'It's not just a number - it's one of our relatives' - Grandmother who learned of brother's covid death after waking from coma speaks out as deaths reach 100,000

Sunderland coronavirus survivor Marion Jolliff has said that more needs to be done to tackle the spread of the virus which claimed her brother’s life as the national death toll reaches 100,000.

Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 5:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 5:33 pm

Marion Jolliff, 63, from Pennywell, became the first person in Sunderland to be diagnosed with Covid-19 after she was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital in March 2020.

The great-grandmother was in a coma for more than a fortnight and spent weeks in hospital undergoing intensive treatment.

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Marion Joliff has paid tribute to her brother Joe who died of coronavirus in April as the number of UK recorded deaths tops 100,000

Sadly it was only after she came home that Marion learned her brother, Joe Jenkins, 65, of the Ford Estate, had died on April 1, 2020 following his own battle with Covid-19.

The Government confirmed on Tuesday, January 26 that the national Coronavirus death toll has reached the grim milestone of 100,000.

Now, as Marion continues to come to terms with her brother’s death, she has urged people to follow the rules.

“It’s not just a number – it's one of our relatives and we are grieving for them,” she said.

Much-loved Sunderland dad Joe Jenkins lost his battle with Covid-19 in April 2020.

"People keep saying all these numbers, but those numbers are also somebody’s mam, dad, grandma, brother, sister, child. It’s not just a number.”

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Marion, who is still suffering from long Covid, with symptoms of fatigue and breathlessness, continued: “A lot of people are not taking it seriously enough.

"I just wish they would listen to the rules.”

Sunderland dad Joe Jenkins was just 65 when he lost his battle with Covid-19 in April 2020.

“I think the Government should have done more,” she said.

“They should have put the lockdown in sooner and they should have stopped commercial flights coming in.

"I think they need to bring curfews. They are going to have to do something.”

Marion Jolliff became the first person in Sunderland to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

Marion’s brother, Joe, developed a cough while he was in Spain celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary with wife, Eva.

On returning home, the dad-of-seven was rushed to Sunderland Royal Hospital on Saturday, March 28, where he tested positive for coronavirus.

Joe, who had 16 grandchildren, was well-known in Sunderland through his work delivering medication for Rowlands Pharmacy.

Paying tribute to her brother, Marion said he always made people laugh.

Marion said: “You were never miserable when you were with Joe. He would always make you laugh as he was just a joker.

"Everybody loved him – he was such a character.”

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