How Norfolk’s coronavirus figures compare to the last time we went into lockdown
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
Friday marked a hopeful milestone in the region’s fight against coronavirus.
It was a month since the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital recorded a death from Covid-19.
The James Paget University Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital have not reported a death since June 28 and July 9. In that time more people have died from boating accidents on the Broads.
The latest numbers also showed a decrease in cases in Norwich, Breckland, South Norfolk and Broadland last week.
So why is a new, temporary lockdown being considered by the government?
If we look at the number of cases nationally, they are now well above where they were when we went into lockdown on March 23. The government fears numbers will spiral out of control without new measures.
In Norfolk, case numbers are similar to late March at around 10 per 100,000 people.
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The important thing now is what happens to the trajectory and whether that leads to hundreds of people needing hospital treatment or dying.
Our charts, based on official figures, show no signs of a rise in hospital admissions or deaths in the east of England yet.
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Indeed, when it comes to hospital admissions we are in a completely different place to March. The day we went into lockdown, there were 106 hospital admissions for Covid-19 in the east.
Our most recent figure, for September 18, shows there were four.
The Norfolk and Norwich said it currently had one Covid patient in the hospital and 11 who had had the virus but were recovering.
At the James Paget, the hospital said it had no current cases but were prepared for more.
The government is of course in a very difficult position. It cannot afford to wait for deaths to rise before it takes action.
But in the map of England, which chief medical officer Chris Whitty used in a presentation on Monday, Norfolk is a reassuring green and light brown, meaning cases are either falling or level.
In North Norfolk cases can hardly fall any further, because testing has thrown up just one in the last week. Why would 100,000 people there maintain stricter measures when they know only one person has tested positive?
It will make another lockdown a very difficult sell.
Professor Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia, told this newspaper last week: “The problem is that we are running out of options.”
However, he dismissed the idea of temporary lockdown to halt the virus, saying it would again only stop it in the short term.