Covid spikes across Kent have seen cases rise by almost 80% in a week - but many feel it is time to "get on with life and stop living in fear".
The number of people to test positive with the virus in the county has reached its highest peak since early February, after a trend of falling infection rates rapidly reversed.
Shoppers giving their reactions to the rapid Covid rise in the county
Cases have increased countywide by 78% since last week, more than doubling in Swale and Ashford.
And just one area of Kent - Gravesham - has an infection rate below the national average.
It comes after infections in the county fell for four weeks in a row up to the end of February.
But on the streets of Canterbury yesterday afternoon, many shoppers said it is time we learn to live alongside Covid, and treat it similarly to flu.
Kent's Covid infection rate has risen sharply in the past week
One woman from Faversham, who would only give her name as Ann, said: "I feel we've got to carry on being sensible, but we have to live our lives as well.
"I know a lot of people have had a lot of tragedy, but (we've got to) carry on washing our hands and just being sensible."
On Facebook, Tony Frost said: "I’m careful about Covid in the same way I remain careful around influenza, colds, norovirus and all the other nasty illnesses we can get. I wear a mask through respect and good manners.
"Am I worried about it? No.
"It’s not going away - ever - so we can either be frightened and housebound for the rest of our lives, or go about carefully getting on with our lives."
Just one district in Kent has an infection rate lower than the national average
Andrew Richardson added: "We have to get on with life and stop living in fear."
Meanwhile, many vulnerable and at-risk people say they remain concerned about the surge in cases.
Chris Bradford, from Hersden, said he was "shocked" and concerned by the steep rise in Kent, and feels more people should be wearing masks when in public indoor spaces.
"My mum's 73 and I've got COPD so I'm pretty worried about it to be honest," he said.
Meanwhile, Teresa Robinson, from Canterbury, says she still feels "a little" worried about the virus.
"Half my friends have got it," she said.
"The numbers have definitely gone up.
"I think we're sort of in a false sense of security. I think it's sensible to be wary still.
"I know it isn't as bad as it was, but I'm of a certain age that (means) it could be bad.
"At the moment I think I feel safer wearing a mask than not."
Others have reported anecdotal rises in cases among friends and family members.
Commenting on Facebook yesterday, Paul Johnson said: "Just closed my charity office in city centre as we have Covid. My daughter also ill with it again."
Meanwhile, health secretary Savid Javid said on Monday that the current increase in cases was “to be expected” after restrictions were dropped, resulting in more social mixing.
At 10,278, weekly case numbers are still much lower than when the Omicron variant peaked in Kent in late December, when 18,330 infections were recorded.
It is not yet clear what impact the recent increase in cases is having on the number of people with the virus in the county’s hospitals.
In east Kent last Tuesday, 114 patients had Covid, down 10 on the previous week. Similarly, the Dartford and Gravesham Trust saw a fall from 39 to 36.
But at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust the figure shot up from 35 to 58, while in Medway it jumped from 20 to 32.
Hospital bosses say many of these patients are being admitted for conditions other than Covid.
Dr Neil Wigglesworth, executive director of infection, prevention and control for East Kent Hospitals, said: “We continue to see many patients testing positive on admission or early in their hospital stay.
“Many of these patients are asymptomatic, and are being admitted for reasons other than Covid.
“We are doing all we can to reduce the risk of further transmission in hospital, including continued use of face masks for visitors and patients as well as staff, and strict infection prevention and control procedures.”
“We continue to see many patients testing positive on admission or early in their hospital stay..."
According to the government-backed REACT-1 study, infections are at their second highest level since the start of the pandemic.