A woman says her life has been ruined after four members of her family died from COVID following a Christmas Day meet-up.
Tracy Latham has been left devastated after her partner, his parents and his uncle all passed away after catching the disease.
The family, who had been shielding since March, met up on Christmas Day after the government relaxed COVID rules and allowed households to meet for one day.
Government plans to loosen lockdown restrictions over Christmas were widely criticised ahead of the festive season.
The original proposals were eventually scaled back to three households on one day only amid warnings that families meeting over Christmas would lead to higher case numbers and deaths in the new year.
People living in Tier 4 – which covered much of London and the South East – were not permitted to mix with other households at all.
Latham, from Mackworth, Derby, described the loss of her partner, 48-year-old Darren Fisher, as “horrendous”.
The pair had been due to get married in July this year after spending 12 years together, during which time Fisher helped raise three of Latham’s children from a previous relationship.
Latham, 50, claims her partner caught COVID when he went to his parents' house in Allenton for just two hours.
She says that time together was enough for him and several family members to contract the disease, something she thinks would not have happened if the government had stopped people meeting on Christmas Day.
Watch: UK COVID deaths surpass 100,000
Over the course of the following week, Fisher, his parents Pat and David Fisher, aged 79 and 82, and his uncle, Michael Wilson, who was in his early 70s, all tested positive for the disease.
All of them have now passed away and another of Darren Fisher’s uncles, Geoffrey, who also caught the disease, is recovering after becoming seriously ill.
Latham, who is unable to work because of a long-term health condition, says the only other member of the family who had an underlying health condition was Fisher’s mother, who had diabetes.
Opening up about her losses, Latham said: "We don't really know who passed it on.
"Nobody was ill – Mick had a bit of a tickle, but that was all…
“They spent the day together – Pat and David, and Michael and his partner Gladis.
"Darren popped in to them for a couple of hours to say hi, as they hadn't seen each other for ages. It was a quick flying visit at around 9pm."
Things began to go wrong when Pat Fisher, who fell and hurt her leg on Boxing Day, was admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital on 27 December.
Latham said: ”She began to feel tired and rundown. A few days later, she tested positive for coronavirus as her condition got worse."
Her positive test result came through just days after arriving at hospital, ruling out the possibility of her catching it on the ward.
Things then got worse when Fisher began to display symptoms of the disease and he “began to struggle to breathe”.
He was later placed on a ventilator for nine days but he died on 11 January – without knowing that his mother and father had already died days earlier.
His uncle died several days later.
David Fisher, who was in a care home being treated for dementia, tested positive for COVID after he died and Latham believes he is the person who passed it onto Geoffrey Fisher, who went round to help him while Pat Fisher was in hospital.
Latham says the government is to blame for the deaths after allowing people to visit other homes at Christmas.
She said: ”The government hasn't done enough – the lockdown was too little too late.”
The terrible and tragic outcome of Christmas for one Derbyshire family. No. 10 had its way and, against public health advice, allowed family gatherings. The results, unfortunately, were inevitable. Totally avoidable... pic.twitter.com/8KuQ9lO5pR
— Dr Gabriel Scally (@GabrielScally) January 28, 2021
The sentiment was shared by Dr Gabriel Scally, a member of the Independent Sage, who criticised the government for allowing Christmas relaxations to go ahead.
Alongside images of the story, he tweeted: “The terrible and tragic outcome of Christmas for one Derbyshire family.
“No 10 had its way and, against public health advice, allowed family gatherings. The results, unfortunately, were inevitable. Totally avoidable...”
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