NO-ONE reading this article today can fail to be aware of the seriousness of the government’s advice to minimise all unnecessary social contact and to comply with social distancing guidance when you do go out. Minimising avoidable deaths from COVID-19 is now down to each and every one of us. To do this we need to slow down the rate at which the virus is spreading.

Every single unnecessary social contact we make carries an unknown risk. It could cost you your life or the life of a loved one. It could even cost the life of someone you don’t know because they needed critical care from the NHS but you were getting it at the peak of the epidemic when there will be most pressure on NHS services.

Every single unnecessary social contact is not just a decision you are making about your life - a risk you are willing to take – but could be a choice by you that risks the lives of others.

We simply cannot know at this time in Lancashire how many people are infected with the virus.

40 per cent at least of those infected may show no symptoms but may be infectious

The average time from exposure to symptoms is 5.5 days but 95 per cent of those showing symptoms from the first point of infection can get them between two and 12 days

If you get symptoms and go through 111 you will self-isolate for a further seven days.

If your symptoms are worsening after that time you will go online on 111 and go through the questions and be referred to medical care if required.

So in terms of how risky social contact is for getting infected please remember: the current cases and death data is telling us a story between two to three weeks out of date in relation to your risks today.

For those who may die from this virus in Lancashire around the April 16 the chances are they will most likely have been infected unknowingly today. I realise that is frightening for but please remember: 99 per cent of us who get this virus will live to tell the tale.