Forget Annabel’s – the place to be for the skilled “partygoer” is Downing Street, especially during a pandemic. However it’s invitation-only for the “in crowd” of presidency advisers, civil servants and elected politicians ready to convey their very own booze.

With each revelation, the nation recollects what it was doing on these nights that had been stuffed with dancing for the Downing Road set. As folks remoted, courageously risked their lives caring for the sick, or died from Covid-19, the revellers remained of their different universe the place the wine flowed and the music performed on.

In Might 2020, as Boris Johnson and his spouse attended a “work event” the place folks had been invited to convey alcohol, I used to be utilizing alcohol of one other type. On my arms. They had been uncooked, blistered and painful, however not less than alcohol gel sterilises arms in between the fixed circulation of sufferers. Then there was my masks, which lower ridges so deep into my face they turned sores.

I recall the climate being good, as is talked about within the Downing Street emails. I used to be sweating from the warmth in full PPE in a contamination suite within the north Wales hospital the place I labored, so scorching I believed I used to be going to cross out.

By this time, some colleagues had already misplaced their lives. Homerton hospital consultant urologist Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, aged solely 53, died after pleading for PPE after which contracting Covid when it was not equipped appropriately. I spoke to his son, Intisar, then 18, when his grief was nonetheless uncooked. He couldn’t comprehend again then the injustice. What’s going to he make of it now?

We had no vaccines at that time. PPE guidelines modified on a weekly foundation relating to provide, not proof. It was akin to going into battle with no bulletproof vest.

In April 2020, Johnson turned unwell with Covid and required critical care. That very same month, I caught Covid from my brother, additionally a health care provider. He’s immunocompromised from a well being situation, however was despatched to take care of Covid sufferers with out correct PPE, regardless of his well being dangers. I spent a terrifying month caring for him.

As an ITU physician on the time, he proned himself – mendacity on his entrance when oxygen ranges dipped to attempt to oxygenate the bottom of his lungs. That have cemented in me the significance of sticking to the rising Covid recommendation.

But the prime minister went in the wrong way. Now we hear of a suitcase of alcohol smuggled into No 10 for a leaving occasion on the eve of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, the place the Queen would sit, mourning alone according to the Covid rules.

These revelations set the scene for a authorities of diminished duty for folks counting on it for security. The Downing Street Christmas party coincided with the day my father was admitted to hospital with Covid, unable to breathe. He died a couple of days after the Downing Road revellers opened their secret Santa presents. Dr Saleyha Ahsan is a practising emergency medication physician and director of the documentary Covid Critical: A Doctor’s Story


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