‘The virus is painfully real’: vaccine hesitant people are dying – and their loved ones want the world to listen squib

In the UK, the majority of those now in hospital with Covid-19 are unvaccinated. Many face their last days with enormous regret, and their relatives are telling their stories to try to convince others like them

Matt Wynter, a 42-year-old music agent from Leek, Staffordshire, was working out in his local gym in mid-August when he saw, to his great surprise, that his best friend, Marcus Birks, was on the television. He jumped off the elliptical trainer and listened carefully.

The first thing he noticed was that Birks, who was also from Leek and a performer with the dance group Cappella, looked terrible. He was gasping for breath and his face was pale. “Marcus would never usually have gone on TV without having done his hair and had a shave,” Wynter says.

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