Ending lockdown, take 2 – Lockdown easing

By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead

We are within a couple of weeks of COVID restrictions being lifted, but we must be careful not to think it is already over.

It isn’t, not by a long shot – cases in the Bay are soaring to new heights and last week 118 people in every 100,000 were confirmed as having the virus, which was uncomfortably close to the national average of 136 per 100,000.

That means that since this all started way back in March 2020 4,599 people in the Bay have succumbed to the infection – that is more than three percent of the population.

And we hardly need reminding that as of June 11th 167 people – our friends and neighbours died as a result.

There are cases again in Torbay Hospital, and whilst vaccination numbers are impressive – 83% of the adult population have received their first vaccination, which equates to 112,050 people, and second vaccinations have been delivered to 68 per cent of adults in the Bay – 91,800 adults.

But the vaccine, as effective as it is, does not make us immune, far from it, it reduces the number of transmissions and can help prevent hospitalisation as a result, which is why we need to remain vigilant.

Nationally, the Government calculates that the vaccination programme has prevented 7,200,000 transmissions and meant that as many as 27,000 have not had to be hospitalised.

Sadly, there are no comparable figures just for Torbay, but it seems reasonable to extrapolate those figures and be assured that the vaccination programme is having a significant effect all over the country.

Voices have been raised across the Bay, blaming the influx of tourists for bringing the Delta variant into our towns, and whilst in some cases that could be true, responsibility for halting the spread rests with us.

It is up to us to keep wearing masks, and it is up to us to ensure that we maintain social distancing, and it is up to us to keep washing our hands – we should be treating everyone, tourist or local, as a potential carrier.

It is most unfortunate that Torquay United fans not only suffered defeat at the hands of Hartlepool when they travelled to Bristol for the national league playoffs, but now fans are paying a heavier price, that of isolation having been contacted by Track and Trace.

Even before the number of cases reached their current levels, the Director of Public Health in Torbay, Dr Lincoln Sargeant issued his own warning.

He said: “As expected, cases of Covid-19 in Torbay are rising as restrictions ease. We continue to monitor the situation closely.”

“I urge the Bay’s residents to rigorously follow public health measures and in particular, for everyone over the age of 18 to book their vaccine, to get both jabs for maximum protection and to keep socially distanced.”

After 15 months of this, we all know the drill, but looking at the latest figures coming out of public health, some of us have taken the recent easing of restrictions as a signal to return to normal, casting caution to the wind.

It is so easy to forget the lows of 2020 and the first few months of this year, but there were times when the lows affected nearly everyone and fear was a palpable part of our daily routine.

As we stagger towards the all-important July 19th date, with talk of more vaccinations being planned for the over 70’s in September alongside their annual flu jabs, we must not lose sight of the real battle here and now.

There remains a reluctance in some quarters to enter the vaccination programme, and whilst I respect the right of the individual to make that decision, I would ask them to consider the potential effects of that decision on others.

You may never know that you infected someone as you go about your daily lives and that person could become ill, very ill or even die as a result and that can’t be right.

If you continue to be affected by the crisis in any way, then please call the Torbay Community Helpline and talk to one of our call handlers, who will be able to provide any support that you might need.

Remember – One Call, That’s All and the all-important number to remember, even when we are out of this crisis is 01803 446022. Or you can use the online form at bit.ly/torbayhelpline