Covid likely to become a ‘predominantly winter seasonal illness’ in the future warn Nottinghamshire health chiefs

Covid-19 is likely to become a ‘predominantly winter seasonal illness’ in the future – but there is still uncertainty about the path the pandemic will take in Nottinghamshire.

By Matt Jarram
Sunday, 24th April 2022, 8:59 am
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 12:43 pm

Jonathan Gribbin, Nottinghamshire public health director, has prepared a report for Nottinghamshire Council.

His report, Living Safely with Covid in Nottinghamshire, is set to be discussed by councillors this week.

He has outlined what measures will be taken in the future to manage local outbreaks and how money will be spent to target areas with low vaccination uptake.

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Coronavirus is set to become a seasonal infection.

Mr Gribbin said the effectiveness of the vaccine against severe illness associated with Covid has resulted in a reduction in hospitalisations and deaths in Nottinghamshire.

He also discusses a government report, Living with Covid, released in February which states the global pandemic is not over and there is ‘considerable uncertainty about the path the pandemic will now take in the UK’.

Mr Gribbin’s report states: “It is likely we will see further waves of transmission due to changes in immunity and/or the emergence of new variants, but the scale, timing and severity of any further waves is uncertain.

“Over time, it is likely Covid-19 will become a predominantly winter seasonal illness, with some years seeing larger levels of infection than others.

Jonathan Gribbin, director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire

“However, this may take several years to occur and for the present time, there continues to be significant numbers of cases and fluctuating levels of people hospitalised.”

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Funding

Mr Gribbin said the Contain Outbreak Management Fund – funding provided to local authorities by the government to help reduce the spread of coronavirus – will be carried forward into 2022/23.

This fund, of which £9.3 million is currently committed to this financial year, will continue to be used to support ongoing and new projects to the end of March 2023.

Proposals include funding three community health champion co-ordinators to develop a network of volunteers who will be promoting the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

There is also funding for small community projects to enhance the uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Bids have been received from local businesses and the community and voluntary sector to support vaccination for “underserved, vulnerable and deprived communities with low vaccine uptake”.

Examples include online resources in specific languages, support with transport and dedicated one-to-one assistance for people with severe mental illness and learning difficulties.