Doncaster mum urges MP to oppose lockdown lifting as daughter battles long Covid
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Frederika Roberts is calling on Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher and the Government to call off so-called Freedom Day as coronavirus cases rise again across the country.
Her 21-year-old daughter Hannah, a university student, has had to put her studies on hold after contracting Covid last year – and is still suffering from the virus.
And she says that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to lift restrictions is ‘wilfully irresponsible’ and will lead to thousands more coronavirus cases and deaths across the country.
In a letter to the MP, she said: The government's removal of all restrictions and mitigations against Covid-19 next Monday is dangerously, criminally irresponsible, particularly when we are so close to reaching herd immunity through vaccination.
"I am urging you, begging you, to consider the implications of this policy. It is not too late to reverse course. We are already seeing an exponential rise in cases, before the removal of all mitigations next week.
"History will look back at how this pandemic was handled. It will not look kindly on the actions of this government. Will you make a stand?
”After all, what is more important in the role of government than to protect the public? And shouldn't that be your prime directive, as an MP, elected to represent the best interests of the people in your constituency, not merely the loud voices of an extremist minority?”
Writing about her daughter Hannah’s battle with coronavirus, she told the MP: "Hannah is 21 years old.
"She spent her 21st birthday in isolation, in her room in her student house in Manchester, struggling to breathe while suffering with Covid.
"Hannah, like her sister Charlie, was born with a complex heart condition, but despite two major open heart surgeries and an out of hospital cardiac arrest in her young life, she had been fit and healthy, excelling at school and then university, enjoying physical fitness including frequent and regular gym visits and long bike rides and walks.
"She had been shielding for much of 2020 after being sent home from university, like so many students around the country, while in her second year of studying medicine.
“She returned to university in September last year to start year three, the start of the clinical years of her degree.
"This entailed spending most of her days on hospital wards, and using public transport to get there. Within just a couple of weeks of returning to university and taking every possible personal precaution, she contracted Covid-19.
After a protracted initial illness, she returned to university but it rapidly became apparent that, suffering from Long Covid, she was unable to continue for the time being.
Added Frederika: “Heartbroken and physically very weak, Hannah returned home in January, having put her studies on hold, hoping to get well enough to re-start year 3 in September this year.
"I won't elaborate on the long list of symptoms, but suffice it to say they are widespread and debilitating, and not limited to extreme fatigue and 'brain fog' (which would be enough to bring anyone to their knees, without the additional complications Hannah is suffering from.
"Hannah has been referred to a long covid clinic months ago and is still waiting to be seen, though not holding out much hope that they will be able to help her, as nobody seems to know how to treat Long Covid as yet.
"She is still hoping to return to university in September, but is increasingly worried this won't be possible as she has suffered yet more setbacks and can barely get through a day without being exhausted, and that is without adding the physical and mental demands of her medical degree.”
"I am not asking for your sympathy. I am asking for you to consider whether you are prepared to support this government, led by your party, in wilfully imposing a sentence of Long Covid on potentially 10,000 people per day – a conservatively low estimate, based on predicted rates of infection and existing data on Long Covid rates.
"Think about that figure. If you can't bring yourself to think about this with empathy for the suffering this will cause, think of it in economic terms. Think of the impact of 10,000 people per day being afflicted with a condition that will render them unable to work or study for long periods of time - we don't know how many of them will be affected for life. Think of the economic impact for an entire generation.
"The young, many of whom are unvaccinated are most likely to get 'mild' cases of covid, but they are not immune to Long Covid.
“We don't rely purely on 'personal responsibility' and 'common sense' when it comes to driving laws and we have laws to protect people from passive smoking.
"Why, in the midst of a huge pandemic, is this government removing all public protections and relying purely on individual responsibility?
"I can, and will, continue to wear a mask, but if others aren't, and everywhere I go is more crowded and unventilated, then that is simply not enough to protect the population at large.
"Rather than "Freedom Day", 19 July will lead to hundreds of thousands of people having to restrict their lives even further in order to attempt to protect themselves.”
“Take action. Take a stand. Do the right thing. Actions speak louder than words.”