COVID is spreading like wildfire - please stay at home and save lives

5 January 2021

COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire - please stay at home

An important message from Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council

The new variant of COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire across England and we are not immune in Brent. I know that statistics don’t always tell the human story but the graph below should be a wake-up call to us all. It shows the number of people seriously ill in hospital with COVID is now three times higher than it was in November when there were just over 9,000 people admitted to hospitals in England with COVID-19. Today there are more than 26,626 people struggling to fight the virus in our hospitals.

Anyone can catch this virus, I know this all too well as I was ill with COVID-19 over Christmas which knocked me for six. It was a horrendous experience and you can hear more about it here.

I had migraines, the shivers, I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t stop coughing and struggled to breathe normally. Thanks to all the great help and advice from the NHS, I am now on my way to getting over the virus but not everyone is this fortunate.

A graph showing the number of COVID-19 hospital admissions in England from April to now

The number of cases circulating around our community is around five times higher than it was in November. Sadly, this only leads to more hospitalisations and Northwick Park, like other hospitals all over England, is working flat out to keep people alive. More than 100 people have needed mechanical ventilation to help them breathe over recent days and currently around one Brent resident is dying every day. This is a human tragedy.

I have lost people I love in my family to COVID-19 over the past year and my heart goes out to all those who have had to grieve loved ones. I don’t say any of this to shock you but we do all need to realise the seriousness of the situation we are in. We need to get back to the spirit of March and April 2020 and support the NHS and key workers battling COVID by staying at home.

COVID-19 is not ‘just the flu’, or a hoax or something to shrug off as an irritation.

It is really important that we all stay at home. If you do need to leave your home for one of the acceptable reasons – like to get a COVID test or care for a loved one or escape domestic violence – please do the right thing and wash your hands, cover your face with a mask and keep 2 metres away from anyone you don’t live with.

This past year has been a terrible one for so many people. If you are struggling, the council is here to help. You can find out more about what financial help there is available on our website. There is also a huge amount of mental health and wellbeing support available in Brent including free online workshops throughout January in multiple languages. Workshops include Stress and Worry Management and Low Mood and Anxiety.

You can also get focused support by phone, video call or online treatments by visiting the Talking Therapies website. If you need urgent mental health support, you can also access the following services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

Samaritans – call 116 123

SHOUT – text 85258

There is light at the end of this very long tunnel. There are now two vaccines being delivered and the NHS is doing an amazing job treating those who need it the most. There is hope this year but we all need to pull together and support one another. If we all do our bit we can look forward to better times ahead.

Until then, please Stay at Home - Protect the NHS and Save Lives.

Schools and settings update

The Prime Minister has announced that a new national lockdown will come into force at 00:01 on Tuesday 5 January.

During the period of national lockdown, schools, alternative provision, special schools, and colleges will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only. Public vocational exams and assessments scheduled to take place in January will go ahead as planned. All other children and students will learn remotely until February half term.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.

All early years providers (including registered childminders but not including reception years in primary schools) can remain open during this period of national lockdown.

Image with text: Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives. The new COVID-19 variant is spreading fast. We all need to play our part to stop the spread.

Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives

The Main Rule - Stay at home. 

Exceptions to the rule. You should only leave your home:

  • if you need to work (if you can't work from home)
  • to go shopping
  • for education (although schools are closed for many pupils)
  • to care for someone
  • to exercise in your local area
  • to go to a hospital, GP or have a COVID-19 test
  • if you are at risk of harm. 

You can only see: 

  • people who live with you under the same roof
  • people in your support or childcare bubble
  • one other person to exercise outdoors with.

Read a full list of the rules.