OPINION

Covid isn’t over – please think of the whole community

Posted On 14 Nov 2021 at 5:06 pm

As a mental health nurse and a local councillor, I’m probably more able than most to have a good overall view of how covid and lockdowns have affected us over the last 20 months or so.

The obvious one is not having been able to see family and friends for so long. This inevitably led to a lot of isolation and an increase in depression right across the age spectrum.

The pandemic also led a surge in anxiety-related disorders, again right across the age spectrum, with children affected as their school lives and friendships became inaccessible.

Less obvious, however, was the challenge that covid and keeping people safe from the virus posed for my nursing, and other, colleagues in mental health services.

In terms of in-patient work, staff have had to wear scrubs and face masks. So, imagine working on a ward where someone might be admitted in acute psychosis and the skill and challenge involved in keeping the person calm and safe when they are faced by nursing staff wearing masks.

Even more difficult, think of my own field of work, dementia services, and how difficult it is for nursing staff to look after someone who might be extremely confused and frightened while wearing a mask which makes verbal communication almost impossible at times.

I pay tribute to all my colleagues who work on in-patient wards for the manner in which they carried themselves and the dedication and commitment they showed in keeping services going.

What really worries me now, however, is that people think that covid is over and we can carry on our lives as normal.

This is understandable, given what we’ve been through, but in my view is extremely premature.

People are still catching covid, even those who have been double jabbed. I count myself in this group.

And I was contacted by a resident recently who had been hospitalised with covid and he was treble jabbed.

So, we may well unknowingly slip into a situation where there is still a steady admission of people into hospital suffering from covid.

Indeed, this is happening currently and is placing an extra demand on the NHS at a time when, due to the onset of a potentially tricky and testing winter, it can least cope with it.

The knock-on effect of this may be even more cancellations of vital surgery for cancer patients and people needing heart surgery in terms of access to intensive care beds.

Councillor Peter Atkinson

We saw this earlier in the year and last year and I was personally involved, as a councillor, with residents who needed urgent operations which kept getting postponed.

All this is happening against an international backdrop of other European countries seeing a rise in covid cases and other countries outside Europe, ie, Russia, seeing catastrophic numbers of covid cases and covid-related deaths.

In this country it’s difficult to predict how things will develop but there seems a hidden agenda on the part of the government to let so-called “herd immunity” develop.

This is extremely reckless. Susan Michie, a professor of health psychology at University College London and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), put it really succinctly recently when talking about the herd immunity approach.

Susan Michie

She said: “Allowing covid transmissions to continue at a high level risks more unnecessary deaths, hospitalisations and cases of long covid.

“It also increases the risk of our vaccination programme being dangerously undermined by increasing the risk of variants emerging.”

She also spoke of the things that we can do to limit the risk to others and the possible damage to ourselves.

The simple measures she outlined to decrease and minimise danger were

  • Wear masks in indoor public spaces
  • Introduce, improve and enhance ventilation or air-filtration
  • Step up the booster programme and vaccination for children
  • Allowing working from home or a “hybrid” model of home and workplace

These are, of course, the elements of the “Plan B” that Boris Johnson’s government refuse to introduce.

This is foolish in the extreme and reminds me of early last year where we were still allowing flights into the country from all over the world, even from countries where covid had already taken a firm hold.

What is also worrying me at the moment are the small groups of anti-vaxxers who feel that it’s ok to demonstrate outside schools, shouting at school children, some very young, and threaten head teachers with serious legal action.

The last point is a nonsense, of course, but I saw one instance where an anti-vaxxer gained entry to a school and directly confronted the head teacher who was clearly shaken at such a brazen and aggressive intrusion into the school.

Their actions also raise safeguarding issues as some of these school children will be vulnerable and have mental health problems which will only be exacerbated by idiots shouting at them.

I thought that Hove MP Peter Kyle’s idea of exclusion zones was a good one and this should be implemented if legally possible.

Finally, I would like to honour the “hidden” heroes of the pandemic – the shop workers (in my own local Co-op, they’re fantastic), the council staff such as refuse collectors and traffic wardens, bus drivers and all other public-facing workers who carried on regardless and sometimes paid the ultimate price.

