The snow is beautiful and fun - but during Covid we must stick to the rules

Crowds visiting a snowy Hampstead Heath

Crowds visiting a snowy Hampstead Heath - Credit: Rose Elizabeth Dodd

Hundreds of north Londoners swarmed to Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath as heavy snow fell on Sunday (January 24).

It’s not often that Londoners enjoy the pleasures of a thick carpet of snow and, amidst the sorrows of today, it provided an uplifting blanket of optimism and positivity. Blinding white rooftops, untouched powder crunching underfoot, sledging – it’s enough to lure out a child-like tenor in any adult. 

And so it did, as great crowds of people of all ages congregated on London’s hilltops, with what looked like little regard for social distancing - and in spite of instructions to stay at home during the national lockdown.  

It is undeniably pleasing to see so many people enjoying the great outdoors – sledging, building snowpals - someone even had their skis out. But, to gather in groups with people from outside our households is to breach coronavirus restrictions. 

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has said that the spread of Covid-19 in the city is “out of hand”. Recently emerged variant strains of the virus are reportedly more contagious. The prime minister has said there are indications the strain originating in the south east of England is more deadly. It is essential that we abide by the lockdown rules. 

On January 22, 7,933 Londoners tested positive for Covid-19. Currently, 7,030 beds in London hospitals are occupied by Covid patients. 1,220 of these patients require medical ventilation. There were 4,694 new Covid-related admissions to London hospitals last week. In that same week, 1,260 Londoners tragically lost their lives to Covid-related deaths. 

Hospitals are desperately trying to stay afloat under the pressure that Covid-19 has enforced upon them. The NHS simply does not have the capacity to manage additional incidents that are inevitable in the snow. 

In this winter wonderland, and any others in the coming weeks, we must consider the NHS and the key workers who have given their time – and in some cases, their lives – to help the nation through the pandemic. 

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Due to the efforts of London citizens, the capital’s R number is falling but we are by no means in the clear. These times are like no other. This year, the snow should be enjoyed from the safety of indoors. Hold tight. Stay home. 

  • Rose Elizabeth Dodd is a journalist based in north London.
Rose Elizabeth Dodd

Rose Elizabeth Dodd - Credit: Rose Elizabeth Dodd