Devon is in denial about the pandemic – we must all quickly change our behaviour

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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 colleaguesMASK, VENTILATE, SOCIALLY DISTANCE (AND VACCINATE)!

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