where she is an Associate Professor in Chromosome Dynamics at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics. Together they tell the story of how the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine was developed in record time amid a pandemic that affected their lives as much as everyone else’s. Their message is: “We went faster because we had to.” That was despite at times feeling the strain of “an unedified mix of science, politics and emotions.”

Covid Watch 149: Vote now. Is Boris Johnson right to lift coronavirus restrictions on 19 July?

“Freedom Day” has already delayed from mid-June. Last night, Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid set out plans for Step 4, England’s exit from almost all restrictions. There will be no limits on gatherings. Pubs and hospitality businesses will return to normal. People will no longer be encouraged to work from home. Face masks will not be compulsory. Rules on schools are to be announced today and international travel shortly. Is this the right move? Is now the right time to lift restrictions? Or should we wait longer before easing up? Let us know your view by voting below.

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