Norfolk doctor warns: You’re risking second coronavirus peak
PUBLISHED: 15:07 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 07:37 23 May 2020
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009
As a doctor working the front line in a Norfolk hospital I am becoming increasingly saddened by the social attitudes and behaviours of the community in which I live.
Before lockdown was officially lifted people had already taken it upon themselves to act as they pleased without full understanding of the consequences and risk to life.
This week has seen a premature summer pulling everyone to the coast. After weeks in lockdown people have cabin fever, feel stir crazy and are itching to taste the salty sea air.
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Yet before the government had even given the green light, people had begun breaching social distancing rules. It appears that people didn’t fully listen to the change in policy and took any lift in measures as a sign that all is well, and if they are meeting people outside then it doesn’t really count.
The guidance clearly states that holiday homes, hotels, B&Bs and even second homes are still a no-go. But drive along the North Norfolk Coast and not only is there zero implementation of this policy, there is zero respect for it.
The majority of health care staff right now did not want to see lock down lifted. It was premature, and with many things prematurity carries consequences and risk.
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I have heard people speculate this is a flu-like virus and just a bad cold or that it only affects the elderly. I even heard a shop worker being told that the person didn’t care if they caught it.
The truth is it is not like any disease process we have ever seen before. There is no cure.
We are seeing blood markers behaving in ways never seen before. Markers usually seen raised in cancer or blood clots, suddenly higher than I’ve ever seen. It affects every system in the body in an unpredictable fashion.
I have seen young and fail to recover. I have seen people who are normally fit and well fail to recover.
I have seen people who claim to be shielding still manage to catch it from their once a week trip to the supermarket.
I have had to phone relatives to break the news their loved one has died and they weren’t allowed to be with them. No one wants to be the person on either end of that phone call.
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Not only is no one exempt, but the rate of infection is such that with normal social behaviour, one person has the potential to infect over 400 people, potentially killing 4. One person.
Fomites is the term given to objects that carry infection; phones, door handles, hand rails, newspapers, ice creams, money exchanged.
We have not defeated coronavirus, and may not ever. Right now we are exceptionally close to seeing a second peak.
How soon we see this and how high that peak is, is completely dependent on our behaviour as a community. Right now our beautiful coast is a magnet for anti-social behaviour.
How many people currently meeting on the beach with friends, spending time having BBQs with friends, meeting for walks in the park, sharing a picnic - how many of these people stand on a Thursday clapping?
Please don’t clap for us if you are not prepared to act safely in a manner that is respectful to the lives we are risking ours for to save. The reason the guidance still stands for not travelling to relocate, to NOT move to a second home, to NOT stay in a holiday home is because hospitals are built to cater for the resident population NOT tourists.
If Norfolk coast is saturated with holiday makers and second-home owners then our hospitals will rapidly struggle beyond capability. There simply will be no room in ITU or even on the wards if/when a second surge arises.
I tried to take a stroll on the beach last night with my family but quickly had to leave and it made me question why I’m fighting on the frontline risking my life when people are flaunting their disregard for it on the beach.
Our beaches and parks should be a safe space for everyone, not a harbour for disrespecting social distancing and thus risking life and our future in lockdown indefinitely.
Norfolk right now is closed to tourists because our hospitals don’t have room. As a doctor from the front line, I implore you, this thing is not over and no one is exempt.
From every door handle, person, coin you touch out in public you risk exposure, please respect the guidelines.
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