Councillor Peter Atkinson is a nurse and an independent councillor on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Akkin Goldberg Reply

    COVID is a superstition NOT an infectious disease.
    By outsourcing your brain to lying cluster-b afflicted criminals masquerading as “health experts” you have brought all this misery and suffering on yourselves.
    Immediately smash up your television and smart phone, stop wearing do-fuck-all masks, stop getting tested and stop accepting pointless toxic injections.
    Failure to comply with these simple steps will lead to a one-world police state, Neo-feudalism, permanent slavery and death for you and your loved ones by 2030 or before.
    You have been warned x

    • Peter Challis Reply

      I guess we has to expect to see a criminally dangerous anti-vaccination conspiracy theorising moron posting here.

      Please keep your idiotic thoughts to your like-minded friends who follow the teachings of the turquoise tracksuit wearing fool.

      • fed-up with brighton politics Reply

        Absolutely, Peter. This person doesn’t even show up on a google search of local nutters, which he/she usually would do. Maybe the name is an anagram. I did think initially that this was more like an Argus post which should be reported/deleted (although there is no such button on this forum), but, on second thoughts, it is so demented and ridiculous that I think the vast majority of B&H News readers will recognise it for the demented rubbish it is.

  2. Idgie Reply

    It’s a shame that as a mental health nurse Peter Atkinson has done perhaps more than any other councillor to destroy COVID-safe active travel infrastructure in Hove that once helped many of us get around more safely and maintain our mental and physical health.

    I’m someone who can’t drive due to health reasons, and mostly gets around by bicycle. Peter’s made it pretty clear that he thinks this means I deserve to be run over.

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Nice try, but any bus passengers switching to cycling didn’t use the OSR cycle lanes and the safest form of transport is private transport for avoiding contact with infected individuals.

      If you can’t drive due to health issues such as poor eyesight or epilepsy, perhaps you shouldn’t be cycling either?

      Suggest you stick to buses, wear a mask, and regularly use gel.

      • Idgie Reply

        I know you’re quite imagination deficient Peter, but please do try to strain those two brain cells to think of just a few of the many other health conditions which might make it difficult or impossible for someone to drive.

        Also COVID is an airborne virus. ‘Gel’ is hygiene theatre.

        • Peter Challis Reply

          I think we can all see who the ignorant one is. Buses are now safe again, cycling and motorists have returned to pre-pandemic levels, and with the cold, wet, dark winter days all the MAMILs will leave their bikes at home.

          So what actually is the medical condition that stops you from driving but you can still cycle?

          But good to see you are also such an expert in virology.

    • Bel Reply

      It’s a shame your recall and your capacity to reason are deficient. That’s pretty clear.
      The Old Shoreham Road cycle lane was put in by Peter Atkinson’s party, without notice and without consultation. They then voted with the Greens to prolong the mess they’d created.
      You obviously have little idea of the scale of the backlash by those most affected by such a ridiculous measure, but thank goodness the Councillor and enough of his colleagues realised what a mess they’d made.
      Even those of us who live next to or near the road, and like cycling, didn’t use the cycle lane. We head south to where the east/west routes are flat.
      On this website and elsewhere, I’ve seen constructive alternatives suggested. If the council and Greens were genuinely keen on active travel and getting the buy-in for it, they would’ve started a genuine consultation already.
      The reality is it’s a whole load of empty-gesture, virtue-signalling green-washing by Air Miles Mac Cafferty and his hypocritical colleagues.
      Even the second seafront cycle lane is little used because cyclists choose to use the original one on the pavement, and should be able to ride along the prom as a shared space, as in other more civilised (and greener) European and North American cities.

      • Idgie Reply

        1) It was put in ‘with no consultation’ at the behest of central government. The route has also been part of the LCWIP for years. Atkinson, however, immediately started trashing it in the local press and trying to drum up hatred and violent behaviour towards people using it, as soon as his party racism’d themselves out of power.

        2) As someone who relies on a bicycle to get around and would like to continue being alive I am a lot more affected by decisions to put my life at risk than people who are still hoping their car might one day ask them to prom, and feel put out by occasionally having to wait in queues full of dozens of other single-occupancy cars.

        3) The route saw a massive increase in cycling including many nearby residents, whose deputations to the transport committee begging for their lives are on the public record. It is also the only link to a lot of critical local facilities such as multiple schools, Hove Cemetary, and the tip, which everyone deserves to be able to access safely. Just because you live near a road doesn’t give you the right to dictate its role in the local network.

