Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, Matthew Ashton, says we still need to keep taking precautions, even if we’ve had the vaccine…
With the return of Premier League football, nightclubs reopening and concerts re-starting, it is easy to think that life is getting back to normal.
But we absolutely need to remain cautious because Covid-19 rates in Liverpool are more than 10 times greater than they were this time last year.
There have been around 1,700 confirmed cases in the last seven days and a 25 per cent rise in the number of over 60s with the virus.
There are more than 160 people in hospital in Liverpool with Covid-19, the highest number for many months.
Why is this, when so many people have been vaccinated?
Here are the main reasons:
The Delta variant, which accounts for almost all new cases, is far more transmissible than previous variants, so it infects more people
This summer, we haven’t got down to the very low virus rates of July 2020 – so that means that there is and has been much more virus about, to spread around
Society has now reopened much more than it did last summer, when there were strict limits on the numbers of households that could mix, and no large events
Although the vaccine is very good at reducing the risk of serious harm, and is good at reducing the risk of onward transmission in people who have been vaccinated, it does not reduce it completely – so vaccinated people can still catch and spread the virus
All of this underlines the importance of taking steps to keep ourselves safe.
Get two doses of the vaccine – it is one of the most important things you can do to stop yourself becoming seriously ill – but Liverpool is still lagging behind other areas when it comes to take-up. If you are over 50, you are 11 times more likely to end up in hospital with the Delta variant if you are unvaccinated. Remember that it takes 12 weeks from the time of your first dose until you have maximum protection from your second, there is no time to waste. Simply go along to one of the pop-up clinics in Liverpool where you don’t have to book: https://www.liverpoolccg.nhs.uk/health-and-services/coronavirus-information/covid-19-vaccination-clinics-and-drop-ins/. And if you get offered a booster jab later this year, please take it
Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces such as supermarkets, on public transport, or in a health setting – this helps protect other people if you have the virus but don’t know about it
Get yourself tested regularly, particularly before heading for a night out, or to watch the match. If you test positive, get a follow-up PCR test and self-isolate
The truth is that we are living with Covid-19 and will be for a long time to come.
We know that respiratory diseases such as flu are far worse in winter, so this will add further to pressure on the NHS – so the more we can do now to protect ourselves from ending up in hospital due to Covid, the better.
Small precautions will make a big difference in protecting you, your family and friends – and will enable us to continue enjoying the freedoms that we missed so much during the previous lockdowns.