Original article from Kent Live
A year has now passed since we entered our first national lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus.
It’s hard to think back to March 2020 but we probably didn’t think we’d still be in lockdown 12 months on.
The last year has seen restrictions eased and tightened at various stages and plenty of false dawns.
Whether it be "turning the tide in 12 weeks" or the relaxation of the rules over Christmas, we’ve had plenty of hope but now it finally appears that we can look ahead and be positive.
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As was the case last summer, warmer weather will help bring infections and deaths down but we now have another weapon to help fight against the virus.
The rollout of the coronavirus vaccination across the country has been a resounding success and has seen 30 million people receive their first dose.
The impressive rollout of the vaccine and near three month lockdown has led to Boris Johnson laying out a road map out of current restrictions.
If all goes to plan and we continue to vaccinate well and keep infections down we could be free of all restrictions by June 21.
The plan is for all shops to be open from April 12 with pubs and restaurants operating outdoor services too.
Five weeks later on May 17 and restaurants and cafes will be able to allow customers inside.
Hospitalisations in Kent have fallen by 91 per cent
At the beginning of January there were more than 1250 people in hospital in Kent with coronavirus.
Two months on and that number now stands at 90 – a decrease of 92 per cent.
Currently the East Kent Hospital trust has the most number of patients with COVID at 40, but that is down from 423 at the beginning of 2021.
The good news doesn’t stop there as there are currently just 6 people being treated for coronavirus on ventilation in Kent.
That number was at 68 on January 4 – a decrease of 91 per cent.
Protecting the NHS and saving lives has been the message for large parts of the last 12 months and after getting close to the brink over December and January the numbers are now much more manageable.
Daily deaths to COVID have fallen significantly
126,000 people in the UK have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
That’s hundreds of thousands of families who lost loved ones before their time.
In Kent, the number of deaths from COVID is over 4500 and still rising as the impacts of the deadly virus are still being felt by families up and down the country.
However, there is positive news in the data.
The rolling average of daily deaths to coronavirus in Kent now stands at 2.9 but it was 51.3 in the middle of January.
Vaccinations rollout continuing to go well
The latest data as of Thursday March 25 revealed that 865,000 people in Kent and Medway had received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
That equates to 80 percent of people from the top nine priority groups across Kent.
Nearly 90,000 doses have been given to people over the age of 80.
Nearly 70,000 people in Kent and Medway have also received their second dose of the vaccine which should enhance their protection either more.
While it was revealed this week that the mass vaccination centres may close for a couple of weeks – this should not impact people receiving a second dose.
Infections down by 96 per cent despite increased testing
We have all seen the news that infections are ticking up ever so slightly in Kent but the general trend is still down significantly.
On January 4 the rolling infection rate in Kent was 869.6 today that infection rate stands at just 31.6.
A closer look at the data shows that while the rolling rate has increased ever so slightly in 0-59’s it continues to fall in the over 60s.
The rolling infection rate in the over 60s is just 16.3 per 100,000 but in 0-59 is 39.7.
It’s worth pointing out that testing capabilities have increased significantly over the past few months.
So the data is good and the future is good too
The data is promising and luckily there are plenty of events in Kent to look forward to.
Over the next few months, England’s longest and fastest zip wire will open at Bluewater and a number of big musical stars are set to perform in the county.
From Michael Buble at Canterbury to Chase and Status at Dreamland there is plenty going on!
Find out all the things to look forward to in Kent this year by clicking here.