Our Health correspondent, Alan Bellinger has been looking at the latest on Covid here and has discussed the whole situation with Prof Jim McManus (Director Of Public Health for Hertfordshire) – he described the situation as “We need to learn to live with the virus and make it a manageable proposition”.
So as from this week the whole strategy has changed; that’s really down to the fact that so many people are now vaccinated in Hertfordshire (and indeed throughout the UK) that it means that Covid, whilst it’s still transmissible, isn’t anywhere near as dangerous as in the previous waves.
According to Jim there are four things we need to do right now
- Learn to Live with Covid – and make sure you’re as safe as possible.
- Build confidence in managing risk – Jim’s trick, if you’re in an enclosed space assume there is at least one person there with Covid and act with caution
- Support people suffering from grief and mental health issues;
- Prepare for the long haul – it’ll be at least two years according to Jim before we enter that Rethink Phase. And the big danger is new variants
At the moment, 97% of infections in the UK are the Delta or Indian Variant; but there are two others that are of concern – a French Variant of the Beta (South African variant), and Lambda – a variant that was first identified in Peru and is now in 38 countries (including the UK).
Covid Numbers – remember how, all through the pandemic when we’ve looked at numbers we always said that St Albans wasn’t being hit as bad as other areas of the county? That’s no longer the case! Our current case rate in St Albans is over 500 per 100,000 – and it’s up by around 20% on the week. Whereas the Hertfordshire average is around 350!
But that’s really not the key metric to be looking at in this “living with Covid era” – Hospital numbers are a far better metric – and at the last count there are 24 in Watford and 10 in Stevenage.
In Hertfordshire the vaccination numbers are good and there is less than a 15% gap between the best and worst groups in terms of vaccine take-up. And you can walk-in to the Alban Arena all this week if you still need a jab.
And on vaccination – should the young (12-17 years) be jabbed; it’s still under review but the core issue is this – “Is it ethical to vaccinate children simply to protect adults?”
Test & Trace – with the rise in infections there’s a consequent rise in people being pinged.