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Public health specialist urges people to heed Scottish Government advice and stay at home

By Scott Maclennan

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The changing face of the Covid-19 crisis in the UK has resulted in government guidance that has left some in doubt and others questioning what they can do under the current lockdown measures.

But Sharon Pfleger, consultant in pharmaceutical public health at NHS Highland – who continues myth-busting fake news about the infection – has now issued fresh advice on how to take the latest developments.

Sharon Pfelger of NHS Highland insists is better to be 'six feet apart than six feet under'.
Sharon Pfelger of NHS Highland insists is better to be 'six feet apart than six feet under'.

After hearing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reveal that the lockdown would continue, Mrs Pfleger said: “After weeks of not seeing family and friends, not going to work, home schooling, it’s getting tougher each day staying home but I knew it was the right decision.”

She says staying at home, and obeying the social distancing rules, is by far the better option because it is better to be “six feet apart than six feet under – that’s the stark choice”.

“Would you jump out of a plane with a parachute on, be floating towards earth, only to jettison it because you’d slowed the rate of descent? You need that parachute until you reach the ground in a similar way to we need the lockdown until we can be sure that the R-number [rate of the virus reproduction] is well under one.

“The better we stay home, the more loved ones’ lives we will save, the sooner we will defeat the virus and we can get back to normal.

“As Ms Sturgeon spoke I was tidying out some things from my daughter’s bedroom. One of those things was a glitter picture she had made some years ago. I smiled as I remembered what it meant for me when my kids got the glitter out.

“What did that mean to me? No matter how well I thought I’d cleared it up I’d be finding glitter everywhere for weeks to come – on me, on my face, on clothes, on towels, on carpets, in the car, everywhere.

Think about how many people you may pass, how many surfaces you touch, how many times you touch your face.

“At least you can see glitter sparkle. Coronavirus is the same – it spreads everywhere, one touch, one sneeze and it’s out, making its way everywhere.

“The difference is it’s invisible so you don’t know where it is or when you have been 'glittered'. This is why it is so important to stay home and save lives.

“Recent days have seen more cars on the road, more trips on public transport and more people meeting up in the warmer, sunny weather. The majority of people are still staying home and saving lives but some think, 'What does it matter if I go out? It’s only me and my mate meeting up.'

“Well, it does matter. Think about how many people you may pass, how many surfaces you touch, how many times you inadvertently touch your face. Now imagine those tiny pieces of glitter, you passing it on or being touched by them.

“People say there are precautions such as wearing face coverings in shops, but can you really say that someone hasn’t walked closer than six feet past you?

“Remember that if you wear a mask it protects others from your breathed-out droplets, it doesn’t protect you, and you can still catch the virus from others, even if they have face masks on.

“You may be following the rules, but do you want others to put you and your loved ones at risk? Six feet apart or six feet under, that’s the stark choice."

Mrs Pfelger added: “Let’s remember what Scotland looked like seven weeks ago with the virus spreading like wildfire and the numbers going into hospital and dying increasing every day.

“It’s a hard call to make, hard to stay home, but let’s make the right choice – stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

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