Professor Angus Dalgleish saw two of his colleagues take their own lives. One of them "killed himself as a result of deep despair over the loneliness and fear caused by Covid".
As a cancer specialist, I have worked with many young adults who died before their time for more than 30 years.
But nothing could have prepared me for the events of the past two weeks.
On Monday I attended a Zoom meeting with a colleague who told me that another participant, a well-respected research fellow, was not coming to see us.
Tragically, he had committed suicide. As a result, it turned out that he had hanged himself in his bed.
Lockdown and Covid restrictions had felt him isolated and broken by the loss of normal human interaction.
The news came as a terrible shock – but it's not the only suicide that has touched my life in the past fourteen days.
I was also shaken when another colleague, whom I have known since our youth, killed himself as a result of deep despair over the loneliness and fear caused by Covid.
As far as I know, he had no history of mental illness or treatment for depression, but it is clear that he was overwhelmed with hopelessness as the pandemic dragged on.
These two cases provide a graphical representation of the deadly effects of this disease, well beyond the physical damage caused by the virus itself.
Our society is in turmoil, our economy paralyzed.
And there are no signs of a return to normal anytime soon.
In fact, the opposite is true, as state institutions indulge in more and more scare tactics and oppression. In response to rising rates of infections and hospital admissions, the Scottish government has imposed draconian restrictions on the hotel industry, while the Tory cabinet in London is considering a massive increase in local lockdowns in northern England from Monday.
Such measures cannot contain the tide of contagion, but they will certainly lead to more business failures, mass unemployment, public hardship and broken lives.
I regard the official Covid strategy with growing alarm. As our nation stares into the abyss of unprecedented recession and social upheaval, the alleged cure actually turns out to be far worse than the disease.
I have become very aware that the widespread deterioration in mental health is caused not only by the incidence of suicides, but also by the worrying signs of anxiety in children of friends who cannot mingle in the usual way and a flurry of suicides exposed is exposed to warnings of the endless dangers to which they are exposed.
Similarly, in my daily work as an oncologist, I see the relentless focus on Covid distort health care priorities and undermine treatment.
Given that cities across the country are on-site lockdown, including Manchetester, Prof. Dalgleish fears that the alleged cure is actually far worse than the disease.
Important consultations are being delayed and operations are being postponed. The effects of the coronavirus mean that rationing has now been introduced on an epic scale.
It was only announced on Thursday that 110,000 patients had waited more than a year for treatment to start due to the loss of hospital capacity due to Covid – the highest amount since records began.
We are supposed to have a National Health Service, but increasingly it is a National Covid Service.
This is a disaster, especially in my cancer area, where early detection can make the difference between living and dying.
Thanks to remarkable advances in medicine and surgery, the survival rates of cancer patients who receive timely treatment have increased.
However, due to Covid, these gains could soon be lost as patients have to wait.
My oncologist Professor Karol Sikora rightly pointed out in this newspaper that more than 35,000 British cancer patients could die prematurely due to delays in screening and diagnosis. I know a patient with colon cancer – a disease that can be comfortably curable at an early stage – whose surgery has been continuously delayed due to the pressure of Covid. Unfortunately, the cancer has metastasized and is now in the terminal stages of the disease.
This nightmare is exacerbated by the current difficulty in securing appointments for general practitioners who can properly discuss and investigate symptoms. The 33-year-old nephew of one of my patients had a sore throat, severe weight loss and a lump in the neck.
However, after a telephone consultation with his family doctor, he was prescribed antibiotics. As the symptoms worsened, he was advised by phone to take stronger antibiotics.
He died soon afterwards – of lymphoma, a cancer of the cells of the immune system.
The truth is that the country's health is being hurt by the government's deeply flawed response to Covid.
Apocalyptic propaganda about the virus has scared millions into staying away from hospitals or general practitioners while too many general practitioners are using the pandemic to restrict personal consultations with patients.
Screening programs have been curtailed as vaccination rates for children fall and those for cardiovascular disease rise.
And the discomfort goes way beyond healthcare. Huge swaths of the economy are on the verge of collapse due to excessive regulations from Covid, from aviation to art to travel, from high street retail to pub and restaurant businesses.
Some commentators argue that health must come before trade, but that is a delusion.
The destruction of the economy will inevitably continue to ruin the health of the country, not only because the misery of poverty, unemployment and insecurity drives physical and psychological decline, but also because the NHS is dependent on tax revenues. Empty public coffers inevitably lead next to unmanned stations and understaffed clinics. What makes the government's persistent approach worse is that it doesn't even operate on its own terms.
The effects of Covid-19 have resulted in businesses closing as our economy has been crippled by the lockdown
Most of the recent lockdowns in the north of England did nothing to contain the second wave of infections. There were 20 cases per 100,000 people in Bury, a number that has grown to 266 since the new lockdown.
In nearby Bolton, the increase is even more remarkable, from 21 cases per 100,000 before the lockdown to 434 now.
