Number of people in Norfolk 'pinged' by NHS app continues to fall
- Credit: PA
The number of people in Norfolk getting 'pinged' by the NHS Covid-19 app continues to fall, just weeks after record high numbers of people were told to self-isolate.
As the number of people getting 'pinged' declines, from 9,958 in the week of July 21 to 4,378 in the week of August 11, so too does the level of recorded check-ins at venues - which have fallen to their lowest levels since mid-April.
Since August 16, those who have been double vaccinated no longer have to self isolate and are instead encouraged to get a PCR test to ensure they do not have the virus.
While the latest figures predate the change in rules by a few days the trends suggest fewer people are using the app.
Professor Paul Hunter, from the UEA's medical school, said the drop in the number of people getting pinged was in part due to a fall in case numbers.
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He said the change in rules would also impact people's behaviour and how they used the app.
"I'm double vaccinated so even if I was in contact with somebody I wouldn't need to change my behaviour, so the usefulness of the app in that context is minimal now with the current rules.
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"I don't know if the app is useful, it does other stuff which is quite important but in terms of contact tracing, if you're double vaccinated it doesn't really have much relevance anymore," he said.
Prof Hunter said the virus was moving from an epidemic to an endemic phase and society would need to learn to live with it.
"The virus is going to be here forever, our grandchildren's grandchildren will be getting infected with this virus. The uncertainty is more whether we will survive that long with climate change.
"The virus will behave like any other of the similar coronavirus variants, it will be present and infect us repeatedly throughout our lives, but it won't constantly feel like that," he added.
But Dr Lousie Smith, director of public health in Norfolk, said the NHS app continued to be a "vital tool in understanding and reducing the spread of coronavirus".
She said: "If you are identified as a contact of a case and contacted by Test and Trace you need to self-isolate unless you have been double vaccinated or are under-18. You will also be asked to have a Covid PCR test.
"While those who are double vaccinated will receive some level of protection from the virus, it is still possible to be infected and to pass the virus on so it is still vital to do all that you can to protect those that are clinically vulnerable or unvaccinated.”