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Council chief urges people in Sunderland to get jabbed and keep wearing masks as Covid-19 rates rise

A city leader has urged Wearsiders to be wary of rising Covid-19 rates and act responsibly – including continuing wearing masks – after reflecting on his experience with the virus.

By Nic Marko
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 3:56 pm

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Sunderland City Council leader Councillor Graeme Miller said he “never wants to have that feeling of being so ill again” after testing positive for coronavirus in February.

It came as he warned the latest Sunderland City Council meeting of how Covid-19 rates are rising in the region once again, and could be set to increase further based on national data.

Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting, he stressed the importance of everyone getting all vaccinations they are eligible for, adding his time suffering with Covid-19 made him especially thankful he received all his jabs.

Sunderland City Council leader Cllr Graeme Miller.

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Cllr Miller said: “There is no doubt it protected me from being far more poorly than I was.

“From the onset of my symptoms through to testing negative, I never want to have that feeling of being so ill again.

“It wasn’t a lot of fun suffering with the physical effects of Covid that I had, but I really counted my blessings that I was highly likely to be okay after a few days, thanks to the vaccine.”

It came as Wednesday also marked the second anniversary of Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructing everyone to stay at home to protect the NHS during the pandemic.

Mask wearers in Sunderland city centre.

Cllr Miller warned the number of patients in hospitals in the North East has been beginning to rise again and they must be aware of the “real danger” Covid-19 poses if “efforts fall by the wayside”.

He added: “There are far fewer people in hospital with Covid-19 at the moment than in January, but we must all have our wits about us in the wake of these recent developments and cases being on the rise.

“If Covid continues to rise it puts all of us at jeopardy again.

“Let’s keep up the good work and not give an inch to Covid-19, because as we all know, it will then take a mile.”

He also praised NHS and care sectors for working “tirelessly to a superhuman degree” for two years during the pandemic, along with the “incredible efforts” of staff ensuring frontline services continued.

The Labour councillor added it is key everyone continues to act responsibly, and takes precautions such as wearing masks, to ensure the city can continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic, adding there is a “real buzz” around plans for the future.

He added: “I don’t think there is any city that could demonstrate a stronger recovery from Covid-19 and a bigger determination to create a bright and successful future for everyone in a dynamic, healthy, vibrant and smart city.”

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