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Mask on or off? Should you still social distance or not bother anymore?
Liverpool GP Dr David Lewis says it’s all about using some common sense and basically sticking to what we’ve been doing for the past 16 months.
“Just because it’s July 19 doesn’t mean the virus has changed in any way,” says Dr Lewis, who is a partner at Vauxhall Health Centre and joint clinic director of central Liverpool Primary Care Network.
“It’s come down a tiny bit in Liverpool but we’ve still got rates that are as high as in the peak in Jan/Feb, it’s just that it’s in younger people now.
“So we should really be behaving pretty much the same as we have been. The rules aren’t legal anymore, just sensible.”
With restrictions now legally lifted, and it all coming down to personal decisions and the choice of businesses what to keep, what are the recommended guidelines?
Here are Dr Lewis’s tips for staying safe and helping everyone else to stay safe too …
“Even if you’re young and healthy and think you probably wouldn’t get that sick from Covid, you should still get double vaccinated because it’s a moral duty to yourself and to everybody else.
“If you do get the virus, you could still get long Covid symptoms and the vaccine reduces the chance that you’ll pass it on to someone else who will get really sick or could die from it.
“Also if you’re thinking about travel you’ll need two vaccinations so there are lots of reasons to get them.
“Once people have had the first jab they must get the second, because one doesn’t give as much protection against the Delta variant as you might hope. It’s only about 50% whereas if you get two it goes closer towards 90%, so definitely make sure you follow up with the second after eight weeks.
“Don’t wait to be told you’re eligible – you can book online and there are loads of drop-in clinics in Liverpool so if you want to find out where they are in the next week or so, go onto the CCT website which is www.liverpoolccg.nhs.uk, there’s a page which tells you were they are and you can just turn up.”
“Most people don’t like wearing them and don’t find them comfortable but they know that they’re effective. They’re definitely effective in protecting other people from getting it if you’ve got it and actually there’s some evidence now that they might protect you as well, especially from the Delta variant.
“The more confined and the more crowded somewhere is, the more likely you are to get droplet spread, so on a bus or a train, if it’s full, that’s a lot of people sharing air. A shop isn’t likely to be as crowded but it just depends how large it is and how many windows there are open.
“To simplify it, if you’re inside and there’s other people, wear a mask – if you’re on a train and in an empty carriage, then maybe there’s not such a need to.
“Of course, if you’re inside then you’re on somebody else’s property, they may have their own view on mask wearing and they’re entitled to make those rules.”
Hand sanitiser is still out in most shops and if you don’t like sanitiser just keep washing your hands regularly with soap and water.
“If, for instance, you’re in a pub and queuing at the bar now it’s no longer table service only then try to give the people around you some space because social distancing will remain effective. If a place is going to be so crowded that you can’t avoid being rammed up against other people, maybe think about how much you really want to be in there.”
“You’ll be a lot more protected outdoors than indoors because there’s much higher transmission inside through the droplets in the air. I wouldn’t encourage hugging strangers if you’re out watching sport but it’s low risk compared with sitting indoors next to someone and talking directly to them in a crowded place.”
“By protecting other people we reduce the chance of another lockdown, we keep things open, we keep kids going to school and we reduce the chance that the NHS will crumble which is in everybody’s interest. So even if you’re looking at it from a completely selfish point of view, it’s still in your interest to get vaccinated and wear a mask, because otherwise rising rates could come back to bite everyone.”
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