The Coronavirus, known as Covid-19 is on a fight for its survival. To do that it continues to mutate and this most recent one, Omicron, is the most transmissible yet.
That means it passes on to people much more effectively than previous mutations. As the number of cases increases it will try to mutate again, perhaps becoming even worse.
Millions of us in Scotland have now been vaccinated and the much needed booster programme is well underway. Our health and care staff have been working to the limit, and beyond, now for nearly 2 years. Other front line staff : delivery drivers, public transport, refuse collectors, posties, educational workers, retail staff – have kept us going through months of lockdown and into this next phase of the pandemic.
We have come to appreciate who is of real value in our communities. And the importance of friends, family and social networks.
The deaths due to Covid have been shocking: 147,000 to date in the UK and many people are now struggling with long covid.
But in all of this we are not powerless. The scientists have provided us with vaccines and research. Our NHS has provided us with vaccination.
We have a simple task – which is to protect those who are too young to get vaccinated or who, because of medication (say cancer treatments) are unable to get vaccinated.
And it’s quite straightforward how we do it.
- get the vaccine or the vaccine booster
- limit the amount of social contact you have with other households – gather in groups of no more than 3 households
- avoid crowded places – shop at quieter times and follow safety measures in shops and other places
- if you don’t have symptoms take regular lateral flow tests – especially before mixing with other people – get LFD tests
- if you have symptoms – self isolate and book a PCR test
- wear a face covering where required
- work from home if you can
- take an LFD test each time before you visit someone in a hospital or care home
- wash your hands regularly, and cover your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing
- open windows when meeting indoors
- use the apps: COVID status, Protect Scotland and Check-in Scotland
Public Health Scotland no longer publishes local statistics over the weekend but here are the ones for Scotland published on 19th of December 2021.
- 5,924* new cases of COVID-19 reported
- 47,382* new tests for COVID-19 that reported results
- 13.9%* of these were positive
- 1 new reported death(s) of people who have tested positive (noting that Register Offices are now generally closed at weekends)
- 38 people were in intensive care yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
- 504 people were in hospital yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
- 4,371,171 people have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, 3,991,879 have received their second dose, and 2,501,033 have received a third dose or booster.
*Public Health Scotland note there continues to be an impact on turnaround times between specimens being taken and results reported, due to larger volumes of tests being processed by labs
This is the season of goodwill, thinking of others, be they family, friends or those within our communities struggling with loneliness and isolation.
We have the power within each of us to do this and to make the difference to limit the spread of Covid and its devastating consequences on health, wellbeing and the economy.