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tv   The Cost of Covid A Year on...  BBC News  December 12, 2021 4:30pm-5:01pm GMT

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hello this is bbc news with jane hill. the headlines: the first people in the uk have been hospitalised with the omicron variant of coronavirus, as the nhs in england extends the booster jab programme. days before an expected backbench rebellion, the prime minister faces fresh questions about christmas gatherings at downing street a year ago after a photo emerges of him taking part in a quiz. he can't deliver the leadership that this country needs and we have got a very important vote coming up next week and he can't even discharge the basic functions of government. he's the worst possible leader at the worst possible time. they can now make their mind up when they see this picture of a prime minister on a virtual screen, on a zoom call, thanking his team that were in the building because they have to respond to a national emergency. in sport, a new champion in formula 1 — max verstappen takes the world
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title in a nail—biting race that came down to the final lap. a busy afternoon. much more coming up a busy afternoon. much more coming up at the top of the hour. now on bbc news — the cost of covid. for over 12 months, the bbcjoined a vicar and a pastor on the frontlines in burnley, struggling in a pandemic—fuelled crisis as lockdowns were imposed and covid rates soared. i'm a broken, recovering drug addict. that got a second chance. i love the poor, because i know i am the poor. and as long as i breathe, i'll serve the poor.
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as covid brings crisis to so many, in burnley, people of faith are stepping up to the front line. this is their story in a year of loss, hardship, but also hope. boris johnson: we must act now to contain this autumn surge. - stay at home, protect the nhs and save lives. no need to push, there's plenty. i you see all these people? they have children, hungry children. we need social distancing or we're going to get in trouble. you need to form a queue, please! it's hard to keep your distance when you're cold and hungry. politician say it's a leveller, this coronavirus, which is a lie, because if you're poor you've got no chance. high quality bag for you, love. it's november 2020, and burnley has already faced months of restrictions. now a second national lockdown.
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people are coming down here for hot food that they can eat now. tuna pasta bake and all sorts in here. for people in this car park, this is salvation. i'm unable to get a job. i'm caring for a disabled person, that's a full—time job. it's hard to get food for myself because i haven't got much money and i can't go out anywhere. a couple of days food i means everything to us. we've got nurses over there because these guys can't access healthcare. that's what's happening. the need is massive, absolutely colossal. i suffer from depression and this coronavirus has made it ten times worse. if it hadn't been for all these, i'd basically be dead. i've seen people who are working that can't make ends meet. any time you've got money, it disappears faster than you make it. the bills swallow it up. with the coronavirus as well, with the reduction in wages, it's not easy to cope. so this means you can eat? eat, yes, and it helps out wherever you're stuck. are you worried
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about coronavirus? yes, yeah, i don't want it. why don't you stay at home, work from home? protect your family, keep them safe? i'd love to. but the job i do doesn't allow me to stay at home. it's physically demanding inside a very hectic, busy weaving shed. i think they've i all got chocolate! all this is laid on by pastor mick. i'm sorry, we're not asda. tonight, some of these guys are sleeping on the concrete. this is the church i represent. the level of need here in burnley at the moment is, i think, unprecedented, and it's upsetting. we've got some bread as well, yeah? visiting a family who had no carpet, no settee, no gas, no electric, no food. it broke my heart because, um... ..nobody cared for them. they fell through the crack.
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pot noodles, that kind of stuff, all right? this is st matthew's church. father alex supports pastor mick. many are desperately looking for help. i think the people are being forgotten about. it's about money and numbers and statistics. we can't rely on a foodbank. it doesn't seem right. it doesn't seem modern—day britain. but it is. the biggest part of coronavirus has been the loneliness. you look like you're on the mend, honestly you do, you know, thank god. i hope so. i keep trying to - force myself to eat. most days, pastor mick's on the road helping people like viv. she's 55. i stopped eating. for about a week. ijust ended up collapsing on my bathroom floor - and i were there for... i think i were there for a full day. - so hypothermia had kicked in and everything. -
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living alone in isolation brought back painful memories. itjust brought it all back. i lost my husband, i buried two of my babies, i give birth- to them and all i wanted them to do were cry- and they didn't cry. yeah. no mother has to go through that. - the coronavirus brought all this back? yeah, it's brought. every moment back. when you collapsed, what went through your mind? just let me go, let me... know, my number must be up. i thought my time were up. she were trapped, she was trapped inside her house. imagine being trapped inside your own mind. you can't go out. and a lot of people... so what does she do? she stopped living. shejust stopped. what have these past six months been like for you? really difficult. because doing the dayjob,
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the prayers, the pastoral calls, funeral services, trying to be a dad, parent, and you've got this massive cloud that's just sat up there. coronavirus? coronavirus, yeah. the local government association said that from march to august 2020, four million people in households with children experienced food insecurity. anybody that's poor and has been suffering, covid's tenfolded it. i had to get loans out so we could eat and pay the bills. food parcel, pete. thank you. for pete, an issue with his family's benefits meant payday loans and financial crisis. how much were you in debt for? well over £1000. got it down now to £200, £300. what stress did that do to you?
