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Editor's Viewpoint

Drop in the number of care home deaths encouraging but vigilance is still a big responsibility for whole community

Editor's Viewpoint


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The latest figures show a significant drop in Covid-19 related deaths in care homes (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The latest figures show a significant drop in Covid-19 related deaths in care homes (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The latest figures show a significant drop in Covid-19 related deaths in care homes (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The latest figures show a significant drop in Covid-19 related deaths in care homes, with the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency reporting that these were down to 36 in the week up to May 8.

In the previous week, that figure was 72, and while the significant drop is to be welcomed, these statistics have to be seen against the perspective that almost half of the 599 coronavirus-related deaths recorded by NISRA so far, have been in care homes.

However, the latest Department of Health figures report a further 15 coronavirus-related deaths, bringing its own total to 469.

Nevertheless the recent reduction in the care home deaths marks an incremental improvement which can hopefully be built upon, and this is encouraging news for the residents, and for their families and carers.

However, this does not in any way negate the appalling loss of life that his taken place in the care homes, and the way in which people in this sector suffered so grievously while the main focus was on equipping the NHS and its staff.

The grief suffered by their families and loved ones, and by their carers, was palpable is it was relayed through the media. The carers themselves showed remarkable heroism and dedication to duty, often with scant or no protective equipment.

It it much too soon to draw definitive conclusions while we are still in the midst of the pandemic, with more people dying and becoming infected, though thankfully not in as great numbers as before. Doubtless, there will be calls for an inquiry of the kind mooted by Professor Gabriel Scally, and we must all learn the lessons from this dark time in order to be better prepared for future cataclysmic outbreaks.

Naturally, we all hope that by this stage of the current pandemic we are turning an important corner, but vigilance and taking due care about how we behave in the continuing lockdown is still a big responsibility for all of us.

As never before, we are in this together.

Belfast Telegraph