Coronavirus is on the rise. University students dominate the news, locked into their halls of residence. About a quarter of the country finds itself under lockdown.
My inbox is full of emails from people who are certain the government is overstating the figures, who believe there must be a conspiracy theory, who are sure CV19 is not as bad as the experts say. This comes in a week when University Hospitals Birmingham becomes the first NHS foundation trust to record over 1,000 CV19 deaths. In a statement, they highlighted that whilst 1,000 have died, over 3,000 of their CV19 patients survived. I know it was meant to highlight the good news of success, but a one in four chance of dying whilst hospitalised for CV19 sounds pretty scary to me.
We run a serious risk of learning what a local lockdown looks like right here in Wyre Forest. Worcestershire is a relatively low CV19 area, the weekly infection rate running at 39 per 100,000 of population. However, here in Wyre Forest, we have increased from around the mid 20s per 100K a week ago, to an alarming 49 per 100,000 now. That is a doubling in the space of a week and that is what a high R number looks like.
Compared to the nationwide average – 56 – we are still healthier, but it is the rate of increase that is the worry. If nothing changes, we may be near 100 in a week, 200 in a fortnight, and on it goes.
Those who are sure the risk is minimal are not just exposing themselves to increase risk. Their behaviour means everyone they come across is exposed to the same risk. An individual’s actions are not limited to that individual’s own health. By not wearing a mask, they are inflicting their opinion on everyone they breathe over.
I hear endless heroic stories of those working in the NHS and care sector, putting themselves at risk to help others. They are under enormous pressure, seeing people die or suffer long term effects of their CV19. Yet outside their workplaces, they witness those who believe this is all made up, ignoring medical advice, and flouting all the guidance.
The government really isn’t making this stuff up. Aside from anything else, there is no earthly reason why they would want to. So please, wear a mask, wash hands obsessively, keep your distance and follow the rules.