Nine lessons learned as Liverpool battles coronavirus second wave

A newly released report has made a series of recommendations for Liverpool's fight against coronavirus as the city battles a surge in infections.

Positive cases in the city have rocketed in recent weeks, with more restrictions now in place across Merseyside.

Residents can't meet people from other households and restaurants bars have to shut early in addition to series of new national restrictions announced last week by Boris Johnson.

A report to the city's Health and Wellbeing Board has now assessed Liverpool's response to the pandemic so far, assessing how the council and the NHS have controlled outbreaks so far.

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Aspects of the city's response, such as its containment of a spike in Princes Park ward, are praised in the report – however it warns that a second spike has the potential to cause devastation to the city, with most vulnerable likely to be hit hardest.

The report says: "If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it is that populations die from public health threats. If intensive care units, hospitals and clinics are full, it is because public health measures have failed.

"After many years of disinvestment in the local public health team, the local public health response during the first wave of the pandemic in Liverpool, while widely praised, was based on the dedication and incredible hard work of people inside and outside public health, with very little additional funding to support the extraordinary need for a public health response."

Despite the success of some of Liverpool's measures to tackle coronavirus outbreaks, the city still has one of the worst death rates for the disease among the UK's largest cities.

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Deprivation, poor health and other systemic factors are all believed to play a role in making some in the city more vulnerable to the disease.

The report has made a series of recommendations for the council and NHS to tackle the second wave of the virus, warning that rapid response, community engagement and transparency with the public will be vital in curbing the virus.

Here are the recommended action points from the plan

  • Quicker working with Public Health England and the NHS to ensure the maintenance of daily rapid access to testing data at a postcode level
  • Developing surveillance and early warning indicators, as well as local modelling to spot early patterns of disease transmission
  • Developing a longer term strategy to protect the entire population rather than just the NHS, with particular focus on vulnerable groups such as care homes or shielders
  • Developing a simple communication strategy to keep people safe, protect the vulnerable and reopen the city
  • Ensuring proper investment into the local public health infrastructure
  • Increasing the capacity for a day to day public response from the local PH team, using classic public health methods – surveillance, responding to clusters, contact tracing. Supplement that with an “extended public health” team in LCC that can be deployed quickly
  • Implementing a fully functioning “find, test, trace, isolate, and support” system
  • Find new determination to reduce levels of circulating virus in Liverpool, at all levels, through the effort of the entire city, if we are to avoid the next wave and more harms from future lockdowns
  • Using an approach to “build back better” to a fairer, more inclusive society that maximises the health and wellbeing of all our communities

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