Andy Richardson: 'The human cost of Covid-19 is colossal'

It’s difficult to believe it.

One hundred days have passed since lockdown and local lives have changed irrevocably. We’ve been unable to hug family members, many have lost jobs, businesses have disappeared and life as we know it has gone.

When lockdown struck, there was a sense that we’d gone into it a little too late.

The horse racing at Cheltenham, the football in Liverpool, those holiday-makers coming back from Italy...

Yet even though we’d seen other nations do it, it remained shocking. Britain, a nation that had enjoyed freedom and liberty since the end of World War Two, was closed.

Across the region, lives have changed. The toxic mix of Government complacency and ineptitude on PPE, its failure to protect care homes and its inability to deal adequately with contact tracing has led to tragedies here.

Dominic Cummings’ thoughtless trip to Barnard Castle might not have led to the sort of punitive action it deserved, but it had a profoundly negative effect on the behaviour of others who figured that if those at the top were doing as they wished it would be alright for others too.

The lives of people in Telford have been chronicled on Radio 1’s Newsbeat and they are emblematic of other locals. A footballer has no idea what will happen to his career, a personal trainer has had to change her business overnight, a rapper who thought 2020 would be his best yet instead sat at home, while an A-level student was unable to sit her exams and faces a period of online learning when she finally gets to university.

They are not the only ones whose lives have been turned upside down. A large number of people have lost their jobs, the pressures of Covid-19 have contributed to marital collapse, domestic violence has soared, while charities, theatres, sports clubs and schools have been unable to operate. The human cost of Covid-19 will be counted for many years to come. It is colossal.

Hope dies last, however, and through it all there has been applause for our NHS, kindness, patience and support for friends and neighbours and determination to keep calm and carry on.

None of us would have believed that a form of lockdown would last beyond a hundred days. The frightening thing is this: few would bet against there being at least another 100 days.

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