How Is the nation reacting to the #ClapForTheNHS movement?

Floral display outside St Thomas’ hospital reading ‘I heart NHS’ taken by Liz O’Sullivan

On Thursday 27th March, the nation stood outside their doorways and clapped in solidarity for the NHS, after the hashtag #ClapForTheNHS swarmed twitter, becoming the number one trending topic in the country within minutes of its first post.

With the Covid-19 pandemic rapidly spreading across the country, nurses, doctors and key workers are feeling the love from the nation and are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve, becoming the new superstars and celebrities of our local communities.

Yet citizens across the nation are beginning to question the #ClapForTheNHS movement on twitter, expressing that peoples combined efforts to clap would be better spent in donations to the NHS.

I spoke with Professor Jemma Mellerio, a consultant dermatologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital about how she feels about the #ClapForTheNHS movement.

A few weeks after the first clap, on April 17th, thousands of citizens, police and tourists gathered on Westminster bridge to join the efforts in clapping for the NHS, directly going against the 2 metre social distancing rules set by the British government. Police chief Cressida Dick was amongst those clapping on the bridge and has received heavy criticism from both the public and the NHS for violating the police enforced social distancing rules.

Yet even with the national effort to support the NHS, our NHS staff are still pleading the government for suitable PPE (personal protective equipment) to protect them contracting the infectious virus.  Other nations such as China have taken their PPE concerns substantially more seriously than the UK, giving their health care staff full body PPE, that covers every part of their body, blocking every aspect of potential infection.

In times like these, the nation stands together (at a two-metre distance) with the same goal, to defeat the virus.  Solidarity and togetherness are often overlooked by Londoners, yet thanks to the tireless work of doctors, nurses and all NHS staff across the city, we are more together than ever.  Residential streets are full of neighbours clapping, banging pans and letting off fireworks from their doorstep in response to the #ClapForTheNHS. These are scenes we may never see again. The nation is finally united and together to defeat the same enemy, Covid-19.

NHS staff holding ‘London stands together’ poster. Taken by Liz O’Sullivan

Covid-19 is now everywhere you look, the news, social media feeds, posters and billboards, yet this is not the first time we have been faced with a deadly global pandemic.  There have been numerous pandemics through the past decade that have crippled nations across the globe such as the Spanish flu, SAARS, Ebola and AIDS. Yet we have managed to overcome each virus every time.  The following infographic shows some of the deadliest viruses of the past century.

Since the first clap, the movement has continued every week on Thursday’s at 8pm and will likely continue until the disease slows down in the months ahead.

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