SHARE

PUBLIC Health chiefs across Cheshire and Merseyside have launched a major new campaign to ensure that everyone, particularly younger people, knows the facts about what we can all do to help beat COVID-19.

The first of its kind to talk to young people, the ‘Spread the Facts’ initiative is a collaboration between the NHS and local councils in Cheshire and Merseyside.

NHS workers, including young doctors, nurses and support workers, share their experiences of working throughout the pandemic.

The campaign targets those in Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral, Halton, Warrington and Cheshire.

Bright imagery attracts attention and the adverts feature real life health care heroes who impart a nugget of fact and clearly recommend a simple behaviour that will cut the spread of the virus and stop the spread of misinformation among young people.

The four medics each appear in their own videos urging their peers to be armed with the facts and take simple steps in everyday life that will suppress the virus.

The campaign aims to make the facts clear on how Covid-19 spreads and what everyone can do to stop the spread. Using short headlines followed up by a fact and an act to prevent the spread, the campaign gives clarity and simple guidance anyone can do to make a difference.

THE KEY MESSAGES

  1. Spread the facts not the virus. Even if you’re young and fit, it can be really hard to recover from Covid-19. Stop the spread of misinformation. Stop Covid. Your health is in your hands. Kill the virus by washing your hands regularly in warm soapy water for over 20 seconds.
  2. If you’re close, keep your distance. The virus can spread easily among your friends and family. At 2 metres apart, you have less chance of catching Covid. Keep your distance to protect the people you care about.
  3. 6 feet apart is better than 6 feet under. Over 50,000 people have died from Covid in the UK including 625 workers in health and social care. To keep each other safe, we all need to keep our distance. Even young, fit people can take ages to recover from Covid.
  4. You can feel fine and still have Covid. Two in three people with the virus don’t show symptoms but can give it to others. Keeping your distance cuts the spread of the virus. Wearing a mask lowers your risk of infecting others.
  5. It won’t kill you to wear a mask. Cut your risk of spreading the virus and you could save a life. Wearing a mask means less chance of infecting others. So, it’s much safer for everyone if we all wear a mask.
  6. You can’t see it, but it gets you down. Even though it’s hard right now, together we can beat this invisible enemy. When we follow the guidance, we protect each other. That’s how we can all look forward with hope.
  7. On the surface, it doesn’t look that risky. But it lives on surfaces you touch. Then you transfer the virus to your mouth, nose and eyes. It’s invisible. But you can kill it by washing your hands regularly with warm soapy water for over 20 seconds.
  8. If you test positive, self-isolate. The virus is very infectious. Self-isolation saves you from spreading Covid-19. Got symptoms? Stay home. Contacted by Test & Trace? Stay home too – even if you recently tested negative.
  9. Keep your distance. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Easy.
  10. Stop the spread of misinformation. Stop Covid.

Matt Ashton, Director of Public Health for Liverpool and lead Director for communications and marketing in Cheshire & Merseyside, said:  “We know that everyone wants to beat COVID-19 and young people are no exception to this. If everyone knows the facts and does their best to help beat the virus, together we can keep everyone safe and keep the rate of infection down.

“The launch of our ‘Spread the Facts’ campaign supports our younger people to play their part. We have worked with young people to make sure this campaign talks in a way that is relevant to them. It will be seen on channels that matter to young people. And it will remind us all that we need to keep going. Keeping your distance, wearing a mask, washing hands – we all need to limit who we are in contact with and look out for each other.

“I’d like to thank the young medical professionals who feature in the campaign for sharing their experiences of working throughout this pandemic. Like every NHS worker, they see the brutal impact of the virus every day. Yet still they work tirelessly to deliver the best care possible in such difficult circumstances.

“Thankfully, we are now seeing a reduction in infections in some parts of Cheshire and Merseyside over the past week. That is testament to the huge effort that everyone has made in recent weeks. Everyone has made great sacrifices. The real changes in our lifestyles shows that we now have the tools to keep this virus under control. To make sure we keep everyone safe, we just need the determination to keep going. This campaign will remind everyone to do the right things.”

