Autumn Coping With Covid-19 in Cornwall

For the previous episode in the ongoing saga of the Covid-19 pandemic here in Cornwall please see:

The Covid-19 Holiday Season in Cornwall

Schools have gone back and the clocks change in a couple of weeks, but Covid-19 is still with us. In actual fact it’s on the increase again. Both nationally:

and here in the Camelford MSOA, where we now find ourselves in the top DHSC category with a case rate of 889.8 per 100,000 people per week:

Just down the A39 “Atlantic Highway” in Wadebridge the rate is now over 1,000.

Further west the top spot goes to Camborne West, with a case rate of 946.4:

As you can see from the maps there are several other area across Cornwall in the 800+ category, whilst across Cornwall as a whole the average case rate is 539.5, an increase of 15.6% compared to a week ago:

The Covid-19 Holiday Season in Cornwall

The school summer holiday season is drawing to a close, and August Bank Holiday is almost upon us. Matt Hancock was one of many hundreds of thousands to travel down here from up country earlier this month:

The effect on Covid-19 cases here in North Cornwall is all too evident. The Camelford and Davidstow area is now in the top category for cases:

However we are still a long way behind Newquay East, which today broke the 2,000 cases per 100,000 people per week barrier:

Here once again is the “heat map” showing the age distribution of cases across Cornwall as a whole for the current wave of Covid-19:

The upper limit on the 7 day “rolling rate” legend really requires updating. In the 15-19 age group the rate has now reached 5,080.6. For 20-24 year olds it is 2,419.4.

The Post G7 Covid-19 Outbreak in Cornwall

We commented yesterday on the current outbreak of Covid-19 cases further west in Cornwall than Davidstow, and suggested that the cause may be the recent G7 Summit in St. Ives, which finished on Sunday.

Here is yesterday’s map:

Together with a “heatmap” showing the age distribution of cases across Cornwall as a whole:

The far right of the image suggests that during this so called “third wave” of Covid-19 cases, the 15 to 24 age range has been the hardest hit. Possibly that’s because this section of the population has yet to be vaccinated?

The official data for June 10th have also just been released, and this is how the latest map looks:

Truro, Redruth and Mevagissey are no longer pure white, as they were on June 9th. A total of 27 cases in St. Ives doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s an enormous percentage increase on the previous 7 days.

Watch this space!

Cornwall Council 2021 Elections

All the current Davidstow parish councillors have been re-elected without opposition, so we have had to look further afield for some election day excitement. On Thursday instead of our usual gentle stroll to the other side of Tremail we had to take a drive in Lisa, our trusty Nissan LEAF electric vehicle:


We spent yesterday “live Tweeting” the election results from across Cornwall as they arrived, including this “shock news” from our recently boundary changed local district:

As you may be able to surmise from the above, we weren’t too impressed with the ultimate conclusion across Cornwall as a whole:

With a 37% share of the “popular vote” the Conservative Party now has a 7 seat majority on the “redistricted” Cornwall Council. With a 9% share of the vote the Green Party has but a single seat. Personally I cannot comprehend what the farmers and fisherfolk of Kernow were thinking when they voted for someone sporting a true blue rosette.

Perhaps somebody can enlighten me?

Davidstow.info on BBC Radio Cornwall

I saw this “Tweet” from BBC Radio Cornwall’s Laurence Reed yesterday:

Since I’d already been writing to my MP about the probable problems of policing the new Covid-19 lockdown exercise guidance revealed by Boris Johnson over the weekend, the thought of asking Shaun Sawyer a question or two was irresistible! I duly dialled the listed number and was told to expect a call back once Shaun Sawyer was on air later in the afternoon.

Sure enough a couple of hours later I was listening to what Shaun had to say when my mobile phone rang. Now listening via my phone I heard Laurence frighten Shaun off by asking him about his worst ever date! Not long after that Laurence said my name. You can hear what happened after that by fast forwarding the following recording on BBC Sounds to 1:53:45

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08brmvq

The recording will be available for another 29 days, and during that time I’ll endeavour to post a more complete transcript below. For the moment here’s an extract to give you a flavour:

Jim – I was hoping to speak to our Chief Constable, but he’s gone… Can I make my point?

Laurence – Please do.

Jim – Lots of other people have made all sorts of other points that I was endeavouring to get across to our Chief Constable, but I’ll just quote one from Twitter, not written by me. He was “tweeting” to Shaun, saying “What do you make of the ill thought out, poor legislation made in haste by our Government?”. So my question would have been “Has the Government consulted either the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall or indeed the Chief Constable’s organisation before implementing these hasty, ill thought out measures that all of us in Devon and Cornwall are having to put up with?”

He’s gone, so I can’t ask him!

Here is the output of James Annan’s Covid-19 epidemic model, comparing what actually happened with what would have happened if the UK lockdown had been imposed one week earlier:

To summarise, that’s 11,000 simulated deaths if lockdown had taken place on March 16th, instead of around 43,000 actual deaths following lockdown on March 23rd.

Watch this space!

Covid-19 Lockdown “Lifted” in Cornwall

As the editor of Davidstow.info on Monday May 11th I wrote to Scott Mann, the Member of Parliament for North Cornwall, to express this view:

How on Earth does HM Government expect Devon and Cornwall Police to enforce the rules that from Wednesday “Driving from London to surf” in North Cornwall is OK but then “staying in a tent, B&B, hotel or second home” is punishable by an increased fine?

