East Riding health chief’s concern over the amount of people in their 60s and 70s catching coronavirus

East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s public health lead has said a concerning amount of people in their 60s and 70s are catching coronavirus despite infection numbers falling overall.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s public health director Andy Kingdom.East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s public health director Andy Kingdom.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s public health director Andy Kingdom.

Public health director Andy Kingdom said the trend came as infections in school age children, the previous drivers of infections in communities, had dropped.

Mr Kingdom added he was concerned the virus was now making its way to the elderly and clinically vulnerable as the effectiveness of their first vaccine doses starts to wane.

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It comes as 1,413 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the East Riding between Tuesday, October 19 and Monday, October 25, down from 1.600 the previous week.

The rolling infection rate fell from 466 cases per 100,000 people to 412 during the same period.

The equivalent rolling rates for Yorkshire and the Humber and England were 427 and 448 respectively between Tuesday, October 19 and Monday, October 25. 

There were 48 people in Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital with coronavirus as of Friday, October 29.

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Mr Kingdom said a fall in cases in younger people was expected after schools closed for half term.

He added rising numbers of coronavirus patients in North Yorkshire and South Bank hospitals could be a sign of things to come.

The director said: “Our overall infection numbers are coming down but there are concerns about case levels among older people and the amount of people in hospital.

“Humber hospitals are seeing about a third of the admissions they saw during the last peak in January.

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“Given the East Riding tends to see these trends after those areas do, there’s likely to be more pressure on hospitals soon and it wouldn’t take much to tip them over.

“We’re seeing cases rise particularly among those aged between 60 and 70, the question now is whether rates in that age group will fall.

“The problem is that coronavirus will always find its way to the most vulnerable  who it can more easily infect.

“The chain of infection in the population which allows the virus to spread is much weaker now because we’ve got the vaccine, but it hasn’t been broken.

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“What’s driving the trend is partly that there’s more infectious people out there.

“The school age children who were catching it before have now passed it to their parents and they’ve passed it to elderly friends and relatives.

“And the eldest and most vulnerable had their vaccines first which means the resistance from their jabs will be the first to wane.

“The other driver is people’s behaviour changing as we get into winter.

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“More people are mixing indoors and closing their windows, so conditions are starting to go in the virus’ favour and mask wearing and social distancing isn’t happening as much as before.

“There will be a big push on the vaccines for 12 to 15 year olds now pupils have gone back after half term, the rollout should hopefully be done by the end of November.

“The booster rollout remains the most important though, that’s the one that’s focused on protecting those who need it and I’m confident for it given the vast numbers who took up the original vaccine offering.

“But while the vaccines are great at stopping people from getting seriously ill and ending up in hospital, they don’t stop transmissions entirely so we need to exercise caution.

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“We’ve got as many people infected now as we’ve had at any time during the pandemic.

“Christmas is coming up and there will be people who are anxious about whether they’ll be able to celebrate with their friends and families.

“People know what to do now, it’s a case of looking out for each other and remembering that not everyone’s in the same situation when it comes to coronavirus.”

Article by Joe Gerrard (Local Democracy Reporting Service)