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some stuff, it's depression because of it, and so does my wife. you feel like you don't matter. you're just a number. i go into houses and sometimes i have children ripping the bags open to get at the food as i carry them into the door. and it's not all right, that. that's not all right. and it wasn't as bad as that before the virus. pastor mick says he's hearing more and more of these stories. we're trying to fetch a bit of hope to people's lives. the unfairness of health deprivation. i feel angry because people aren't listening. what has coronavirus meant for your care? it stopped it. i'm supposed to have a blood test once a month,
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for my cancer count. nobody's been and done it, six months. may was the last time i had mine done. i've just been found after six months of being left without care, what they thought was two hernias, it's not. it's one huge hernia. and i can't be operated on because i won't survive it. so sheila now relies on family, especially her granddaughter. because i don't want to be a drain on the system that's already dying, because i'm already dying. people need the nhs. we can't do nothing to help. we've just got to sit back and watch it. l yeah, but you don't sit back, do you? no, i can't do that. we canjust be here.
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there's nothing we can d0. there's not many people lose a child, and there's even less that lose two. the first lady of our food bank on saturday came, and, um, she broke down. her daughter had killed herself. we pray injesus' name... sobs you have to try and find words. we'll get there. we'll have to, yeah. we'll get there, we'll get there. without their support, what would have happened to you? me, i'd probably be where my daughter is now... up there. i probably would have took my own life if it weren't for them. together, pastor mick and father alex are the hope for thousands through this crisis. sobs sorry.
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i'm sorry, talking about it... i'm sorry about getting upset, because, you know... you carry people's burdens. you try to tell them it's all right. they're so... it's so upsetting. newsreel: the united kingdom| has recorded the highest number of covid deaths in a 24—hour period since the pandemic struck last year at more than 1,600. experts say it's likely that the coming weeks will see figures even higher than this. we thank you for their lives. we thank you for their love.
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in burnley, the second wave has taken a heavy toll on the poorest. amen. my days are full, seeing families dealing with the torment, the death, the tears, you know, and the devastation that these times are causing us. deaths from all causes join the second wave in burnley with 60% above the english average. give us the strength and the courage to get through it. and, lord, we pray that grace's face, her memory, it's just there and it's strong and it goes out there to change lives, and know that smile... today's prayers are for grace. something that we can remember and love. her mental health suffered terribly during lockdown. she was 28, everything going for her, a son,
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a daughter, my mum, she were like a daughter to her. and i feel like i've failed her now. you haven't failed her, no. she leaves behind her mum, nana and son. no—one to see his children. no—one to see him get married. he's been so brave. he's trying to hold| his head up for us. what do you want to happen? just bring her back and tell her never to go, stay with me. imean... i'm only ten, i'm too young. it makes it worse being a young age. donations from friends and pastor mick are paying for grace's funeral. at first i was saying, what are we going to do? where are we going to get the money from? i can admit, i was suicidal.
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ijust didn't... if i'm out of it, then i don't have to deal with it. without mick's help, what would have happened to grace? she would have been cremated now and she'd have been in a pauper's grave. without no ceremony, no... she would have just gone in with people she didn't know. they don't want paupers' funerals. they want a proper service and due respect given to their loved ones. you know, they want to celebrate their life. they want some dignity. it's about dignity, this, do you know, not about money. it's about dignity, for the poor. in areas of poverty, who can afford £4,000 or £5,000 to bury your people? people you're not expecting to die. nobody has that money.
