A social worker from London has died after being infected with coronavirus. They are the first reported social worker in the United Kingdom to have lost their life during the current pandemic.
In a Tweet released yesterday by Peter John, the leader of Southwark Council, it was revealed that two council employees had lost their lives after contracting Coronavirus and developing Covid 19.
In his Tweet, John said:
“So sad to learn that we have now lost two @lb_southwark employees to #Covid19 – one of our dedicated street cleaning team and a social worker. My thoughts are with them and their loved ones at this awful time. This is an indiscriminate disease so please #StayHomeSaveLives!
The leader of the council expanded on this initial comment by later saying he was “devastated” after hearing the tragic news.
He said: “Sadly the large number of tragic deaths that are expected nationally from COVID-19 means that all of us will know someone who has been touched by tragedy and loss by the time this is over”
“In Southwark we were devastated this week to learn that two colleagues have lost their lives to COVID-19”
“We are in touch with their families and are supporting staff at this difficult time”
“This is a tragic reminder that none of us is safe from this virus, and we must all do everything we can to prevent its spread by staying at home and away from other people”
The council have not released the social worker’s name at this time or disclosed whether they were suspected to have contracted the virus in the line of duty.
The death of a social worker is a harrowing reminder of the risk faced by the profession as we continue to go about our duties to safeguard vulnerable people in the midst of a global pandemic.
Many social workers across the world have raised issues about the scarcity of personal protective equipment, the poor leadership shown by national associations and the lack of Government recognition for social workers at this time of crisis.
These are issues that will be thrown into the spotlight by the death of our fellow social worker and we need strong leadership more than ever to help us navigate these terribly uncertain times.
Social workers are deemed ‘essential’, we are unable to fully work from home and we continue to have to put ourselves and our own families at risk in order to protect others. We signed up to this job to help others, but not at the expense of putting our own lives at risk.
This tragic loss of a colleague shows just what kind of risks we are expected to face right now.