Last week Health Secretary Matt Hancock issued a stark warning to the people of Kent.
He said there was a "very serious problem" in Kent and that every person there should "act with responsibility" and approach each situation as if they have a virus.
According to the Office of National Statistics the average age of people who have died from Coronavirus in Britain is above 80, with more than 9 in 10 deaths among the over 65s. In addition, the statistics also show that there are more deaths among boys, young men, middle aged and old men than girls, young women, middle aged women and old women, up to the age of 84.
Against this background, analysis has shown that a new strain of the Coronavirus has appeared in Kent and the South East of England, including London, which could increase the reproductive rate by 0.4 or more and that it may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant. Although these areas are now under the Government's most restrictive measures, with Family reunions at Christmas banned, it is expected that this dangerous variant will spread to all areas of Britain. However, at this point in time it is the old men of Kent who are in the firing line.
Not unsurprisingly, the number of Coronavirus cases have increased dramatically in Kent in the last week and latest figures show that almost one in 100 people living in the Medway Towns in North Kent could have the disease.
Old men will make up the majority of the 1050 cases recorded in these Towns today and will have made up the lion's share of the 13,000 total number of cases. By way of comparison, the old men in the cathedral city of Canterbury, in the heart of Kent, are marginally better off with their total of 186 daily cases being added to their 4,897 overall total.
Most old men in the Medway Towns are blithely unaware of the danger they are in of contracting this new variant, with its all-too-often, tragic conclusion. They continue to do their Christmas shopping in their local supermarket, completely ignorant of the fact that their chances of picking up the virus from an infected shopper are now almost twice as great as they were a week or so ago and there's a good chance that there is at least one infected shopper present. In most cases they take their elderly partners along on their shopping trips. It's even possible that they may have read the Sun's headline a week of so ago and ignored its implications :
Sadly, for too many, this will be their last Christmas, spent in the I.C.U. in Medway's Maritime Hospital.