Exactly two years ago today our Prime Minister spoke to us all saying “You must stay at home.” It seems a long time ago. At that stage there were no vaccines and no antivirals. We were just beginning to understand what coming out of the EU would mean for us.
Today, two years later, We have lost over 160,000 people from Covid, and thousands more severely incapacitated with long Covid. We have antiviral drugs, as well as effective vaccines. We understand the positive and negative effects of leaving the EU and we are seeing devastation and enormous loss of life from a war in Europe.
We are beginning to realise the financial implications of all of this. The Chancellor set out exactly what is happening, how our National dept is mounting up and what he proposes to do to help the many who cannot cope with the rapidly rising costs of fuel, food and other commodities.
Despite the hardships being cause to many in the UK, it is nothing compared to the plight of our Ukrainian neighbours. Some might argue that charity begins at home but few I think would say it also ends at home. Let us all make sure we do all we can to help those in need wherever they are.
5,141,533 Tests were performed in the last week, that’s 273 ,000 more than the week before. This figure has steadily been climbing. The number positive is over 600,000 in the last week, 87,000 more that just a week ago. the positive rate is now 862.5/100.000. This is much more than double the rate at the end of February.
13,844 patients were admitted between 13th and 19th March, 21% more than was admitted the previous week. The total number in hospital was 16,720 yesterday. That is 500 more than the day before. Three hundred and sixteen people were on a ventilator compared with 219 the day before.
Th number of deaths in the last week that have been recorded has also risen. There were 877 in the last week. 133 more than the previous week. The death rate has risen by 0.1 to a figure of 1.1 per 100,000 of the population
Figures remain static for the immunisations although there has been a 0.1% increase in the number of 3rd doses. Remember to have booster as soon as you are offered one.
Two newspapers, the Guardian and the Mirror report a considerable rise in the number of school children off sick with Covid . there were 202,000 absences on 17th March due to Covid. That is 3 times the number of just 2 weeks before that.
I am trying to finish this report in time to remind you of the service tonight at Westminster Abbey in memory of those who have lost their lives in the pandemic and to give thanks to the many particularly in the health service who worked above and beyond to care for those who were very ill. Over 50 NHS doctors died helping fight the pandemic.
Neither Covid nor Ukraine were in the headlines tonight. The financial crisis that is looming was felt more important. Thanks to the effects of vaccine we face a different scenario to the situation 2 years ago. Provided we are fully immunised and apply basic common sense we no longer need to fear Covid. It has not gone away but is nothing like the threat it was. We can live with it for now.
We are right to fear the consequences of the situation in Ukraine. We can all pray for wisdom to those trying to bring about a cease fire without further escalation to chemical or biological warfare or the risk of damage to nuclear installations. We can play our part in helping get aid to the refugees, in time if not financially.
We can review our use of energy. Can we reduce our temperature settings on the central heating by just one degree? Can we just have one hot meal a day, with others cold. Only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need, and turn off unnecessary lights at night. Only use the car when necessary. Can you double up with a neighbour or friend? What about dusting of a bike for short journeys? We can save a fair amount each week to pay for fuel charges. Help one another at all times. In a National crisis, its vital we all work together. Remember Plan K protects both you and others whilst we deal with other difficulties. Please stay safe.