By Dawn Robinson:
Hope you had a good summer as Covid is on the move again according to official sources, with moves introduced to reduce group gatherings to 6 or below (not sure why 6). I’m now beginning to wish I’d gone on holiday this summer and not waited for things to calm down in the autumn!
The 6 rule will impact owners of larger sized holiday accommodation, I imagine. More cancelled bookings?
Yet, last week, Cornwall Reports mentioned that:
The government is withdrawing Covid-19 testing capacity from Cornwall and is devoting it to parts of the country where the disease is more prevalent.
It adds: “Please only get a test if you have symptoms, save the tests available for those who really need them,” said Public Health Cornwall. Cornwall Council is now working with Devon County Council in a bid to develop a plan to provide emergency cover.”
I’m not sure who all these people are seeking tests with no symptoms (I’ve had 2 though at the behest of research studies I’m involved in – negative). It still feels like what we actually need is an antibody test or a test of infectiousness. Not sure why that has not happened.
The third report from the country’s largest study on coronavirus rates of infection, led by Imperial College, London, has been published today – showing that cases are increasing steadily across the country.
The study examines levels of infection in the general population in England. The latest findings for the period between 22 August and 7 September – testing more than 150,000 volunteers – indicate cases were doubling every 7 to 8 days. It is estimated 13 people per 10,000 were infected in England, compared with 4 people per 10,000 between 24 July and 11 August 2020.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
We’ve seen all across the world how a rise in cases, initially among younger people, leads to hospitalisations and fatalities. The pandemic is not over, and everyone has a role to play to keep the virus at bay and avoid another further restrictions.
It’s so important that everyone abides by the law and socialise in groups up to 6, make space between you and those outside your household, get a test and self-isolate if you develop symptoms and wash your hands regularly. It is vital you engage with NHS Test and Trace service if contacted to provide details of your close contacts and self-isolate if you are asked to do so.
COVID-19 cases are shown as no longer clustering in healthcare or care home settings, as seen in May and June, suggesting the virus is now spread more widely in the community. Infections are increasing across all adult age groups below the age of 65 years and across all areas of the country, with higher rates seen in young people aged 18 to 24 years. Infection is highest in Yorkshire and the Humber, the North East and the North West.
The Prime Minister this week announced further measures to keep coronavirus cases low. From Monday government is introducing the rule of 6 in law. Individuals must only meet socially in groups of up to 6 people in any settings indoors or outdoors, including your home, restaurants and pubs. There are some exemptions including organised sports, weddings and funerals. It is important to continue to keep your distance from others outside your household.
Professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial from the School of Public Health, said:
Our large and robust dataset clearly shows a concerning trend in coronavirus infections, where cases are growing quickly across England and are no longer concentrated in key workers. What we are seeing is evidence of an epidemic in the community and not a result of increased testing capacity. This is a critical time and it’s vital that the public, our health system and policymakers are aware of the situation as we cannot afford complacency.