Covid: Sheffield infection rate '10 times' higher than last year - are we heading into lockdown?
In many respects, life feels like it is back to normal in Sheffield with restrictions lifted and people heading back to the workplace.
It’s been a few months since the last lockdown, and there is talk of people ‘learning to live’ with Covid-19, as vaccinations dramatically reduce the number of people hospitalised and killed by the virus.
However, in Sheffield the virus remains a threat, and the city’s director of public health has said that the infection rate is in fact much higher at the moment than it was this time last year, when we were fast approaching the winter lockdown.
Greg Fell said: “It is stable at the moment. It is flat but high – hovering around 315 per 100,000 of the population. It is worth noting that this is 10 times higher than it was this time last year.”
A total of 301 new people in Sheffield had a confirmed positive test result reported on October 12, 2021.
Between October 6, 2021 and October 12, 2021, a total of 2,197 people had a confirmed positive test result. This shows an increase of 16.1 per cent compared to the previous seven days.
The latest figures available for the number of people hospitalised are not as recent, but they do offer insight.
Nine people with coronavirus went into hospital on October 3.
Between September 27 and October 3, 64 went into hospital with coronavirus. This shows a decrease of -3.0 per cent compared to the previous seven days.
And there were 83 patients in hospital with coronavirus on October 5, 2021.
Meanwhile, there were 11 coronavirus patients in hospital beds with a mechanical ventilator on October 5, and between October 6 and October 12, there were nine deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. This shows a decrease of -35.7 per cent compared to the previous week.
Mr Fell said that the only reason Sheffield is not headed towards a lockdown with figures like this is the vaccination programme.
He explained: “One year ago we would have been in full lockdown with this infection rate and these figures.
“The vaccine programme is the thing that made all the difference. The rate is high and some people are ill or in hospital but it is nothing like the same as it was in the past. It is in a completely different league thanks to the vaccine.
“Mostly the high infection rates are in school age children. It is creeping up a little bit in the 18-24 age bracket but not much.
“School kids are the least well vaccinated. The least well vaccinated groups are the groups where transmission is the highest.
“When we roll out the vaccine for a new age group we start to see the transmission rate among them come down. So the rate among young people will come down as more are vaccinated.
“The vaccine does what it was said it would do. It hugely reduces the number of hospitalisations and deaths and it reduces transmissions.
“In other age groups it is not as high. The transmission rate is still too high for comfort but it is nowhere near as high as it could be.”