Cumbria’s Year In COVID-19- We Have ‘An Even Bigger Challenge Ahead’ Health Director Says

By Rachael Grealish

Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health has taken to social media to look back on the county’s year gripped by the Coronavirus pandemic – stating we have ‘an even bigger challenge ahead’.

Colin Cox posted a thread on Twitter last night, Wednesday March 3, saying he was taking a ‘moment to pause and reflect’ exactly a year on from the first case of COVID-19 in Cumbria.

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It seemed only natural the health Director lamented on the 1,200 plus people who’ve lost their lives to the deadly virus in the last 12 months.

“Around 1200 people in Cumbria have died before their time,” he said, “We see the numbers on the news, rising every day, it’s easy to get inured to them, but these are people not stats.

“The human cost has been huge, and the distress to family and friends incalculable. We must never forget.”

Cox went on to praise local services, the NHS, teachers and the overall response on the public tweeting the ‘resilience and fortitude has been amazing’.

He posted: “The public response has been astonishing. In January 2020 I said of the Wuhan lockdown “we would never do that here”… Well, not quite – but people have made huge sacrifices to help control this virus. Your resilience and fortitude has been amazing. Thank you.

“Our local services have been little short of heroic. Every one of them has refocused, adapted, and done what it takes to continue serving the public as best they can.

“It’s probably unfair to pick out specific sectors, but schools and nurseries have been amazing – this isn’t what you signed up for when you went into education! And of course the NHS and care sector – I’m in awe. You’ve been through the darkest of times and we owe you a huge debt.”

A special shout out went to the director’s own team and other public sector workers for ‘flogging themselves for the last year’.

“And a special shout-out for my team (immediate and extended!),” he continued, “People working directly in the public health system have been flogging themselves for the last year and have responded incredibly to the challenges thrown at them. I couldn’t ask for a better team – thank you.”

Cox commented on the success of the vaccination programme throughout the county – more than 100,000 people in Cumbria have received their first dose of the vaccine.

However, with all the positivity the Director left off with a warning telling his followers not to ‘blow this now’ and said there is ‘an even bigger challenge ahead’ – while calling out the ‘legacy of health inequalities that we must now tackle’.

“We are now coming out of this. The vaccine programme is a triumph both of science and the NHS ability to mobilise rapidly. An astonishing achievement. But it’s not over yet – so please don’t relax your guard too soon. Let’s not blow it now,” he said.

“Finally – the economic impact has also been profound, and in the long term will be just as important for public health. There is a legacy of health inequalities that we must now tackle, to rebuild fairer, greener, and healthier than before. An even bigger challenge ahead…”

This was posted ahead of the latest COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccination statistics which are due to be published today, Thursday March 4, and will be summarised by The Herdwick News.

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