Recent news has reported that over 100,000 people in the UK have now died in the UK because of the government’s mishandling of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Wembley stadium accommodates 90,000 people at full capacity. To put this into context, if the stadium was full there are thousands more to add to this death toll; this is how many of our nearest and dearest have died due to the sheer incompetence and misinformation from the Tory government. We did not go into our first lockdown until the 23rd of March 2020, despite warnings from ‘WHO’ in January to warn us that this was a national pandemic earlier and not just an epidemic affecting those in South-East Asia.
When the lockdown was relaxed in Summer of 2020, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak failed us again by encouraging people to utilize the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, simply as if the virus had disappeared. Schools reopened in September with tape and stuck-on disks on the floors to remind teachers and pupils of the 2M distance. The virus was in the classrooms and 30 pupils in a classroom could in no possible way be sat more than 2 metres away from another pupil. Instead they were sat next to each other and told just to look straight ahead. These children and staff then took the virus back home to their families and often vulnerable and elderly family members. More and more staff started testing positive for Covid. Surely this was a warning sign, which again the government ignored, and schools remained open until the Christmas holidays.
Despite the number of positive cases rising and warnings from other countries around the World such as New Zealand and even China to take stricter measures to control the virus, stringent measures were NOT taken to follow the success of other countries. Instead we find ourselves in a second wave, where hospital staff are having to decide who to save first in an A&E ward and thousands more are dying each day. Ironically, we are still reminded to wash our hands and give each other space to save the NHS. This government has failed the public and the NHS, who have in turn often made erratic and irreversible errors due to working under pressure, through exhaustion and simply by having to deal with the sheer numbers of patients coming through their doors.
These valued members of society and important people within our families have just become a number at the end of a daily news report. A statistic with more and more people becoming desensitised that there was a valued and treasured life, a real person, a loved significant family member, sometimes without whom it may prove difficult to function without. Describing lives in numbers without the above context does not give these lives any validity or meaning. They are just statistics. Data which is collated and displayed to us daily, along with charts, graphs and ‘r’ numbers to suggest ‘so-called’ scientific evidence and close monitoring of this pandemic, when in fact quite the opposite is true. The pandemic has clearly been out of control since the beginning by the government, whose reactions have often been too little and too late.
My father, Mohammed Khan was just one of these people who fell victim to Covid and sadly passed away after gradual deterioration at St Thomas’s hospital in London. He accounts for one of the 100,000 who died in this pandemic. We spent our first Christmas and New Year’s without him, not even at the other end of a phone or video call. Instead we were reminded by the tragic and solemn good-bye as we held his dying and frail hands through PPE masks and gloved hands of our own. Kisses given on his dying, yet warm forehead through masked mouths. As the clock struck midnight and the fireworks were screened across the London sky, we were reminded instead of our Father struggling to take his last breaths with immense difficulty, as day slowly turned to night and the moon shimmered over the River Thames. This is what the swallow firework represented for me as my father’s soul was slowly leaving his body. That day will remain with me for the rest of my life…
Mr Khan was a loving, caring and family orientated man. He was father to six children, and nine grand-children. Pre-Covid, we shared many fond and wonderful memories, full of laughter, fun and always birthday cake or a shared meal. Covid made it very difficult for him to get out of the house as he had to shield, like many other vulnerable and elderly people. It certainly affected his mental and physical health. He was not given the support of social care at home on a regular basis and neither was he given proper care or treatment on his 3 visits to hospital during this time. Instead he was given an overdose of insulin at one hospital and left bedridden at the same hospital leaving him immobile and unable to walk. He was discharged after 8 days with no action and then sadly returned home only to be hospitalised again a few days later after a fall from his hospital bed on the night of the 13th of November. Our father spent 3 weeks and 3 days at St Thomas’s hospital, neither he nor any of us thought that he would never return home. His shirt still hangs on his bedroom wardrobe door, his chair still remains empty with his ‘Grandad takes pride of place’ cushion’. The grandchildren now ask, ‘where is Baba?’ and we hope he gets better soon or ‘I hope God and the angels can fix him’.
Their minds are too young and innocent to understand the complexities of how this virus has often torn away their beloved family member(s) and the truth often misconstrued with lies from the government and individuals working under the multicoloured rainbow of the NHS that we all so proudly put up during the first lockdown. We will never have our full answers or know the truth of what exactly happened. These victims of Covid were just taken away from us with hospitals although understandably overwhelmed, having the upper hand to control as and when we could communicate with them in their dying hours. So, we leave it with God and the angels in charge to take care of our loved ones and ‘fix them’.
It begs to question why only now are they considering closing the UK borders, why wasn’t travellers forced to quarantine from all over the world in airport hotels before they were allowed to leave and mingle with the public only enhancing the virus’ potency, why did the government start an ‘eat out scheme’ when hundreds of restaurants were crowded with people and no social distancing adhered to, why do we rarely see police on the roads or patrolling streets fining people for flouting the lockdown rules, why were the schools allowed to stay open when it was scientific fact that the children are usually the carriers of the virus but asymptomatic and then passing it on their parents/grandparents, why were travel corridors opened but no PCR tests requested upon arrival back to the UK, why are hospital physicians not aware of compassionate use or treating the patients with the treatments offered on the NHS Recovery Trial and waiting until they are near death to start any of the available drugs, the list of questions goes on and this government is entirely responsible for the tragedy and should be held accountable for it.
Across the UK, not just my family but thousands of others who have lost their loved ones in this cruel way, some of whom weren’t even fortunate enough to say their final goodbye. As a country, we need to remember them and bring this national tragedy to justice. Our situation will be echoed by many others and we are not initiating an unjust war but a rightful paradigm for the beloved people we have lost from our lives.
For my family and everyone who knew my father, he is not just a statistic. He was father, a grandfather, a role model, a civil servant, a family man who kept everyone grounded and together with his words of wisdom, his knowledge from having been so well travelled and his life experience. He has left a void that could never be replaced and we still question, could he have still been with us today, had it not been for the mismanagement of the government and the neglect which he and many others like him faced in hospital due to being overwhelmed and simply ‘survival of the fittest’ in terms of who to save and whose life seemed of more value. 2 months on and we still miss him incredibly. Our only solace is having experienced the death of such a significant member of our family, we can share and comfort those who have experienced this nature of grief also since the passing of our own father.
Please help me to remember what he represented and like the 100,000 others who died, bring this to light to the media outlets, parliament and national TV so justice can be served. Please, I appeal you to sign this petition for my late father and for everyone else who has lost their loved ones to Covid-19.