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it's becoming more and more and more obvious that there's a growing number of people that are too poor to die. janet is preparing for her husband's funeral. it's a funeral and it will be a real funeral, but with no body. but the situation is becoming increasingly desperate. lord, we pray that this service on sunday is just something thatjust makes such a big difference to the life and, lord, give us strength to stay alive. kevin had acute respiratory problems. his health got worse during the pandemic. he couldn't walk, he didn't even know me, he didn't know anybody. were you asking for help? we kept asking, saying we wanted carers in, but we didn't get nowhere. how old was he when he passed away? 56. janet had no money to collect
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kevin's body, so he will be cremated by the hospital. when they've done it, they're going to ring me and tell me, and then i have to get somebody to go over for his ashes to fetch them back. do you know when that's is going to happen? no. pastor mick has agreed to carry out a service for the whole family. to be honest with you, mick, if we hadn't got this help, i were going to think about suicide. you were? iwere. well, at least we can give him a proper send—off, even though he won't be there, he's there in our hearts. for some of the most deprived areas, january was the deadliest month since the pandemic began. i'm doing funeral after funeral after funeral after funeral of people that don't have the finances and support. and we've come together to grieve for kevin, and for his family. and now this is pastor mick's church.
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a closed—down gym, another casualty of the pandemic. and today is valentine's day, and it speaks about love and what real love is. i want to tell you what real love is. it's you. you turning up here to pay your respects. and it's here janet and her family say goodbye. we can express our love and our grief together as one. i appreciate doing it this way. at least he's getting a send—off, and the whole family can be there. and it's goodwill and charity that has gifted grace's family this day. oh, i can't do this! you can. you can, we're nearly there, you can. she's not on her own. i mean, there's thousands out there going through the same| as what we are.
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we therefore commit grace's body to you, lord. these people are not statistics. they hurt, they bleed, they cry. mum, don't leave me. ijust want you in my life forever. - just stay with me. these children, that are losing their parents, they are not numbers on a board, snd i want their stories to be told, because this should not be happening. is this testing your faith? no. because it's given me an opportunity to live out the gospel to serve the poor and to help the needy. all those people that you may have seen weeping, that i do believe that god weeps as well, and wants this to go away and for people to celebrate a sense of community and care for one another that is much needed in this town.
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newsreel: mental health - services in england have been hit particularly hard by the impact of the pandemic, and in east lancashire, urgent and emergency mental health referrals for the most serious of cases almost quadrupled injuly compared to the same month in 2019. he's gone over, hasn't he? has anybody rung an ambulance? months later, we return to pastor mick's church. every other person i meet is struggling with one form of mental health or another. i've been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and i have anxiety. to come out of- a psychiatric unit... to the street. the street. whether that's anxiety, paranoia... they stare at me all the time. ..unable to cope in everyday life. i feel lost. i want to be human again. it's notjust here in burnley, it's all over the country. and the people who suffer most are the ones at the bottom
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of the pile, all of us. ——always. i don't think i can do it. it's too hard. i've really worked hard for you this afternoon! j this closed—down gym now reborn, a refuge for the desperate. stop shouting and talk to me properly. - come on, come with me. every week, hundreds climb these steps. it's all right. tonight the church stays open forjohn. he's poorly, he's got mental health issues. people being horrible, nasty towards me! if i lock this door... we'll sit down here, come sit here. ..he dies. come on, tell me what's happened. john's paranoid. he needs urgent care. take a deep breath. take a really deep breath. all right. i'm panicking. so tell me what the big panic is, what's the big one. cos i'm sick of this happening, across the road. all right, 0k. i've just had enough, it's been going on too long.
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before this, john said he rang his gp for a prescription and was told to call back in 48 hours. nobody else has listened. he's the only one that ever actually does sit down. it's all right, john. i know, but i'm a dirty mess. john says he's not seen a gp all year. you don't know what to think, what to do, who to speak to. people look at you like you belong in a lunatic asylum when you speak about your mental health. it's like...they don't realise there's thousands suffering. we're church on the street, we've just had a telephone call... and she don't want to live anymore? yeah, and she's took an overdose. you do know we have to ring an ambulance, don't you? i this evening, pastor mick received three calls in an hour from people at risk of suicide. she's only just took them. but he can't answer every call. i didn't answer the phone.
