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Covid-19 numbers highest ever as Van-Tam warns "too many people believe the pandemic is over"

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Covid-19 numbers highest ever as Van-Tam warns "too many people believe the pandemic is over"

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Covid rates in the South Hams are the highest they have been as England’s deputy chief medical officer says he fears infection is “spreading into older age groups”.

In numbers published by Devon County Councillor Roger Croad, there are currently 372 confirmed cases in the South Hams in the week preceding 30 October. Across Devon that number is 4,001 and in England it is 246,400. 

Cllr Croad said: “The numbers show a flattening of confirmed cases in all four local authority areas over previous recent weeks - this could be because of Half Term - the previous rise was almost entirely down to increasing cases in educational settings, with the highest numbers at secondary school years 7-10.  

“Of the 8,493 number of cases in the Peninsular, 1,238 were over 60, around 14 per cent - that is rising, and could be an early indication that the vaccine protection is waning before the booster jab.”

Tragically there were seven deaths in Devon over the same time period and there are currently 122 people in Devon’s hospitals, including 10 in the Intensive Care Unit. 

This news comes as England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam has said he is worried that “too many people believe the Covid-19 pandemic is over” and that “increasing numbers of deaths” show “the infection is now starting to penetrate into older age groups”. (Guardian

He told the BBC this morning, that: “I personally feel there are some hard months to come in the winter and it’s not over.

“I think a whole range of behaviours, including the use of face coverings, but generally the caution that people take or don’t take in terms of interacting with each other – that is going to be a big determinant in what happens between now and the kind of darkest months of the winter.”

Professor Van-Tam said we were in “half-time in extra time” in tackling Covid. He added: “I think the final whistle in terms of – I can’t predict it – but my personal view is that we’ve got a few more months to run, and I think we’ll be in a much calmer set of waters by spring.

“But I think, until then, caution, be very careful, this is not quite over and vaccines, boosters, [are] really important.”

Cllr Croad added that in vaccination news, 12- to 15-year-olds can now be vaccinated at vaccination centres, which should speed up jab rate - target date for completion is the end of November.

“The school age immunisation service is run by VirginCare who will manage any queries. They can be contacted on 0300 247 0082.”

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