Month: August 2021
Devon is in denial about the pandemic – we must all quickly change our behaviour
Devon is seeing the highest rates of Covid cases of any time in the pandemic. For the first time, our region is the forefront of the wave, Exeter is a major hotspot, and our hospitals and ambulance services are under acute stress. The brief dip in infections after schools closed has now ended and all the signs point to a new surge early next month when they go back.
Yet people are behaving as though the pandemic has gone away. Elementary precautions are being abandoned – masking has all but stopped in many situations, there is little effort to secure proper ventilation, and no one seems to mind that our older children, almost alone among 12-15 year olds in Western countries, are not being offered the vaccination.
The pandemic is rising despite the fact that around 80 per cent of adults locally (70 per cent nationally) have been vaccinated. This is partly because, including children, well over a third of the population haven’t been vaccinated.
However it’s also because people really haven’t understood that the Delta variant is twice or three times as transmissible as the original variant. Be indoors in an inadequately ventilated space with an infected person, especially if people aren’t masking, even if it’s just for a few minutes, and you’ll almost certainly catch it.
You’re less likely to catch it if you’re vaccinated, and you’re much less likely to be seriously ill, but you can pass it on if you do. In these circumstances, it is hugely irresponsible of the Government to end isolation for people who are pinged or have been in touch with someone infectious.
Indeed the Government’s neglect of the public health risks has once again become outrageous. We have to do it for ourselves, for our families, our friends, our work colleagues – MASK, VENTILATE, SOCIALLY DISTANCE (AND VACCINATE)!
Town Council consultation – a chance to flag the urgency of progressing Seafront Enhancement
Seaton Town Council is running a consultation until 31st August asking residents how they would like the Council to prioritise its future spending and strategy.
The imaginative Seafront Enhancement scheme -which residents have repeatedly given their support to, which received planning approval in 2017, and has already cost over £60,000 – is not mentioned in the questionnaire.
The town has waited many years to see this project come to fruition. The Town Council needs to resubmit the planning application which was allowed to lapse last year.
Funding is in place for a first phase – which would greatly improve Fishermen’s Gap – to commence. However the Town Council is in discussions with EDDC about the best way to bring it forward, and any route which will get it moving would be very welcome.
If you want to see the Seafront Enhancement proceed, you can add your comments on the Council’s questionnaire (question 4) – available via the link above, at www.seaton.gov.uk or (in hard copy) from the Council Offices at Marshlands, Harbour Road.
As Covid surges in Devon, it’s important to prepare for next month’s school reopening
Exeter now has one of the highest Covid rates in the UK and large clusters exist across Devon, especially in urban areas where the population is younger. Covid is becoming a disease of young people, including children – nationwide, over 1000 children were hospitalised with Covid in July, more than three times the rate earlier in the pandemic. The County Council should be helping schools to prepare for the return in September, to stop a new explosion of the pandemic.
The new vaccination programme for 16 and 17 year olds is welcome but it is too little – if vulnerable 12-15 year olds can be vaccinated, why not others? – and too late to make a difference to the situation next month.