ONE YEAR: One year on from the first lockdown
A year ago, everything changed in a way none of us could have predicted.
Our lives as we knew them were turned upside down, as we spent almost every waking minute in our homes for months. When the prime minister announced the UK's first national lockdown a year ago, few could have predicted what the next 12 months would mean for them.
On 23rd March 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown. A week of announcements that shook the nation saw those with underlying health issues advised to shield, school closures and the NHS cancelling all non-emergency surgery appointments. The UK headed into unknown territory as a population of over 66 million people became isolated at home overnight.
More than 4,500 people died of Covid-19 over the first year of the pandemic in the Liverpool City Region.
Although the city region's weekly Covid death toll has now reached its lowest point since September, figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday showed a total of 4,506 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic.
Tuesday's figures are the first to cover a full year of the pandemic since the first deaths 12 months ago and show one in every five deaths over the past year has been caused by Covid-19.
The death toll amounts to one in every 350 people in the city region, while parts of Merseyside have seen a death toll closer to one in every 300 people.
While Liverpool itself has recorded the most deaths in total, Sefton is the borough with the highest Covid mortality rate with one death for every 313 people.
However, the figures also show a rapid decrease in the weekly death toll, with just 38 deaths recorded for the week up to March 12.
This was the sixth week in a row that the city region's weekly death toll declined, and half the number of deaths seen just two weeks earlier.
In addition to remembering those who've lost loved ones and thinking of those who's lives have been changed by the effects of long covid - there's no one who's life has not been touched by the effects of dealing with the worst pandemic in a century.
There's been twelve months of not being able to see our family and friends. Social distancing and wearing face coverings. Working from home or not being able to work. Home schooling. Impact on our mental health.
Coronavirus infection numbers continue to fall across the Liverpool City Region. At its worst, in January, the average infection rate across all six boroughs was more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 people. But after months of strict restrictions, the covid picture here is now a very different one. The average infection rate across the region has been brought down to around 45 cases per 100,000 people. This is the lowest it has been since September 4.
While we are seeing significant decreases across the region as a whole, a number of areas have almost no cases of coronavirus at all.
Liverpool has been at the forefront of the battle against covid throughout the pandemic. Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine played a key part in the Oxford vaccine trials. The city was chosen to pilot the smart testing programme in November with the setup of almost 50 symptom-free testing locations, actively testing over a third of our population in a month, helping us to become the only area of the country to exit the second lockdown in a lower tier than the one we had gone into lockdown in.
Next month the city leading the way once again by piloting some events which will help with research into enabling people to gather in close proximity in large numbers.
The next few months are uncertain as the roadmap of COVID recovery set out by the government starts to move to the next stage.
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