Covid, Recovery and Hope

Cllr Ketan Sheth

As we reflect to 2020: it is a far cry from what we hoped for and expected from 2020. At a time like this, it’s important we rethink our goals to create and maintain hope.

Do you know that life expectancy went up in England in the Second World War?

Seems at odds with the facts doesn’t it but alongside the horror and causalities there was a great community feeling – we were all in this together, we came together  and we pulled together – and health got better!

So there’s something of a lesson in that for us today.

Covid has been terrible – whilst some people can get the virus and not feel any symptoms at all, there are others – particularly our senior citizens we know as mums and dads, grans, grandads, uncles and aunties  – for whom it is devastating.

We all know people who have lost close relatives – I lost two close relatives too, very close together – and one way of remembering them is to keep ourselves, and therefore others, safe.

Being a Community is hard when we cannot really meet together, cannot sing in our churches and temples or shout at football – but we are all, truly, in this together.

We should all remember Tuesday, the 8th December – the day of hope – when we began to fight back and the vaccine began its work.

It’s perfectly natural for all of us to have questions – and to ask them openly – and to ask the experts.

Beware of social media ‘experts’ who really only make things worse by twisting genuine questions into fear and extinguishing hope – not so much a secret conspiracy but a conspiracy against hope.

And let’s also remember the things that work – Hands Face Space – washing hands regularly, wearing a face covering and leaving space between us – proven to build barriers against this killer and preventing those of us who might carry the virus without feeling it, from passing it on to those who are not be so lucky; we owe it to those we love and care about the most – because we love and care for them.

Covid also brought huge worries too – people not going to hospital when they really should or people who are anxious and worried or fearful – there are NHS services there to help us – please do so.

The Office for National Statistics say 1 in 3 of us are more worried about money, one in six worried about their jobs and one in 12 worried about food. Just think about that — and help.

Hope is important – and it is in those vials being delivered to vaccination hubs now,  quite rightly for our most vulnerable citizens and those workers on the front line – especially in health and social care but also those other heroes on the buses, tubes, shop workers – 10m million people, heroes all, who kept our society going and we owe them all huge thanks .

But there are heroes in every family – those who just do the things that families do – they follow the rules  – we may miss the touch but we can put an arm round the whole community – ask after one another – just chat, keep calm and take care.

Emily Dickinson, the American poet, wrote:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

Hope is the further shore we can reach from here. My seasons greetings  to you all!

Cllr Ketan Sheth is Chair of the Brent Council Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee

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