Tide of Coronavirus pandemic in Sheffield will 'start to turn' in February, health chief reveals

Sheffield director of public health Greg Fell has said the tide of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will finally start to turn by mid-February.

Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 1:53 pm

In a Sheffield City Council video posted to Youtube yesterday (January 19), the health boss gave residents reassurance that the country’s lockdown restrictions were helping to regain control of the virus crisis, as rates of infections and cases are falling across South Yorkshire.

Mr Fell told people that England will be in a better position to continue battling the Covid-19 pandemic by next month as ‘the tide will start to turn’ as cases, infection rates decrease and pressure on hospitals will start to ease.

It comes after the latest government health data revealed the rates of coronavirus infection had dropped to below 300 cases per 100,000 people in all four areas of South Yorkshire, based on tests carried out in laboratories and in the wider community.

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A woman sanitizes her hands - Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Sheffield’s rate of infections are were down to 232.4 infections per 100,000 people in the week to January 15, from 320.1 recorded in the seven days to January 8.

While the total number of new cases in the city also fell from 1,872 infections in the week ending January 8, to 1,359 new cases in the most recent period.

Sheffield director of public health Greg Fell said: “My sense is mid-February is when the tide will start to turn.

"There'll be enough people vaccinated by then.

"The effect of the lockdown will clearly have played into that by then and the turn of the seasons, more time will be spent outdoors and the risk of transmission is much, much less outdoors than it is indoors because of circulating air.

"I don't think we'll see much significant improvement until Spring but as I say, the tide will start to turn my sense is mid to end February.”

The city’s health boss praised healthcare workers for a successful vaccination effort, after the University of Sheffield’s Health Centre became one of the latest hubs to start injecting residents against the virus on Saturday, January 16.

Mr Fell also warned people that he could not offer promises on when life might return to normal, after new variants of Covid-19 caused the previous spike in infections which prompted the third national lockdown.

"It is very uncertain and I can't be in any position to promise anything but new strains will emerge and the B117 strain has been clearly a shot across our bows”, he said.

"The reality is Covid will be here, in some way, shape or form, certainly for the rest of this year.

"Vaccines are clearly part of the answer.

"Credit to everyone in Sheffield who has pulled out all the stops to vaccinate significant numbers of people really, really quickly.

"But we don't know if they reduce transmission so I think it will take us a long time to one, fully vaccinate the whole population and secondly because we don't know that vaccines reduce transmission – I think we will be in a space where we need to take care and learn to live with Covid for quite some considerable time to come.”

The public health director thanked people for obeying the current coronavirus lockdown rules, which he admitted were constantly changing and urged residents to continue to follow them.

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