Dr Oliver Dray, 26, Doctor, Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Please believe in this campaign. We’re all very fed up of Coronavirus but there are still short term sacrifices we all need to still make to come through this pandemic. My colleagues and I have a difficult winter ahead, and we’d greatly appreciate your support.

“My experience was initially on the front line, working in a busy accident and emergency department during the first wave of the pandemic. Now my role focuses on acute internal medicine and managing patients with COVID-19, as they embark on their journey through supportive care. However, the hardest part has been the lack of cure and the speed of transmission.

“Despite younger people being at a slightly lower risk, there is still a risk, and they are still vulnerable to this horrible infection. My fit and well 27 year old friend was very severely infected by COVID-19 during the first wave, he required intensive care admission. And although is on the mend he is still suffering the adverse effects of the infection.

“It doesn’t discriminate, and it can affect multiple different people, completely fit in well to those that are the most vulnerable.

“This campaign is about combating the virus and reducing the spread to others. Whilst the vaccine and positive outcome might be in sight, there’s still a good few months of winter to get through. From me, and my colleagues, please, let’s everyone keep your distance, wear a mask, wash your hands – be part of the solution.”

Anna Webster, 24, Nurse, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said:  “I was really keen to get involved in this campaign, I really want to help get the message out that we can all make a difference.

“It hurts me to see people not following social distancing rules. When they say ‘Oh, it ‘only’ affects the vulnerable, it won’t affect me that much’, I find it hard to hear because their ‘only’ is somebody’s everything.  We know the virus is spread really easily – its selfish to think like that. There are so many people in our population who are vulnerable, more at risk.  And they could die having been infected by someone with that attitude.

“As a nurse in a children’s hospital, quite a lot of the children that come into us are afraid and that’s really sad because the hospital should be a safe place. They’re scared that they’re going to get this virus and their parents are scared too. It could affect a lot of our children with complex needs in ways you can’t imagine.

“My ask is simple, please, let’s all just keep on wearing masks, keeping a distance and washing our hands.”

Tania Singla, 28, Assistant Psychologist, Bridgewater Community Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust, said:  “I really welcome this campaign and was so pleased to play even a small part. Young people can also get this virus as well. It doesn’t mean that we’re immune just because we’re young. It isn’t something that just affects the elderly. People my age can still have underlying health conditions – things like asthma, bronchitis, COPD. Anyone can have all of these health conditions that puts us more at risk.

“For me, the nastiest thing about the virus is that some people can be asymptomatic. You could pass it on to someone who looks young and fit too, but has underlying, unseen health conditions. You could be responsible for them ending up hospital, that could lead to a ventilator and that could lead, sadly, to death.

“Let’s be honest, we do miss our holidays. We miss being with our families and our friends. We miss going out. We miss all the things that we took for granted before March, sometimes really small things.

“I want to see my mum get out of lockdown. I want to see the clients that I work with get out of lockdown, and I want us to try and go back to somewhat of a normal life again. The vaccine it is the best chance we’ve got but until it’s ready and available to everyone, we just need to keep playing it safe. And that means another few months of wearing masks, washing our hands, keeping a distance from each other.”

Dr Sohail Nakhuda, 25, Doctor, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said: “I understand why young people might think it’s a low risk disease, but the way that it affects other people apart from themselves isn’t low risk and it can make a lot of people really unwell.

“Even some young people don’t recover from it – I’ve got some friends who are my age who got over the infection you know after a week or two, but then after that, they’ve struggled with some things that they used to do easily.

“For example, a few friends were keen runners, and having had the illness, they’re struggling to run at the same distance and pace that they were doing pre-virus.

“Young people should be concerned about Covid for good reason. It can affect you, you’re not sure exactly how well you might cope with it but on top of that, you can never know how your friends, your family, older people and wider community that you might come into contact with might respond.

“You’ve no idea how well they’re going to deal with it and how it might affect them, so it’s a concern for everyone, not just older people. The sooner washing our hands, wearing a mask, keeping apart from each other becomes second nature, the sooner we will all get back to a much more normal life.”

  • The Health Protection Board are promoting the use of Liverpool Covid test centres for people working in the front line, including NHS workers, support staff, delivery drivers, unpaid carers and anyone who cannot work from home and is coming into contact with others.