Last week the Prime Minister set out a road map through which we can very carefully return closer towards normality. It is a slow and deliberate process. It is only possible because the science shows that we have driven down the rate of infection, transmission in the community is at an increasingly suppressed level. Among other factors virus transmission is easier in densely packed cities. London, with a population of 9 million the largest city in Western Europe (around three times larger than Madrid or Rome and over four times the size of Paris), has suffered the largest impact of Covid in the UK but is now seeing a low level of transmission in the community and, with an “R” rate well below 1 this continues to fall. West Sussex has been in a better per capita position than London but this requires ongoing work.
There are no grounds for complacency. It has been the actions of all of us through lockdown that has achieved these results. A failure to continue to stay alert to the problem, practice social distancing, maintain the lockdown where required and focus on hand washing could lead to a resurgence in the virus. That is why the steps being taken are tentative and careful. The move into lockdown lent itself to an easy message: “Stay at Home”. The gradual progress out of lockdown does not: it will inevitably contain anomalies and nuance. There are many activities with similar risk profiles but judgments have to be made – if we embark on all of them at the same time individual risk profiles may be little different but the cumulative risk profile increases. A lot of common sense is required and I know everyone is keen to work together to get out of lockdown but do so safely.
The NHS has performed brilliantly and, unlike some other sophisticated health care systems, has at no stage been overwhelmed by Covid. Even though we are tragically continuing to loose people to this dreadful disease the number of new patients with Covid is, happily, continuing to reduce. There is a real urgency to ensure that people with other illnesses and concerns are not scared off from attending hospitals if required. It would be tragic if the dreadful loss of life from Covid is replicated because patients with other acute symptoms don’t attend A&E.
Another service, among many, that has continued to support residents throughout the crisis has been the police.
I know many residents are concerned about increased levels of speeding during lockdown. It was great to see that Ardingly has continued to hold its annual scarecrow festival this week. The scarecrows are placed outside participants’ houses and are there to remind people to respect the 30mph limit and drive safely in the village.
Ardingly isn’t alone in being concerned about speeding during this crisis with issues being raised in several villages and within Horsham itself. Incidents of speeding can be reported using the Operation Crackdown website. More information can be found using the following link: http://www.operationcrackdown.org/
Photo Credit: One of Ardingly’s scarecrows in this week’s scarecrow festival - encouraging safe driving through the village