I hope everyone celebrating at this time of year has enjoyed the festive break. I know that many get-togethers have been disrupted due to the untimely impact of the highly infectious omicron variant of the coronavirus – mine certainly was.
As we move into the new year, we mustn’t forget how important it is to keep others safe despite early suggestions that omicron appears to be a milder variant.
But the concern remains that, even if it is milder, the sheer number of cases could overwhelm hospitals.
As of yesterday morning (Wednesday 29 December), 10,462 people were in hospital with covid-19 in England. This is up 48 per cent from a week ago and reflects the highest number of admissions since Monday 1 March.
Daily reported covid cases in the UK jumped to a record 183,037 as I write.
Cases are worryingly high in our own city. We are seeing more cases in Brighton and Hove than at any point in the pandemic.
You can be infected even if you’ve had covid before, and according to the council’s director of public health, those infected are generally passing it on to three to five others on average.
We know how serious this pandemic is and the impact that it is having on our NHS. So please think of others.
Every action that any of us takes has an impact on others. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, these are the steps we all need to take:
- If you haven’t had a vaccination yet, it is not too late. Please ensure you’re double vaccinated and take up your booster jab as soon as possible. Book online or call 119 to make an appointment.
- Reduce your close contacts and keep groups small.
- Meet outside where possible or open a window to let fresh air in when you’re inside, on public transport or in a car.
- Wear a face covering in all crowded or enclosed spaces.
- Take lateral flow tests before you meet others, socialise or go to busy or enclosed places.
- If you have any covid symptoms, or test positive with a lateral flow test, self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test.
- Stay at home if you are unwell.
I know it often feels never ending, but these are simple steps that we all can and must take to keep each other safe this winter.
Councillor John Allcock is the joint Labour opposition leader on Brighton and Hove City Council.