COVID-19: The ‘devastating’ impact of ‘life-changing’ virus deaths in one of London’s poorest boroughs


London has entered a new phase in its battle against the coronavirus after Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a major incident on the number of patients in the capital’s hospitals.

The East London district of Newham – one of the most disadvantaged in the city – also has the highest number of coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic with more than 23,500, according to local government data.

In wave one, it had a higher death rate than anywhere else – and it recorded 5,000 positives COVID-19[feminine cas au cours de la seule semaine dernière, ont déclaré des responsables du conseil.

L’impact est ressenti par les goûts de la famille Sheikh.

Le 7 avril, Abdul Karim Sheikh, 82 ans, a développé une fièvre et a été admis à l’hôpital.

Cinq jours plus tard, il y mourut.

Son fils Naeem a déclaré: «C’était dévastateur de ne pas pouvoir être là pour ses derniers instants et de le réconforter. C’était vraiment dévastateur.

«Mon père était un conseiller de longue date, un maire de cérémonie, un homme qui aimait les gens de sa communauté. La communauté l’aimait aussi.

«Sa perte change la vie et nous devons nous mettre au travail pour rester ensemble pour remplir ses énormes bottes, que nous ne remplirons jamais, mais nous allons essayer. Le virus nous a frappés durement. Je ne le fais pas. sachez comment cela va finir. « 

Pour ajouter à son chagrin, Naeem pense qu’au début de la pandémie de coronavirus, il a peut-être involontairement infecté son père.

« Ma femme [Aisha] and I am both teachers and we always provide frontline services to the children in our schools. I’m sure that by traveling to and from work, maybe somewhere along the line, maybe we got infected, ”he said.

“We may have been asymptomatic and didn’t notice it. But we did our best to follow all the rules, but it’s something we now have to live with. ”

While it is impossible to know how the virus passes from person to person, many family members hold themselves responsible, questioning the decisions they made in a time when there was very little information.

Born in Jalalpur Jattan in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, Mr. Sheikh moved to Britain in the late 1960s and became a central member of the community.

He helped found one of Newham’s first mosques in one of the most racially diverse boroughs in the capital.

In 1990 he became a local councilor and in 1998 ceremonial mayor of Newham.

He received a medal from the British Empire for his service to the Muslim community.

On the road where Mr. Sheikh lived, many of his friends and neighbors have died after contracting coronavirus.

Newham is densely populated and many people live in multigenerational households.

“We got a call this morning from someone we know who told us their loved one was in intensive care,” said Naeem’s wife, Aisha.

“This whole street has been affected and people are afraid. Our area is the worst in Newham for infections and it’s so devastating when you look at what’s going on. Twenty-three percent of people [in this council ward] tested positive here last week. ”

Aisha lost her mother, Parveen Fayyaz, 76, just seven days before her stepfather, Mr. Sheikh.

“I cried for my mother and then my stepfather died. She had underlying health issues, but it was still so sad for me. The last year has been so horrible. ”

Council officials are concerned that some people do not take the virus seriously and that a combination of financial hardship, deprivation and unemployment has allowed the disease to attack the predominantly black and Asian population of the region.

Zulfiqar Ali, Newham Council cabinet member responsible for adult health and social care, said: “I hope this second wave does not lead to the level of mortality we saw in the first wave.

“But with the increase in hospital admissions, the likelihood is that deaths will increase if people don’t start following the procedures. «

While the elderly have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, the young are also among the dying, according to Ali.

Nothing should be “taken for granted” at this point, he said.

“This tension spreads so quickly – unless we do something quickly, people will start to lose their loved ones.

“There is a certain degree of non-compliance among young people who seem to think they are immune, and they are not.

“Unfortunately, they put themselves and their loved ones in danger. It is likely that things will get worse if we don’t continue to follow the rules. ”

© Sky News 2021


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