Covid 19 & The Cornish Summer

Alert R Rate

Written by Jonny, Amenities Technician. 

 

“Stay alert and safe” is the message from the Government as the UK are down grading the alert from Level 4, epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially) to Level 3 (A COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation).

To me Level 3 still sounds pretty serious, and we need to stay vigilant.

Many people using the Camborne high street will have seen the social distancing signs on the floor, in front of benches, as stickers on lampposts, signs bolted to things and even banners and signs in green spaces.  Social distancing is set to be reduced from 2 meters to 1meter, this will allow pubs, restaurants hair dressers etc, to reopen and aid the consumer and businesses alike in getting things closer to how it was before March, when Lockdown started, and many may be surprised to know that the lockdown is actually still in effect and that this is only another easing of its restrictions and aid to their recovery strategy.

Many people have told me that making people aware of social distancing is pointless “as it will all be over next week”, but in fact we are still far from back to normal.

At this stage of Government recovery strategy:

  • You can spend time outdoors, including private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
  • You should go to work if you cannot work from home and your business has not been required to close by law
  • Children in early years (age 0-5), reception, year 1 and year 6 can return to childcare or school in line with the arrangements made by their school
  • You can be tested as part of the test and trace programme, which will enable us to return to normal life as soon as possible, by helping to control transmission risks

For the Easy read copy of the governments recovery strategy click the link below:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/891902/

For a more compromise version click the link below:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/884760/Our_plan_to_rebuild_The_UK_Government_s_COVID-19_recovery_strategy.pdf

As I read some of the information I quickly became aware some of it is dated and will be soon superseded, with relations to social distancing.  But the premise is still the same.

 

Summer and the Pandemic

The thing I find myself pondering most as an Amenities Technician for the Town Council is, as the people of our great county enjoy another easing restriction, what are the implications we face as a popular holiday destination? The population of Cornwall is around 570,000 and every year we receive around 4.5 million visitors and that figure looks to be the same if not more this year.  Camp sites, holiday homes, hotels, pubs and restaurants, these are just some of the highly attractive, high human traffic venues we can expect holiday makers to be using and that’s without highlighting such attractions as beaches from Tintagel to Porthcurnow and beyond, even such historic harbours as Charlestown, Mevagissey and Porthleven harbours, even coastal paths.  All of these are places that locals enjoying spending their time also.  But of course we heavily rely on the tourist industry as it brings in around £1.5 Billion pounds a year and not forgetting 53,000 jobs that rely on tourism in Cornwall. 

But these facts and figures aren’t for us to nod at or shake our heads at, nor is it for us to draw up plans on how the tourism industry should best mitigate the rise of the R number in Cornwall with a large influx of holiday makers from all round the British isles and even some international visitors too (as of the June 12th the R number for Cornwall is between 0.8 and 1.1). 

However, there are things we can all do as individuals and households alike.

As social distancing has come down to 1 meter the chance of infection is marginally higher, and we all know that the rate of infection (Ro) can rocket in very little time.  The first cases being in February and full lockdown in March.

We need to “stay alert” the more people we see, the more risk through exposure, to ourselves and more importantly our loved ones that are at risk (the elderly and those with underlying health problems such as diabetes, cancer, heart problems etc).

Do not become complacent, ‘complacency kills’ is a saying in many avenues of life, social distancing is still very important, many people will be asymmetric, meaning they will have no idea they have Covid 19 and may not even look ill, but transmission is still possible.

As a Look Forward

We have one main hospital in Cornwall (and though people will say there’s very few people in it with Covid 19) the soon to be opening pubs and holiday makers may mean the number of people using it will increase. To keep the rate of infection down we must social distance. To alleviate the burden on the NHS and RCHT we need to be pragmatic about the situations we put ourselves in, because if we’re not, a second peak could be just round the corner.