West Sussex urged to ‘continue taking Covid seriously’ by those who have experienced virus

People who have either lost family members to Covid-19 or encountered the virus first hand are urging fellow West Sussex residents to continue taking it seriously.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 3:17 pm
Covid hospital ward (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images) SUS-200430-121117001

The NHS vaccination programme is continuing at pace, infection rates are falling and the government has announced its roadmap for the easing of restrictions.

But around a year on since the start of the first lockdown, several West Sussex residents are sharing their experiences of Covid and urging others not to let their guard down.

Sarah, from Worthing, who lost her uncle and nan to Covid and also has two cousins fighting for their lives in hospital, is pleading with people to keep following lockdown restrictions.

She said it was hard to describe the ‘grief and anger’ she feels and wonders what people are doing when she sees groups gathering, talking and hugging.

She added: “They have no idea of the helplessness of watching a loved one fight to breathe as they suffocate, or of the nightmares that come afterwards.”

Both her nan and uncle died alone.

Sarah continued: “People still gather, they don’t seem to care and they seem surprised when the transmission rate increases.”

Duncan, from Goring-by-Sea, who was 46 when he was taken to hospital with Covid, said he had ‘never felt so poorly in my life’ and even the eight steps to go to the toilet ‘felt like I had run a marathon’.

One of the scariest parts was the speed with which it took hold as Duncan initially thought it was just a mild illness. But things took a sudden turn for the worse and he was unable to even get to the bedroom door to collect a plate of food. At that point his family called an ambulance and he was admitted to hospital with Covid-19.

Residents are particularly being urged to follow the rules even after they’ve received their vaccination as they can still catch and spread Covid.

Sam, from Crawley, experienced her boyfriend being admitted to hospital with the disease on New Year’s Day. She said: “I witnessed first-hand how quick this virus could attack a person’s body and debilitate them to the point of not being able to sit up, let alone stand.”

She said while people will assume that once they’ve had the vaccine that life can return to normal straight away, her message to everyone is about it being ‘more important than ever to keep following the rules’.

John, from Pulborough, explained how much a Covid-19 diagnoses affected his young son. He said: “Once my wife was ill our ten year old son seemed very concerned.

“In fact throughout the first two days and nights that my wife had her fever he would check on her hourly and even woke up a few times in the night to ensure she was okay.”

While neither John or his wife fell seriously ill, as breathing became a struggle they both knew it was a possibility that the situation could get much worse.

Tony Hill, West Sussex’s interim director of public health, said: “Please stay at home. The fewer times you leave your home, the less chance you have of catching and spreading Covid-19.

“It’s so important to self-isolate and book a test immediately, even if your symptoms are mild.”

Some names have been changed in this report.