What if somebody drives down from up country in a traditional VW “surf bus” for example, and kips in the back for a few nights?

Scott Mann’s Parliamentary Assistant replied on his behalf as follows:

It would not be permissible for someone to travel down in a camper and stay the night.

In any case, the Government is largely relying on the public’s common sense – the regulations are there to provide some clarity. It is not, to my mind or yours I imagine, a good idea for people to travel across the UK and risk spreading this disease! Hopefully the public can deploy sufficient common sense for it not to be too great an issue.

The police are doing a brilliant job of enforcing these restrictions, and from following their social media I can see they have taken numerous actions to prevent people from breaking the regulations. Whilst they cannot stop everybody, they can certainly act as a disincentive.

I hope this helps.

Subsequently the Davidstow.info Twitter feed expressed this sentiment yesterday morning:

Yesterday we also reported the following:

Q.E.D. Scott and Selaine?

What’s up with Crowdy Reservoir water level?

On my habitual Covid-19 lockdown permitted cycle ride across Davidstow Moor earlier today I glanced in the direction of Roughtor and noticed something strange. I cycled across the moor, parked my bike by the fence, hopped over the stile and walked to the edge of Crowdy reservoir.

Here is what I discovered:

The part of Crowdy Marsh I crossed wasn’t marshy. What’s more the water level in the reservoir seemed very low for the time of year, particularly given the winter we’ve just experienced!

After I returned home the South West Lakes Trust web site seemed to confirm my suspicions:

What’s up with Crowdy Reservoir’s anomalously low water level?

Lisa the LEAF goes to the locked down doctors

A photo essay on my trip to locked down Camelford earlier today for essential medical purposes, courtesy of Twitter:

As is frequently the case, a trip to see the doctor is often swiftly followed by a trip to see the chemist. Boots in this case:

There was no queue outside when I arrived. I was allowed inside this building immediately! The counter staff were protected by perspex windows. Most wore masks as well.

In the early evening a cycle ride up to Davidstow Moor was the order of the day:

I did see a few masked up folk in the street today, but many more without. Several were evidently not conforming to the social distancing measures displayed in the gate to Enfield Park. Perhaps they hadn’t been to either the park or the doctors’ surgery recently?

What Constitutes a “Reasonable Excuse”?

This article is reproduced by kind permission of our sister website CoV-eHealth.org, for the benefit of surfers, coast path walkers and moor hikers resident in and around Camelford, North Cornwall. And elsewhere I suppose.

The United Kingdom’s National Police Chief’s Council has published new guidance on what constitutes a “reasonable excuse” to leave your residence during the current novel coronavirus lockdown. You can download a copy from:

https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/COVID-19/Documents/What-constitutes-a-reasonable-excuse.pdf

Of particular interest to me as a “silver surfer” is the part that states:

Exercise can come in many forms, including walks.

Exercise must involve some movement, but it is acceptable for a person to stop for a break in exercise.

It is lawful to drive for exercise.

Whilst surfing is not explicitly mentioned in the new document the current Police Commander for Cornwall has previously issued guidance on that form of exercise for the county:

According to “Cornwall’s top cop” before the new guidance was published:

Police BCU Commander for Cornwall, Temporary Chief Superintendant Ian Drummond-Smith said the recent guidance from the London-based National Police Chiefs Council was consistent with what his officers were doing on the ground but he reiterated that the public should not try and take advantage of the guidance.

He said: “Surfing has not been banned. It’s exercise and in Cornwall we know it’s a popular exercise. People can still surf. The question of driving a reasonable distance as per the NPCC guidelines, is ‘how far is reasonable’.

“The NPCC guidelines does not say whether you can or cannot drive to do your exercise. I am telling my officers people can surf and some may well drive to surf.”

Now all we denizens of the North Coast need to do is wait for the swell to be onshore and the wind to be offshore once again.

And to stay well over 2 meters away from anybody else with the same idea at the same time at the same beach!

Bodmin Moor Arson

This morning I read the following report on the Twitter feed of Mark Hewitt, Cornwall’s Chief Fire Officer:

Hence this afternoon Kasia and I decided to use our coronavirus constrained exercise period to investigate. Here’s our initial photo report:

 

 

 

On our way back to base we spotted these lambs in a field near the Moor. Please note that according to Julie Dowton of the Bodmin Moor Commoners this spring’s lambs haven’t been moved out onto the Moor just yet, and “no livestock were harmed” by the fire. However the High Moor is a site of special scientific interest, and all sorts of wildlife will undoubtedly have been terminally harmed.

Much more to come later, including a video we hope.

P.S. I just had a detailed description of the fire across 300 acres of Bodmin Moor from Rich Gibbons, Station Manager for the Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service. There are now lots more words to follow, but first some moving pictures from the middle of the Moor.

The only way to put the blaze out was to walk across the Moor to the fire front and use a traditional beater.

Something I hadn’t realised before is that soon after the fire on the Moor was ultimately extinguished another fire started in a building on Davidstow Airfield. Hence the confident use of the word “arson” in the title of this article. Here’s the site of the second attack:

Watch this space!