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Poor health leads to poor wealth, how do we balance the economy with public health?

As the families in the UK approach Christmas the hot topic this year is the Uk governments 5 day rule for mixing over Christmas which currently states;


Between 23 and 27 December, the three households in a "Christmas bubble" can mix indoors and stay overnight.

Northern Ireland has a window of 22 to 28 December, to allow time to travel between the nations.

Bubbles can meet each other:


  • In each other's homes

  • At a place of worship

  • In an outdoor public space or garden

Families in the Long Covid Kids community know the reality of Covid too well, and do not support the 5 day "Christmas bubble" rule. Our parent only support group is sadly welcoming new members daily.


Our Long Covid Kids have been living with disabling symptoms since Lockdown 1. Accessing support is challenging, and many children are now sicker than they were when initially infected with Covid 19.



One doctor covering the intensive care unit at Queen Mary Hospital in London tweets his experience.


Rupert Pearce tweets;


"On the intensive care unit today covering a colleague who is unwell, so only time for a brief update this week. You may have seen a lot of coverage that London hospitals are very badly affected by COVID-19 right now. This is all pretty accurate I’m afraid


Hospitals in the north of England seem to be stabilising now which is a relief, but the situation in south Wales, east London and the north Kent remains very difficult. COVID patient numbers have doubled where I work in the last week

Compared to the first wave, we are looking after a much larger number of patients with ‘usual’ illnesses. Heart attacks, strokes, trauma, cancer surgery etc. NHS staff are getting pulled in lots of directions


Hospital staff are spread very thinly.




We cannot shut down other patient services and re-deploy staff to intensive care or respiratory wards as we did in the spring. Nursing staff in particular, are under a lot of pressure as they work to maintain good quality patient care.











Nightingale Hospitals won't help because the main problem is the availability of trained staff. We are already 'diluting' our skilled ICU nursing staff with less well trained volunteers from other parts of the hospital.


In the first wave we enjoyed a wonderful sense of cohesion. Everyone in society seemed to understand and accept the crisis. NHS staff felt genuinely moved by the weekly clap for carers and felt absolutely appreciated for the personal risks they were taking.


Now we see people in positions of responsibility (e.g. MPs) routinely question public health policy. Social distancing efforts amongst the public are a lot more variable. NHS staff see this making their work even harder, and it’s hitting morale hard. No-one is clapping now.





People debate impacts on the economy versus public health as if it’s a straight trade-off.


It’s not. Poor health leads to poor wealth. A simple fact. It’s not credible that anyone would claim to care about economic impact on the little guy, but not worry if they live or die.


This is very much the long hard winter that NHS leaders feared. We can also expect a further rise in hospital admissions in January. This will affect everyone’s healthcare for every illness. Society expects the NHS to deal with all of this and will criticise us if we fail.


So please take care over the next few days and weeks, if only for your own sake. I have seen what COVID-19 can do to you. Get vaccinated as soon as you are invited. We are proud to be your NHS but please take care of us this Christmas."


Long Covid Kids are asking every family to make informed decisions this year. Please do not mix, protect your loved ones. Consider postponing your gathering until spring.


Just because the government says we can mix over Christmas, doesn't mean we should.


LongCovidKids.org is a parent and patient-led campaign & support group for parents of children with Long Covid. Our story started with a short film on long-lasting symptoms of Covid in children & we are working on The Long Covid Kids Study with PeopleWith


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