The country needs an urgent, short and total lockdown to halt a steady rise in the number of people dying from the virus in care and nursing homes, providers said today.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) says it is now time to end the confusion and hold the so-called ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown as other countries in the UK have.
Today’s figures from the Office for National Statistics show 63 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes across England and Wales in the week ending 9th October, up from 46 the previous week and the highest total since July.
The ICG fears the picture could be much worse once the time delay is considered.
Deaths have been rising in recent weeks, at 38, 31, 27, 17 and 23, respectively. It means 15,712 people died from Covid-19 in these homes from 28th December to 9th October.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Reluctantly, I think the time has come for a short, sharp lockdown to try to stop the second wave in its tracks.
“We are now starting to see more significant increases in the number of Covid-19 deaths in care and nursing homes and we have to act quickly. These figures are a week or two behind, so I would expect the reality to be somewhat worse.
“As care providers we see that these are people’s loved ones – a wife, a husband, a mother, a father, an aunt, an uncle, a brother or sister. We cannot let Covid-19 take so many people as it did in the first wave.”
Mr Padgham said he knew that any lockdown would have an impact on the economy, but it had to happen.
“Yes, we have to protect the economy but first and foremost we have to protect people’s lives and the lives of the staff caring for them,” he added. “It feels inevitable that if we don’t lockdown now, we will have to do so soon and probably for a longer time, doing even more damage to the economy.
“At the moment we have people travelling all over the place, from areas of high infection rate to low areas, so the virus is bound to spread and spread. It is regrettable, but I feel the only way is to lockdown again and protect our oldest and most vulnerable in particular, until we can regain control.”