A medic in the frontline battle against Covid in Scotland.
By Professor Anthony Seaton in The Scottish Review
Anthony Seaton is Emeritus Professor of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at Aberdeen University and Senior Consultant to the Edinburgh Institute of Occupational Medicine. The views expressed are his own
The full article is available here: Scottish Review: Home page
Artwork by Gemma Woods Fraser
Here are some common sense guidelines for Christmas 2020, subject to any legal restrictions that may have been introduced by then:
• The only people who can mix without increasing risk indoors are those who have been isolated for two weeks or more, or those who have already been living together.
• The more people meeting indoors, the greater the risk. Face masks, properly worn, reduce this but do not eliminate it. Remember hand hygiene at all times.
• The longer you remain speaking to someone, the greater the risk if they are infected. Risks are higher in ventilated rooms.
• Older children are a particular risk to over 70s because they are likely to have been mixing with their friends.
• Singing increases risks, but suitably distanced outdoors should be safe if you avoid facing each other.
• The safest means of inter-generational meeting is by telephone or online.
• Good wishes are often best conveyed by an old-fashioned letter or card (and the elderly really like receiving these).
All risks are modified in relation to the overall risk of infection in your area. You will be able to find this on the Scottish Government website, expressed as cases per 100,000. For example, this week it is 83 in Edinburgh and 268 in Glasgow. Double it and you can get a rough idea of how many are likely to be carrying the virus.
You can get some guidance also on whether it is going up or down from the Public Health Scotland website and the R (reproduction) number that I explained in an earlier article in The Scottish Review (6 May). At present, this is hovering around one, which means it is neither going up nor down – or rather that it is going up in some places like Glasgow and down in others like Edinburgh, and this is why restrictions keep getting changed.