BRADFORD residents who have lost loved ones to Covid 19 are heading up a campaign to debunk myths surrounding the pandemic.
The “behind the mask” campaign was yesterday rolled out on social media, bus stops, billboards and buses, and is intended to remind people if the impact of the virus on the District’s families.
It is particularly targeted at numerous people in the district who believe the virus is a conspiracy, and dismiss its seriousness because it has not effected them personally.
As well as images of people who have lost loved ones, the posters highlight their story.
One tells of how one resident, Iqrah, lost an aunt to the virus, and features an image of her wearing a mask that says: “You think it’s a conspiracy theory? Tell that to my family.”
Stacey is another person featured in the campaign. In her poster she speaks about how she caught Coronavirus, then pneumonia, and was so ill she thought she would die.
Another features a young man called Sufyan, who says his family “listened to the wrong people and advice” – which ultimately led to his aunt dying and both his parents falling seriously ill.
They are currently recovering from their infection.
The campaign is a partnership between Community Action Bradford and District and Bradford Council and was set up to “dispel certain misconceptions and conspiracies.”
The campaign shows the harsh realities of how Coronavirus has changed lives by detailing how Bradford resident’s have suffered from grief; loneliness; debilitating recovery; families torn apart; pain and suffering.
The other aspect of the campaign is to remind people that life can get back to normal sooner rather than later if they follow guidance like hand washing regularly, wearing a face covering in public places if they are able to and keeping two metres apart where possible.
Twelve different people, from different age groups, genders and ethnicities, will be featured in the campaign.
Soo Nevison, Chief Executive Officer of Community Action Bradford said: “There are still people who believe Coronavirus isn’t real and don’t want to believe the severity of the illness.
“The case studies prove otherwise and at a time when we have spikes in infection rates, now more than ever, we need to protect ourselves and those around us.
“Simply put, if we do nothing, we’ll be hearing, seeing, reading more life stories like the ones in our campaign. No one wants that. We urge everyone to take responsibility to protect each other – ‘hands, face, space’ – three small actions that could make a huge difference.”
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Executive Member for Healthy People and Places said: “We all know that we are going to have to live with this virus for many months to come. We all need to take responsibility for each other’s safety and we need to show determination and resilience, working together over the winter to keep the virus at bay.
“I welcome this campaign which shows the real stories and experiences of Bradford residents and highlights why we should all follow the guidelines.
“I urge everyone in our district to follow the COVID code: regular hand-washing, wearing a face covering indoors, keeping two metres apart from each other and not shaking hands or hugging are all fundamental to preventing the spread of the virus, protecting our loved ones.”