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‘We must learn lessons from tragedy’, says BMA chair as UK surpasses 100k Covid deaths

‘We must learn lessons from tragedy’, says BMA chair as UK surpasses 100k Covid deaths
By Sofia Lind
26 January 2021

‘We must not and will not forget this day’, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul has said, as the UK becomes the first country in Europe to record over 100,000 deaths from Covid-19.

The BMA will be projecting a light installation onto its Tavistock Square headquarters from this evening to mark the sad milestone.

It comes as ONS data showed that 7,245 people in the UK died from Covid-19 in the latest weekly statistic covering the period up until 15 January.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘We must not and will not forget this day; the day when we mourn the deaths of one hundred thousand people from a virus which has wreaked havoc on our health service, nation and society.’

According to Dr Nagpaul, a GP in North West London, the ‘ongoing impact behind these dreadful figures cannot be underestimated’.

He said: ‘When we are confronted with statistics like this, it’s difficult to fully contemplate the scale of human suffering lying behind them. Behind each statistic is someone who has lost their life: someone’s parent, partner, child, or friend, and the grieving families that they leave behind. 

‘This has been more painful as the necessity of lockdown and social distancing has constrained families from holding normal funeral services, and from seeking comfort in the company of others.’

And he highlighted that ‘among those who have died are many health and care workers – who lost their lives in the course of doing their jobs – caring for others in the most challenging of circumstances as we have seen NHS services tested to their limits’. 

‘We know that some of those staff – many already at higher risk from Covid-19 – were not properly protected from the virus and yet felt under pressure to continue to work and do their duty by their patients,’ he added.

His comments come as the BMA this month called for more stringent PPE guidance in primary care amidst ‘significant and growing concerns’ about aerosol transmission of Covid-19 in healthcare settings.

Dr Nagpaul concluded: ‘As the first nation in Europe to have reached this dark death toll, we must learn the lessons of this tragedy. We must understand why so many excess lives have been lost in our nation so that we can prevent this scale of death from coming to pass in any future pandemic.

‘Now is the time to express our immense sadness at these deaths, to remember the lives they led and the good they did, and to redouble our commitment to reducing the spread of infection, vaccinating the population and protecting one another from this deadly disease.’

Nearly 6.6 million people had been vaccinated against Covid-19 by Monday of this week.

This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.

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