Analysis

Video: public health expert hammers Tories – they’ve ‘wasted a month’, people are being infected because of inaction

“I’m tearing my hair out” – government slammed by expert for slow action, complacency, time-wasting and negligence in allowing infected to wander at large

A leading public health expert has slammed Boris Johnson’s government for a litany of negligence, complacency and time-wasting that he says means people are being avoidably infected with the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus.

Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health from 2013-16 and currently part of the Bahraini government’s task force dealing with the virus, listed a series of Tory failings when he appeared on BBC Newsnight on Wednesday as he compared their lack of action with the decisive steps taken in Bahrain.

And he expressed his shock that the government has done nothing to prevent either major crowds gathering or to bar three thousand football fans arriving in Liverpool from virus hotspot Madrid, before delivering a damning verdict – people are being needlessly infected right now because of the Tories’ lack of action and their cuts to public health:

The Tories are out of their depth as their lack of concern for the majority of people in this country is exposed by the coronavirus crisis – and they lack the capacity and care even to take the most obvious and basic steps.

Public health experts like Professor Ashton are tearing their hair out, even as the media continue to do their best to cover for the Tories’ reckless incompetence.

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15 comments

  1. The Tories have shamelessly neglected public health and now, suddenly, they’re caught out. It’s Impossible for them to expand capacity let alone train personnel. Their trick is to let the system, the country, get submerged in a crisis where public services buckle and then vanish. Johnson has advocated just that, let it rip, “take it on the chin and take just the one hit’ he says. Hospitals will soon buckle and deaths will soar. His theory is that will be that, all over! Such will be the social trauma that they could emerge as Saviours if their very clever Propaganda units play it right. It will give them the opportunity to privatise the NHS and spend the huge saving from pension payments and health care as a result of the culling of the Over 70’s. I imagine they will spend it on themselves. It’s a strange end for the Baby Boomers: they ran out of luck in injury time. No attempt is made to stop the spread or obtain new breathing machines to supplement the meagre availability. China is offering heavily discounted machines because of brief but intense over production. But the British decline what amounts to a gift too proud (or already dead).

    1. “Just the one hit” might be stupidly optimistic – any immunity gained from such viruses doesn’t last long, or so some expert said, so the situation could arise of COVID19 moving around and around the globe with the seasons and people being reinfected time after time.
      Mutation is apparently expected too, with unknown consequences.
      A super-virus has been theorised for a long time but societies have put almost nothing in place but committees and watchdogs as far as I’m aware.

  2. There are opportunities offered by the virus crisis which are being ignored. Iran is now releasing 70,000 prisoners. We have many people in prison who shouldn’t be there – especially perhaps the miserable sods having to do Indeterminate Sentences (despite them being illegal). But there are many others. It’s a chance to rebalance our attitude to imprisonment that is increasingly expensive and socially disruptive especially as sentences have so rapidly increased but is also more than useless at deterrence.

  3. I don’t know how diagnostic body temperature is still thought to be but if it is of value even my cheap and readily available thermal camera is capable of identifying multiple hotspots in a scene and showing their temperatures digitally.
    No need to approach anyone not showing fever – groups walking past can be scanned from easily ten feet away and probably further. I just haven’t tried.
    There are far more capable cameras available but they cost a fortune.
    Tens of thousands of adequate units could be bought for the price of 1000 more capable ones.
    Governments tend to go for the most expensive but I think this would be an example of the best being the enemy of the good.
    Numbers are more important.

  4. Is anybody trying to figure out how the UK is going to handle all the travellers coming from Europe to wait out their 14 days before they can fly to the US? Because the country is going to become a massive quarantine zone and petri dish.

    That’s why the UK wasn’t included in the travel ban. They need to hold every traveler from Europe for 14 days somewhere -the UK is the obvious place, until the likely concentration of infected travellers makes the UK the worst case of all.

    What about the logistics? Are we going to have to set up camps?

    The UK is being played by the US.

  5. There is a lot of focus here on the ideology of the Tories as a driver.

    Although the background of public expenditure cuts is a major part of the picture, it’s now the incompetence factor that worries me most. Look at the dummies around the cabinet table : the spectacular feature is the sheer stupidity and self-serving incompetence.

    It really isn’t difficult to work out that events like Cheltenham and the Liverpool match should not go ahead, and should have been pre-empted. Obviously, there are difficult judgments to make – but these aren’t in that class.

  6. What an opportunity to continue the purpose of austerity by eliminating ‘baby boomer bed blockers’ & saving NHS billions of dollars. An entire generation, now overtly despised by BBC & Channel 4, can have their homes utilised by a younger generation, thus eliminating the housing crisis.
    Do you really believe the Tories are so incompetent that we must forgive them “for they know not what they do”? Inviting three thousand inhabitants of covid 19 ‘Hot Spot’ Madrid to a football match in Liverpool is a little more than stupid………I realise that I’ve just answered my own question, it’s the North & it’s Liverpool.

    1. It’s not a case of “forgiving” the Tories. It’s a case of recognizing incompetence as a major component in all this. You can overdo conspiracy theories.

  7. Ask every candidate to sign up to JVL demands
    RLB has to stand up and acknowledge how strongly we the members and supporters feel about the issues raised

    1. Yes, I really think she should. Although many of us have her down as the least worst candidate, and want to vote for her, this is important enough to effectively forfeit a vote and thereby condemn our fragile Labour Party to never-ending centralist dysfunction and inevitable electoral insignificance.

      She’s got two weeks to do the right thing. Plenty of members who want to vote for her have not yet done so.

  8. But even now there’s time to laugh :

    ” Grayling to be the new chair of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).”

    Now that is irony and satire on stilts

  9. It’s a real problem. Not just an infection that could kill thousands, poss millions, but the fact that we just can’t believe anything that the Govt tell us. Money, or rather profits, or maybe lack of profits, is their main concern. Kerching!!
    And of course, take a look at the financial markets, down ’bout 8% the last time I looked, and falling. This crash predicted by eminent economists for some time. Good job they have the virus to blame for the crisis of capitalism. Last time they blamed Gordon Brown.
    Y’know. Booms n slumps. The booms get weaker and the slumps get greater; a never ending cycle where each time the creatures at the top of the food chain get more powerful, at the expense of the 99%. But then maybe we shouldn’t complain, after all, nobody said capitalism was fair.
    I’d be interested in what the nicer, kinder gentler people have to say about an alternative. Just jokin’ folks; we all know they have no answers. But cmon, please, nicer gentler folks, give us an explanation on how we can persuade the people at the top to be nicer. Prob best tell it to the fairies cos the rest of us are sick of the buillshit.

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