Mayor’s message as nation pauses to remember key workers

//Mayor’s message as nation pauses to remember key workers

Published 28th April 2020 at 3:13pm

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region today, along with the nation, remembered those key workers who have lost their lives during the Coronavirus pandemic. He said:

“Along with many others in our community, I paused today for a minute’s silence to remember the key workers who have lost their lives from Coronavirus.

“At a moment like this, it is right that we should take stock of the wider toll this disease it taking, even as we work to overcome it together. Over 20,000 people have now died of coronavirus in British hospitals, and the overall total of UK deaths is likely more than double that. We have seen at least 400 deaths in South Yorkshire. And the level of deaths from all causes is worryingly high compared to previous years.

“There is immense pain behind these numbers. Each death represents a family mourning a loved one lost to a disease they had never heard of a few months ago. It represents NHS staff and carers bearing the burden of losing a patient in their charge. It represents another blow to the heart of our community. On behalf of all of us in South Yorkshire, I want to express our deepest sympathy for all those who have been affected.

“The story of each of these people deserves to be remembered. People like Dr. Medhat Atalla, who became part of our community after moving to the UK from Egypt around 20 years ago, and served it as a consultant geriatrician at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. People like Pat Midgley, who was a councillor in Sheffield for 33 years, as well as a magistrate and school governor. People like Neil Bailey, who was a staff manager with the First South Yorkshire bus company and a deacon at St Peter-in-Chains Church in Doncaster.

“Each of these losses reminds us why we are all making the sacrifices of a suspended economy, closed schools, and homes in lockdown – a burden whose scale and impact are painfully clear from conversations with individuals, families, and businesses across the region.

“And they remind us of the risks being taken by all of those in our community who are working in our hospitals or our supermarkets, keeping food on our tables, delivering vital services. Words are not enough, but I will say it again: you are keeping our society together, and we are deeply grateful.

“The secret hope I think we all shared at the start of this, that the predictions of casualties on this scale would not come pass, has been dashed. But that does not mean there is no hope. The old saying that the night is darkest before the dawn is especially true for this disease.

“There is every reason to believe that our sacrifices are having a positive effect, and that even as our losses continue, we may have already begun to come out of this. But I cannot stress too much that we still have a long way to go to finish the job – and that means continuing to follow the guidelines. Stay home, stay safe, and protect the NHS.

“I know that after so many weeks, it is inevitable that there will be frustrations with that message. Even in the midst of the crisis government at every level must be accountable and open to improvement, and above all clear with people about what choices are being made and why. We can only get through this if we act together: a loss of trust would undermine us more than anything else.

“But for me coronavirus is still first and foremost showing us just how closely we are tied to each other, and what we can achieve together. I believe this should be a turning point where we finally tackle deep weaknesses and injustices in our economy and society. Our community has borne a hard cost, but if we act with resolution, solidarity, and fairness, both now and as we recover, we can not only get through this, but be stronger than before.”