        4) A very detailed further consultation relating to the LCWIP has just closed; I’m very glad to hear you didn’t respond to it.

        5) Unless those ‘alternatives’ involve relocating multiple schools, the cemetary and the tip, they aren’t alternatives. You can’t just declare swathes of the city and important local services no-go areas for people based on the form of transport they use.

        • Verity Reply

          One of the offensive Argus commenters seems to have infected this site with wild accusations against one of the most reasonable Councillors on the entire Council. It’s a serious and somewhat inaccurate claim to say he drummed up hatred and violent behaviour.
          As for the massive increase in cycling, it wasn’t along the Old Shoreham Road for sure. As soon as the lockdown was lifted and people started driving to work again, the pollution for those who live here got noticeably worse. And since the cycle lane was removed, it’s been much better. It’s an inconvenient truth, but those are the plain and simple facts of the matter.
          And as for the cemetery, I’ve yet to see a cycle hearse and cortege. Idgie the Ignorant gets full marks for comedy value!

          • Idgie

            I wasn’t aware there were people who never visit cemetaries outside of funerals. Do you have no desire to ever pay your respects to lost loved ones once they’re in the ground? That’s quite disturbing to me.

        • Hove Guy Reply

          How do you manage to get to, and make use of, the tip, when you are on a bicycle?

          • Idgie

            This may astound you but you can, in fact, carry a heck of a lot of stuff in bike panniers, and even more still with a trailer, or a specialised cargo bike.

        • Peter Challis Reply

          I do love all the misinformation and claims of “massive increases” in the number of cyclists, without any data to support this, that we see from Chris Williams and Bricycles as they desperately try to get the removal of the OSR cycle lane reversed.

          And this article was about Covid, but they obviously are so obsessed with cycling that they just have to raise the subject wherever they can.

          Just to remind them, firstly, it was removed as a result of a democratic decision, and secondly, it was removed as a result of a democratic decision. This was such an important point so I thought I’d say it twice.

      • Peter Challis Reply

        Just for clarification, Labour and Greens had formed a secret coalition before this that meant Greens controlled environmental policy, whilst Labour “officially” led the ETS Committee. As a result both the temporary cycle lanes, and the weedkiller ban were pushed through by Anne Pissaridou without necessary planning, consultation, and notification for affected groups.

        Peter Atkinson was always against the OSR cycle lane extension and fully supported by ePetition for its removal and is now free to express his own views rather than being constrained by party grandees.

        That coalition is now, I believe, ended, as Greens now try to blame Labour for these ill though out and badly implement schemes that were all started by Greens initially.

  3. Heather Reply

    Covid no worse than flu. Fact

    Is made up to keep us in and reset economy

    If you feel ill get gong therapy or swim in the lovely sea

    Made up virus will go away

    Government are tricking us

    • Idgie Reply

      If it’s no worse than flu I’m sure you wouldn’t mind doing some shifts as a porter in local ICU wards, Heather. It’d at least be a better use of your time.

  4. Len Reply

    Flu can also kill you, Heather. While for many of us, flu and the coronavirus are relatively brief infections, with few if any lasting consequences, for many others they’re life-threatening or even deadly conditions. Some of the official response may have been over the top and based on bad science and group-think, but don’t forget this really was a novel virus with a disconcertingly fast and extensive spread. And the rapid development and deployment of vaccines here and elsewhere has been not far short of miraculous. I suspect Heather is a provocateur, a troll or deluded, but her points should be addressed.

    • Some Guy Reply

      I respectfully disagree: her points should not be addressed. People like her are desperate for attention and the illusion of control. They will continue to act out as long as those things are on offer. We should be doing exactly what one does with misbehaving children: give them the “adults are talking” look, ignore their griping, and act swiftly only when there is danger in ignoring them further (i.e. jailing them for disrupting vaccination centres).
      Without replies, they’ll slowly realize they’ve slipped out of the realm of sensible behaviour and moderate themselves.

  5. Hove Guy Reply

    Maybe those idiots who refuse to have the jab, and are making these ridiculous protests about it, will themselves find they have caught Covid. Will they then refuse to have treatment for it? And will they be happilly passing on the virus to others when that happens?
    NHS staff should remember that cazy woman shrieking in public, who compared them to Nazis, with their human experiments, if ever she should appear in a hospital. They may not be too keen on helping her then.

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