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Covid-19 Pandemic

Early in 2020 the WHO declared a pandemic for Covid-19.

The UK went into lockdown on 24 March 2020 (and started to ease at the end of May).

We were blessed with wonderful weather for the whole of that period. May was the sunniest calendar month on record, and spring was the sunniest spring, the Met Office has said. The UK enjoyed 266 hours of sunshine in May – surpassing the previous record of 265 hours in June 1957. And it was even more extraordinary following a drenching winter, with record rain in February.

The actions taken to limit the spread of the CORONAVIRUS and on our community were profound and here are some of more obvious for the record.

In the first Lock Down

  • Social distancing (>=2m)
  • No non-essential journeys
  • Max one form of exercise outside per day per person
  • Lots more working from home
  • The Chequers closed but switched to take-a-ways
  • Clap for the Carers on Thursday night plus other instruments, bells, clarinet, ukulele and pots and pans
  • Playground closed
  • Village Hall closed
  • Village college classes moved on line via ‘Zoom’
  • Parish Council offering help/point of contact
  • Individuals offering to do shopping, pharmacy runs etc
  • Road maintenance continued!
  • Some building works continued
  • Very low levels of traffic, MOT expiries extended
  • Amazingly low numbers of aircraft (mainly cargo and repatriation), with contrails a rare sight
  • Collective effort to make and donate laundry bags for NHS, Paramedics and other critical workers
  • Face masks made and sold for charity
  • Birthday parties ‘over the fence’
  • Millets and Frosts switched to ‘click and collect’
  • No group games on the playing field, no ping pong, no Aunt Sally
  • Play area closed
  • No May Day on the green
  • VE day 75th commemoration front garden parties
  • Online projects such as rainfall data digitisation via Zooniverse
  • Teddy Bears, other animals and rainbows in windows
  • The Chequers’ online sock hunt
  • St Peter’s Church closed
  • On-line church services
  • Light for hope on in the church
  • Easter garden in the church porch
  • Parish Council meetings via video conference
  • Posties, milkmen, Newspaper and couriers carried on delivering
  • Bin collection continued, recycling and waste disposal sites closed
  • No bonfires
  • Charney Manor closed
  • Lots of gardening done
  • Charney Army suspended
  • Home haircuts the norm
  • Ordering food internet delivery sometimes at 2.00am or at 5.30am!
  • Mammoth jigsaw puts dining table out of use
  • Sat pm without the anxiety of the football results.
  • Chequers outside walky- talky collection service with Jacqui shouting from the kitchen ‘love you’
  • Few cars but more speeding
  • No SpeedWatch
  • Dentist/ optician closed
  • Fingers crossed no need for plumber, electrician.
  • Fingers crossed no broadband computer or TV problems
  • Wearing plastic gloves to deliver Seven Voices 
  • Shortage of toilet rolls
  • Friendliness of cyclists, walkers etc
  • Daily government news broadcast 
  • Domestic heating oil at the lowest price for years
  • No table tennis.
  • No bar chat over a pint in the local on a Friday night
  • Pilates and yoga classes via Zoom
  • Record sales at Charney plant stall.

Infection rates and deaths fell over the summer months and rules and restrictions were relaxed.

Infections started to rise again in the autumn and new restrictions were put in place.

Vaccines were developed and approved in record time. The first, from Pfizer-BioNTech, was rolled out in the UK shortly followed by the Oxford University/Astra Zeneca Vaccine just before Xmas. This was amazing progress in less than a year.

A new, more highly infectious, strain had mutated and spread in the UK and a third national lockdown was initiated 4 Jan 2021, by which time just over 1M people had been given their first (of two) doses.

In England:
lockdown one (began on 23 March, 2020)
lockdown two (began on 5 November 2020)
lockdown three (began on 5 January 2021).

At Christmas:

  • No Carols on The Green, but there was a socially distanced touring group and trumpet for Carols on the Doorsteps
  • Restrictions on meeting at Christmas and few got together this year in order to protect the vulnerable and the NHS

In the autumn of 2021 a vaccination booster (third dose) campaign was started.

Another, even more infectious strain appeared towards the end of 2021 and infections soared again but this time the vaccination programme kept hospitalisations, mechanical ventilation and deaths to much lower rates. The Government changed to a policy of ‘Living with Covid’ and lifted most compulsory restrictions by the end of Feb 2022 (nearly two years after the start of the outbreak, restrictions  in clinical settings and care homes remained.

By the end of March 2022 the official death toll in the UK was, ‘Deaths within 28 days of positive test’ 165,378 people.

The cumulative number of people admitted to hospital was 788,838.