With numbers of cases dropping in and around London (will it be sustained?) and rising in the north, the SW seems to have got off relatively lightly with the latest Covid scourge, so is our peak yet to come, as last time?
Figures for the 7 days to 3rd January showed Bude & Stratton at high levels with 188 cases, a case rate of 1773.8 per 100,000. Economically, it has probably come at a ‘good’ time for Bude as lots of businesses close for a period at this time of year. For some inexplicable reason, Bude is still one of the highest case rates in Cornwall, coming a close second to Columb Minor and Porth (1781.3) near Newquay.
The surrounding area is not quite so high. Poundstock and Kilkhampton had 79 cases, a case rate of 1037.6, while Hartland Coast feels comparatively low at 48 cases, a rate of 737.0.
In North Devon, Braunton is very high with a case rate of 1838.0, while Barnstaple Pilton has a rate of 1983.9.
Deaths and hospitalisation rates remain low, which is good news, with most pressure on hospitals caused by staff illness/shortages. Pressure seems to have eased somewhat since a couple of days ago. North Devon Hospital at Barnstaple also currently looks to be under less pressure.
Official Covid deaths in the UK have sadly passed a massive 150,000 (that’s also 150k grieving families) with 1271 fatalities recorded this week. Only the US, Brazil, India, Russia, Mexico and Peru have reported more deaths.
However, policy seems to be changing. So far, UK advisers say there is no need for a 4th jab, which is good news, and self-isolation periods have been cut (using negative lateral flow tests). Lateral flow rapid tests have been a game-changer in reducing spread, and they became faster and easier to use over time. Irene Petersen, professor of epidemiology at University College London says: “I’m serious when I say they have been the single most powerful tool in reducing transmission of the virus.” The vaccination programme has also been a huge help (though no doubt some will disagree – their choice).
Hopefully, 2022 will be the year we can all move forward.