'Killer' virus can take 10 years off your life even if you survive - South Tyneside chief warns those who claim 'scaremongering'

Health leaders have been urged to drive home the message that Covid-19 is a “killer” – after concerns some members of the public are downplaying its impact.

By Chris Binding
Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 6:10 pm
South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm wants the Government to amend its 'lockdown-style' rule on childcare to help families who rely on help from friends and relatives.
South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm wants the Government to amend its 'lockdown-style' rule on childcare to help families who rely on help from friends and relatives.

This includes 332 deaths at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

Following a recent spike in cases across the North East, additional restrictions have been given to local authorities to fight the surge.

South Tyneside Council’s leader, Cllr Iain Malcolm, said more should be done regionally to convince the public of the dangers of coronavirus.

“How do we get information across to the public generally about how serious it is if you catch Covid,” he said.

“I’m getting letters and emails from people who think this is just a bad case of flu and that there’s a terrible overreaction by government, that there isn’t the need for all of these lockdown measures and it’s all scaremongering and so forth.

“I think we really do need to get it across to the public generally, that this is a killer and it can affect if you’re young and you’re healthy and are able to fight the virus off.

“It still can affect your lungs and take 10 years off your life, I just don’t see a lot of that type of messaging.

“What I see is wash your hands, cover your face and keep apart which are important messages, but I think we need to get across to people that this isn’t being done because the Government are trying to deflect attention from Brexit.

“It’s being done because there is a serious pandemic here which is a killer.”

Cllr Malcolm was speaking during a meeting of the borough’s Health and Wellbeing Board, which he also chairs.

He added: “I’m slightly concerned with some of the emails and letters that I’m getting from people who basically just don’t believe it’s as bad as the Government and the national health officials are explaining that this is.

“Could the regional directors of public health just give some thought as to how we can get this message across that this isn’t a severe case of flu.”

South Tyneside’s director of public health, Tom Hall, said he would take the comments on board.

“We’re obviously looking at, and we have been doing, collaborative communications particularly since last Friday and the additional North East measures coming into play,” he said.

“I will certainly take that away and feed that into the work that we’re doing as a collective around communications.”

South Tyneside is now among the 10 areas in England with the highest rates of coronavirus per head of population.

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