Is Covid-19 finally a thing of the past in Lincolnshire?

With new strains of Covid-19 continuing to emerge and hospital admissions rising, there has been media speculation about the possibility of winter restrictions.
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However, Lincolnshire health experts say public levels of immunity means we are unlikely to see any drastic measures.

The discussion came after members of the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies warned of a possible new wave of infections from the latest variants.

The latest NHS data indicates hospital admissions across the UK have risen by nearly 30 per cent since June.

Andy Fox, Lincolnshire assistant director of public health. (Photo by: Chris Vaughan Photography for Lincolnshire Council)Andy Fox, Lincolnshire assistant director of public health. (Photo by: Chris Vaughan Photography for Lincolnshire Council)
Andy Fox, Lincolnshire assistant director of public health. (Photo by: Chris Vaughan Photography for Lincolnshire Council)

However, the situation in Lincolnshire seems to be different as hospitalisations have actually gone down over the summer season.

As of right now, there are only five patients receiving treatment for Covid-19 in Lincolnshire hospitals, down from 12 on June 7. Furthermore, there were only nine inpatients on August 12 and none on July 12.

As colder weather approaches, scientists anticipate an increase in social interactions indoors, which may lead to a potential rise in cases.

However, the consistently low hospitalisation rate in Lincolnshire suggests that Covid-19 could be evolving into a condition akin to the flu.

Ultimately, this means restrictions such as face masks and lockdowns could be a relic of the past.

Andy Fox, Lincolnshire assistant director of public health, attributes much of the current situation to the successful vaccine rollout.

He said: “Thankfully, lockdowns for Covid-19 are no longer likely in the UK because we have significant levels of immunity in the population, from vaccines and from previous infections.

“New variants are emerging regularly, but there is currently no evidence to suggest that they cause more severe disease. We always expect more cases of respiratory viruses as we get into autumn and towards winter, and this is true for colds, flu and Covid as well.

“The best protection is for those who are eligible to take up the offer of vaccination when available. Other than that, we can all take sensible precautions such as staying home from work or school if we have cold, flu or Covid symptoms.”

When asked about projections for the upcoming months, a representative from the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) responded: “Unfortunately, we are unable to predict how this may change over the autumn and winter months.”

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A spokesman for NHS Lincolnshire Intergrated Care Board agreed with Mr Fox as the ICB encouraged eligible people to receive their booster vaccine this autumn.

He said: “The autumn vaccination programme has been brought forward as a precautionary measure, following the latest expert advice on the new covid variant, and will get underway shortly, starting with care homes and housebound people from September 11, before moving on to other eligible groups from September 19.

“Our aim is to enable those who need it most to get vital protection from both covid and flu over the winter months, to stop them developing serious illnesses and helping to minimise hospitalisations during what is likely to be a busy and challenging winter period.

“If you’re aged 65 and over, you are eligible for both a Covid and a flu vaccination this winter, so if you are eligible please come forward as soon as possible.”