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and i got the message that "if you don't answer the phone, i'm going to kill myself." and they did. help also came too late for robert. he was a really kindhearted person. he struggled through lockdown. two weeks afterjoanne asked for support, he took his own life. the day he killed himself, i had a phone call from the mental health team, says, "can i speak to robert ryan?" "well, he's not here no more." they went, "what do you mean?" i said to them, "i've just found him dead." i said, "you're a bit late, aren't you?" what did they say? "i'm so sorry to hear that, i wish i could have got back sooner. " and it feels like it's my fault, because i didn't get the help... it's not your fault. ..quick enough for him. and now she can't forget. and i can see the flashbacks in my head all the time. it's like, it's always reminding me, i can see him every day in my head, when i get up, when i go to sleep.
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i don't think i can do it. it's too hard. if robbie had had early help... i think he would've been all right, he would've still been here. what has covid done to this town, this country? i think it's made any issues for people that were already struggling ten times worse. services are overstretched, overworked, can't always help everybody. i can't spell good, i can read ok, but... during lockdown, robbie was admitted to a psychiatric unit after trying to end his life. is this all you've got in life? yes, just a bit of loose change. after six months, he was released yesterday without accommodation. where did you sleep last night? i was at some old guy's house, didn't have no gas or electric, he was smoking gear, so i ended up going from there
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and walking around town all night. he's come out of a psychiatric unit... to the street. the street. 2a hours after being released, robbie is close to crisis. confusion, upset, suicidal. it's like they've designed it to make me do it, cos they don't want me here no more. but i'm just trying to better myself, ijust want a better life, that's all i want. i'm sick of this. this is just the tip of the iceberg, theyjust feel left behind because they can't get any help. so what do they do? well, they turn to addiction, a lot of the time. and that means they're seeing more of this. no, he's gone over, hasn't he? can you remember how to do the naltrexone? give him another one. up to five? he's 0d�*ed, him. the most vulnerable are at risk of losing their life. he's overdosed, him. people don't like to see that, because it's outside our front door and everything. but that's the reality of every city and every town in this
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country, and i'm sorry if it offends people, but they're dying. weeks after being referred, john was unable to speak to the mental health team. it's non—existent, my future. i don't really want to live no more. to live no more cos my mental health's that bad. joanne is being supported by church on the street. robbie was placed by burnley council in a b&b. within 72 hours, he was readmitted to a psychiatric unit. lives struggling for mental healthcare. it's non—existent, in my mind, in this country now. because of the way everybody�*s been treated and this coronavirus and all the excuses. because that's all they are, aren't they? they're just using excuses. the government says it's committed to reducing deprivation and has spent more than £100 billion on welfare
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support during covid. the last 12 months has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. one from realjoy and pride in what we're doing as a church in serving the community, but it's also difficult for me to manage that mentally. you listen to people's drowning moments. it's a revolving door, week on week, different people, different stories, different lives. but all individuals who are precious. no need to push, there's plenty! at times it's been relentless, a year of pain and suffering. but there's also been transformation and hope.
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if it weren't for this, i could — i would be dead. to be able to serve people who are dying has become the biggest privilege of my life. and it's made me a better person, a stronger person, a softer, more gentle person. i feel the best that i've felt in my life. i feel free. hello.
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mild air has been pushing its way northwards across the uk through sunday. it's following on behind a weather front — this band of cloud you see here on the satellite picture. that is tied in with an area of low pressure that will get very close to the north—west of the uk overnight tonight. so a very mild evening, increasingly breezy, very windy overnight for the western and norrthern isles of scotland — stormy conditions with widespread gales here. further showers for western scotland, clearer skies to the south of that. then underneath the weather front, a lot of cloud, obviously, and some rain for wales and the south—west, but very mild, temperatures in double figures here. 0vernight lows further north — seven, eight degrees. a frost—free start to the new week. through monday, quite cloudy across southern england and wales. some rain through the day possible for wales, the midlands, perhaps lincolnshire. the best of any sunshine for scotland, northern ireland and northern england. a little cooler here than it will be on sunday. temperatures return to average values. still looking pretty mild further south.
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this is bbc news. i'mjane hill — the headlines at five: the uk covid alert level has been increased to level 4, because of the rapid increase in 0micron cases, meaning coronavirus is spreading fast. the prime minister will make a televised address to the nation later this evening days before an expected backbench rebellion, the prime minister faces fresh questions about christmas gatherings at downing street a year ago — after a photo emerges of him taking part in a quiz. emergency teams search for survivors in 6 us states, after more than 90 people die in the largest outbreaks of tornadoes in us history. in sport — a new champion in formula 1 — max verstappen


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