Heartbreaking Covid Inquiry Video Shows People Reliving Relatives' Lockdown Deaths

It's clear the effects of the pandemic remain raw.
Two people share their tragic experiences of the early part of the Covid pandemic
Two people share their tragic experiences of the early part of the Covid pandemic
Covid Inquiry Live Stream

The Covid Inquiry just unveiled a harrowing video of bereaved people who lost their loved ones during the height of the pandemic.

The long-awaited public investigation into how the government managed the Covid outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns started on Tuesday.

Baroness Heather Hallett, the inquiry chair, explained that several “impact films” will be shown throughout the course of the inquiry.

“People from across the four nations of the United Kingdom talk about the devastating impact the pandemic has had on them and on their loved ones,” she said.

As Hallett warned, the firm clip is “extremely moving” in a way “that will bring back very difficult memories for many people”.

She also encouraged anyone who wanted to to leave the room while the 17-minute film played, as the footage included harrowing testimonies from people who both survived the virus themselves, and who lost their relatives.

“We’re going to know people who die from this,” Jane from the West Midlands said at the start of the video, tearing up. “But I never thought for a minute it’d be my dad and my sister five days apart.”

She explained that she went with her father in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, encouraging him to be “the strongest he’s ever been”. He later died.

“Within half an hour of me being home and leaving my dad, my sister was being rushed to hospital, unresponsive,” Jane added. She said she wanted one of her family to be there with her sister, but she “died alone” at 54.

Crying on camera, Jane explained: “It’s something I will never, ever get over. At the time when they needed me most, I wasn’t there, and I feel guilty about that, even though it wasn’t my fault.”

Another harrowing account came from Lucy, who is based in London.

She said: “It happened all very quickly. Within seven days, my mum was gone. Just like that. We missed it. We missed it completely. For the few days that mum was not well.”

Similarly, Brenda, Northern Ireland, explained: “My mum was one of the first in Northern Ireland to die. She died just at the start of lockdown, 24 March, 2020. Mum was our world.”

Carole Anne, from Scotland, shared her own story of loss too. Her 57-year-old brother had been a taxi driver when he caught Covid, and went “blue”.

She said: “Five weeks. We couldn’t see him. Nothing. We waited every hour, every 11 o’clock, every day, for a phone call from the consultant. It’s the only update we had on him.”

Catriona, Northern Ireland, also revealed how the traumatic events of her father’s death “will haunt us for the rest of our lives”.

She said: “At the end of anybody’s lives, the most you can hope is to give your loved one a good death. And we will forever carry the guilt that our daddy was denied that.”

We were courting for six years and married for 48. And so this affected me a lot, greatly, I’m on my own now,” John from Wales said tearfully, recalling his wife’s death.

One man recalled how his wife died from Covid
One man recalled how his wife died from Covid
Covid Inquiry Live Stream, YouTube

Speaking from North West England, Anjali explained what it was like when she contracted Covid, and had to be incubated in hospital.

She said: “I woke up after six weeks in the middle of June. I was so unwell, that three times they had tried to stop treatment and keep me comfortable.”

Amazingly, she improved and returned to work in August.

Others recalled how they struggled to speak to doctors to get updates on their relatives’ health, and some said they still don’t have answers about their family members’ final moments.

Brenda from Northern Ireland, pointed out a particularly gut-wrenching part of her mother’s death: “In the final hours, when she really needed us, none of us could be there. The phone call came through to say she passed. I asked the nurse about her belongings, and she said, ‘I’m sorry everything will be incinerated.’”

Catherine from Wales, lives on her own, said she didn’t hug anyone between hearing their father was going to die until right past the funeral. She said: “Grief is lonely anyway, but grief was so compounded by the absence of comfort.”

Others also expressed guilt that bereavement couldn’t follow their cultural traditions.

But, the video also captured just how important this inquiry is. Brenda noted that the pandemic is “an important part of history and history has to reflect the truth of what happened to families like mine”.

Others said they still carry anxiety, guilt, trauma, pain, anger and hurt from what happened to their own families.

Hazel from London said: “It’s been a couple of years now, and we’re still upset. It’s not just going to go away like that.”

Inquiry chair Hallett has previously appealed for people to share their experiences of the pandemic because “no one’s story is the same as yours”, and it’s important to understand the full scale of the unprecedented crisis.

According to the government’s Covid data, 227,321 people have died with Covid on their death certificate so far.

The inquiry is set to last around three years and look at all aspects of the pandemic. A livestream of the hearing is available to watch on YouTube.


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