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HEALTH MATTERS: 'Even if we forget about Covid, Covid will not forget about us'

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Dr Tim Allison
Dr Tim Allison

It can be easy to get confused, writes Dr Tim Allison.

Perhaps something is complicated, or things happen that we don’t expect.

One insurance company has even built on being confused as its name and its marketing campaign!

Covid has not always been easy to understand and recent events may have increased people’s confusion about exactly what we should do.

Rates of Covid infection have been going up in the last few weeks and while we have seen encouraging signs that numbers of infections are improving in some areas, there is still much more infection around than at the start of the summer.

Some restrictions are gradually being eased, but the way that this is being done differs across the UK.

What are we to make of this? Has the threat from Covid gone away?

Sadly, the threat from Covid has not gone away, but the effects that the virus is causing have been much reduced thanks to vaccination.

People are still being admitted to hospital and the current major virus variant, the Delta variant, is much more infectious that the original strain.

Isolation following Covid infection or contact is having a significant effect on public services and businesses.

We may look back fondly to last summer where things seemed largely back to normal and virus rates were extremely low, but that followed a long time of lockdown and the Delta variant had not yet appeared.

We are much better off now that we have the vaccines.

Local vaccination rates have been high, and I would encourage anyone eligible who has yet to take up the offer of vaccination to do so.

It is particularly important to have two doses to protect against the Delta variant and I am delighted that uptake rates for
second doses are high in Highland.

We are expecting further Covid vaccinations to be announced for the autumn to go alongside the influenza vaccination programme.

I would again encourage people to take up the opportunity when offered both Covid and influenza vaccinations since both diseases can have a serious impact on ourselves and others.

Relaxation of restrictions will benefit the economy, jobs and many aspects of our daily lives and decisions on restrictions need to balance up a long list of risks and benefits, but we are far from back to normal.

We may be starting to forget things like the FACTS (Face covering, Avoid crowds, Clean hands, Two-metre social distancing, Self-isolate) guidance, but the principles of good hygiene and decency towards other people are easy to remember.

We may get confused by some of the messages but washing hands and using face coverings should not be confusing, nor should getting tested when we have symptoms.

What is perhaps most important is to remember that Covid is still around.

Even if we forget about Covid, Covid will not forget about us.

Dr Tim Allison is director of public health with NHS Highland.

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