Suffolk Covid deaths rising but still low compared with earlier waves
- Credit: Archant
Deaths from coronavirus in Suffolk are slowly rising but rates are still low compared with the first and second waves of the pandemic, latest figures have revealed.
In the seven days to October 22, there were 10 deaths in Suffolk within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, government statistics showed.
Five weeks previously, in the seven days to September 16, there were three coronavirus deaths.
However, in comparison, at the height of the first wave, there were 84 deaths during the week ending May 1, 2020, and 138 deaths in the seven days to January 22 during the second wave.
The statistics show that vaccines are still working well overall to prevent severe disease - but experts have suggested there is some evidence that protection from Covid-19 is beginning to wane among those who were jabbed at the start of the vaccination campaign.
The Zoe Covid Study, published in the British Medical Journal in August, found the effectiveness of the Pfizer jab against infection in the months after the second dose fell from 88% to 74% at around the five to six-month mark.
For those who received the AstraZeneca jab, protection levels against infection fell from 77% to 67% over the same timeframe.
In total, 1,499 people have died in Suffolk within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
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Across the UK, 140,041 people have died within 28 days of a Covid test since the start of the pandemic.
Speaking on Thursday, the government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the models around what will happen with coronavirus are "quite uncertain at the moment" and there is a lot of variability.
He told BBC Breakfast: "Nobody is really clear which direction this is going in, but they are clear about the two big variables that could change that.
"One is waning immunity, so if immunity wanes faster than expected, you'll see a bigger increase, and that's why it's so important to get booster shots going in the vulnerable and the elderly in particular.
"The second is the behavioural change, how quickly we return to pre-pandemic behaviours... if you aggregate the models, most are saying 'Actually, it looks fairly flat, don't expect the very big peaks we've had in the past, it looks fairly flat, but at a very high level at the moment.'
"So the high level remains a concern and from a high level you can go up quite quickly."
He said that, as immunity builds from vaccination and infection in children, "there will be a resistance to transmissions (and) you may expect that (surge in children) to level off".
Asked if more than 40,000 Covid cases a day is a level that can be dealt with and is acceptable, he said: "Well, that's a societal question.
"There are high levels, and those high levels, of course, translate into levels of hospitalisation, but the levels of hospitalisation are very much reduced by vaccination.
"The lower the levels, the better in terms of overall overall outcome, but there are costs and consequences of decisions in both directions there.
"So that's a societal question about what levels are acceptable.
"I will say though - and it's an important point to make - that, as this infection becomes gradually becomes endemic, it will occur year on year, we will see this circulating every winter, I suspect, in particular.
"And so, gradually, as immunity builds, the protection will be there, the consequences will be reduced, but we're not there yet.
"We've still got, clearly, people going into hospital, it's still a significant risk."
Last week, Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk, encouraged people to get vaccinated amid a rise in case rates across the county.
He also urged people eligible for a Covid-19 booster to take up the offer when they could.
He said: "I would strongly encourage anyone who has yet to have their vaccine to do so and for those eligible for a booster to take up the offer when the time comes; immunisation gives us greater protection against the virus."