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Believing Covid-19 doesn’t exist or isn’t harmful does not make it go away

PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 October 2020

Havering Council's director of public health Dr Mark Ansell. Picture: Havering Council

Havering Council's director of public health Dr Mark Ansell. Picture: Havering Council

Havering Council

Havering’s director of public health Dr Mark Ansell says we are all tired of the restrictions but we must also remind ourselves why they are there.

The clocks going back usually marks the season where people start coming together.

Halloween, Bonfire Night, Remembrance Sunday, Christmas and Diwali bring us together because we find warmth and light in a season where they are in short supply. It can’t be the same this year because the Covid-19 crisis means that we will have a long, difficult winter.

London and Essex are at High alert because the virus is spreading here. Infections are increasing, more people are in hospital and, very sadly, the number of people dying is growing.

If you have symptoms, or if you live with someone who has, you must get a test.

Testing sites local to you are open seven days a week. Book one at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119.

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If you are vulnerable to Covid-19, if you are over 70 or have an underlying health condition, there are sensible steps you can take to prepare for winter.

If you shop online, book in deliveries as far ahead as possible. Make sure prescriptions are up to date and get your flu jab booked in.

In early autumn, most of the new infections were in the 18 -30 age groups. Worryingly, the virus is now transmitting more in older people.

The measures in place now are there to try and keep the R rate – the number of people to whom one infected person will pass on the virus– below 1.

When that happens the virus will become more manageable again, allowing restrictions to ease. I know we all want that to happen.

In spring, we made a joint effort to protect social care and the NHS. We are all tired of the restrictions but we must also remind ourselves why they are there.

Working from home if you can, testing, self-isolating if you test positive, taking care of vulnerable people and sticking to the High level guidance is the way out of this.

Believing the virus doesn’t exist or isn’t harmful does not make it go away. It only increases the harm and time we have to live with it.


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