Devon public health bosses’ thanks for ‘keeping the worst’ of Covid-19 at bay
- Credit: Daniel Clark
Devon’s director of public health has thanked everyone for their work to keep the worst of the coronavirus pandemic at arm’s length a year after the first lockdown was announced.
Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, said that on March 24 last year, when national lockdown restrictions were introduced and we were all told to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives, none of us expected that 12 months later we would still be living with coronavirus.
He said that for too many, touched by grief or sudden changes to employment or personal circumstance, the year has been painful, but that while the pandemic is very much still with us, there is a lot to be optimistic about, with the testing capability and the mass vaccination programme have a part to play in that.
Since the start of pandemic, across the county of Devon, nearly 33,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19, and 1,033 people have died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test.
But per population, at upper tier authority level, Devon has had the third fewest deaths of anywhere in England.
For cases, Devon has had the second lowest overall infection rate (with Cornwall the lowest), and East Devon is in the bottom ten.
Mr Brown said: “Unprecedented and ‘life-changing’ are the two adjectives we are familiar with hearing used to describe this pandemic that has touched every person’s life. In some respect, it feels like only yesterday, and yet to see where we were then and where we are now, the journey that we have all experienced has been long.
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“For too many, touched by grief or sudden changes to employment or personal circumstance, the year has been painful. Today has been named a National Day of Reflection by the end of life charity, Marie Curie, and offers a moment to stop, catch our collective breath, and remember.
“The coronavirus pandemic is very much still with us.
“But there is a lot to be optimistic about, and our testing capability and the mass vaccination programme have a part to play in that.
“We have done well in Devon to keep the worst of the pandemic at arm’s length, for which I thank everyone.
“So as we move towards the loosening of restrictions, we must do so with caution.
“The measures we have in place – social distancing, face coverings and washing our hands regularly – are likely to be with us for some time yet to come.
“And so they must remain, if we are to learn to live with this virus and not allow cases to rise again.”
He added: “We have learned a lot about ourselves these last 12 months, and a lot of good things have come from the changes we have had to make in our lives.
“If 2020 was a year we’d rather scratch from the calendar, then this year let’s try to keep hold of the many good things that we’ve learned, about our ability to adapt and to look out for each other, our families, neighbours and friends.”