COVID-19 BLOG: Some hope – but no time for complacency

Director of Public Health Matt Ashton reflects on the latest position regarding coronavirus…

There are grounds for some cautious optimism around the infection rate in Liverpool.

Since a peak of 3,282 cases in the seven days up until 11 October, we have seen a drop in the number of people testing positive for Covid19. For the week up to 24 October it stands at 2,391 – or 480 cases per 100,000 population.

I would put this down to the additional restrictions that were put in place towards the end of September that banned household mixing. It is likely that the move to alert level 3 and the closing of some venues will also help reduce the spread of the virus further. It shows that if we all work together and play our part then we can make a difference.

The less good news is that our infection rates are still in the top 10 of the highest in the country and it will take some time for this reduction to feed through to hospital admissions and death rates.

And there is no doubt in my mind that it will take some time and a lot of effort from us all before we are down to the low levels of infections we were seeing in August.

Liverpool epidemic curve from March 2020 until now, with key dates and milestones highlighted

All the evidence we have is that although virus numbers rise fast, they come down relatively slowly so we are under no illusions that there is any quick fix. We have to be prepared for the fact that we are in this for the long haul.

There are no easy answers to the challenges we face, particularly with the high levels of deprivation and health inequalities locally, which means the impact of Covid on our communities will always be more severe.

We are truly grateful to local people and businesses who are making huge sacrifices to help get case levels down and bring the virus back under control.

In summary: we have emerging evidence through the data are some early signs of success in reversing the explosion of cases we saw in September and early October.

But it is really vital that we are not complacent and keep hammering home the messages about the importance of everybody social distancing, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, getting tested if you have symptoms, and self-isolating if you are asked to do so.

It is the only way to control this pandemic.