The downright un-British loss of civil liberties, the imposition of curfews, the heavy no-trial fines and the encouragement to sneak up on neighbors do nothing but transform this country into a modern version of East Germany under Soviet control, including of institutionalized economic decline State bullying and widespread suspicion.
We now have the worst of all words: authoritarianism accompanied by amateurism. The sense of national collapse was compounded by the expanded catalog of spectacular government incompetence.
It epitomizes the scandal over the supply of PPE, which has been spent a staggering £ 15 billion, and the serial failure of the £ 12 billion testing and tracing regime led by disaster-prone colleague Dido Harding, who appears to owe her appointment more to political preference than to executive authority.
At the NHS, more money was wasted on increasing supplies of ventilators in the intensive care unit, which turned out to be almost as dangerous as the virus itself, and in the huge nightingale hospitals that went largely unused.
Indeed, reckless waste has shaped the government's entire Covid strategy, mocking the past decade of austerity and the Tories' claim to be the party of tax restraint.
Prof. Dalgleish said the covid restrictions resulted in "widespread mental health deterioration". Pictured, file photo
Last week, the National Audit Office stated that no less than £ 26 billion – more than twice the annual police budget – may have been fraudulently used in corporate assistance requests from Covid.
Future generations will pay for this folly in the years to come. Yet all of this damage – to health, freedom, economy, public finances, and social interdependence – has been done in the face of a strictly limited threat.
Despite the ministers' hysterical talk and blatant predictions from model makers like the infamous Professor Neil Ferguson, Imperial College epidemiologist and mass lockdown enthusiast, the coronavirus is not a deadly disease in our midst.
Yes, any death from disease is a cause of personal distress, but humanity is not immortal.
We all have to die of something at some point. The fact is that the vast majority of the public has no morbid risk at all from Covid.
It is the elderly and people with underlying health problems who are at risk.
More than 97 percent of Covid deaths in this country have occurred in those over 65 – the average age of death for Covid patients is 82.4 years – and mortality is drastic thanks to better understanding of the disease and improvements in drug management decreased.
Despite the recent surge in hospital admissions, the current death rate is just 5 percent of the spring peak. ,
Over 80 percent of those who become infected with the virus show no symptoms at all.
Nowadays, someone under 30 is more likely to be struck by lightning than to die from Covid, while someone aged 50 is more likely to die in a traffic accident.
During the first wave, media attention was drawn to the few rare deaths from coronavirus in young people, implying the virus was an indiscriminate killer. However, this was more of a scam as all of these young victims had different conditions.
In addition, several young people are killed by influenza each year, but we are not stalling the country as a result.
Our managers need to develop a feel for Covid, which has been missing so far.
Because of the lack of rapport with the real threat we face, we are paying a terrible price for further lockdowns from neglected health care, broken social relationships, mass withdrawal and rising national debt.
My concern about current politics led me to become one of the founding signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration.
Blackpool's streets remain empty as curfews hit the hotel industry. But was it all worth it or did the lockdown destroy social relationships, as Prof. Dalgleish writes?
Named after a city in Massachusetts, USA, this initiative by scientists and medical experts aims to provide an alternative, more humane approach that recognizes the collateral damage from the current restrictions.
At the heart of the Barrington case is the belief that while the elderly and vulnerable should be screened, the younger working population should return to some sort of normalcy in order to both build community immunity and revitalize the economy. To achieve this goal, the government should use medical innovation as a barrier to disease far more imaginatively, rather than resorting to the ineffective Cromwellian tactic of lockdown and lecturing.
This means, for example, encouraging the consumption of vitamin D, which has been shown to be beneficial for boosting immunity and reducing inflammation.
In fact, there would have been far fewer deaths from Covid in the UK if the Department of Health had focused on distributing vitamin D to the public rather than buying dangerous ventilators.
Soluble aspirins and alcoholic mouthwashes would also be far better weapons against Covid than more curfews and bans on households that mingle.
In defense of their negative, repressive approach, Ministers like to claim that they “follow science,” but it's only one particular perverse brand of science that captivates them: that of Neil Ferguson and his acolytes, whose trail The Record is clearly checked, as embodied in the 2001 fiasco with foot and mouth disease.
I have found that the institutional science institute is full of prejudice and hostility towards anything that deviates from the officially approved doctrine.
When I came up to them with new ideas, such as an active ingredient from the BCG vaccine, which was widely used against tuberculosis in this country, they were extremely dismissive and complained about a "lack of evidence" despite promising results in studies. who showed significant improvements in the immune system.
In any case, there is now a mountain of evidence that their strategy is not working.
We now live in a country where students are locked up like prisoners on campus, where companies are ruined by a state edict, grandparents are not allowed to hug their grandchildren, and train passengers are punished for not wearing masks – all in the Names of containment A virus that does not kill 99.9 percent of its victims.
Nevertheless, the virus continues to spread.
It is high time the government took an approach that puts the real public interest before the failure of dogma.
If you are concerned with the questions raised in this essay on depression and suicide, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit samaritans.org