Covid-19 Pandemic 2020

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It was the intention for the History website to become 'Read only' in July 2020 when I retired and coinciding with the end of its hosting contract. However, the realisation that the Covid-19 pandemic would have as much impact on the community as, say, our records of the two world wars show, caused us to realise that we should record it as it happened. Thanks to Granary Publications who offered a very substantial reduction on hosting costs and the Parish Council who agreed to grant this cost the website will now remain open and be updated regularly for at least a further year.

If you have any new Covid-related information and pictures please send them to Mary Robinson, and any personal stories to myself, Rob Forsyth

Rob Forsyth (Editor: History)

The Covid-19 virus in Deddington, 2020

It was early in February 2020 that we became aware of a nasty ‘flu-type virus tearing through Wuhan in China. But even into March it was as if there were two parallel universes, one out there and one here where life continued as normal. But then Covid-19, a vicious potentially fatal virus that attacks respiratory systems, arrived here and within a month life changed fundamentally.

The government mantra was STAY HOME, PROTECT THE NHS, SAVE LIVES: stay at home to save overburdening the NHS caring for critically ill patients, and so save lives. At the time of starting this archive (end of April 2020) we already had 20,000 deaths in the UK, mostly in hospitals and care homes, a figure forecast to rise to 40,000. On 24 March the country went into lockdown and online – and Dedddington with it.

So what was life like? The first extraordinary thing was that an Emergency Covid-19 team swung rapidly into action, spearheaded by Bea Maloney with David Rogers, Parish Council Chairman, and Revd Annie Goldthorp, the vicar (see the Newsletters for more details). These volunteers were from the younger generation who stepped up to look after our parish – we were in good hands, and the parish was immensely grateful. The scheme was widely acclaimed and copied by other villages.

The over-70s were asked to self-isolate until the end of June. There were, of course, residents who had no access to computer, tablet or smartphone, and extra measures were put in place to make sure they were not alone.

In the middle of May the government announced the first steps in releasing the lockdown and the mantra become STAY ALERT, STOP THE VIRUS, SAVE LIVES  – which many people found confusing. We were entreated to ’use common sense’ – and that meant different things to different people. Some people were beginning to think Covid-19 was all over as evidenced by the crowds who flocked to beaches and beauty spots in the glorious May weather. The situation was further muddied by conflicting advice and its interpretation …

The government had spent billions on providing financial support for businesses in lockdown. So the country had to be encouraged back to work, but only if they could do so safely. Steps were taken to open primary schools for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 – but staff and parents were nervous. Although there was a much lower incidence of illness in children, they could be asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

At the end of May further lifting of restrictions was announced: non-essential shops could open – provided always that social distancing measures were in place. In small village shops that meant there could be very few people in a shop at any one time. 

Mary Robinson (Editor: Community)

How Deddington managed in the time of Covid-19: