Johnson refused to even express regret for tens of thousands of deaths he could have avoided. Is he now prepared to sacrifice more before he acts?
The rocketing numbers of coronavirus deaths and admissions have reached levels seen in mid-March – just before the UK’s lockdown. Deaths have doubled compared to a week earlier – following the exponential path of the number of infections.
Hospital admissions for COVID-19 are following a similar trajectory:
A breakdown of the number of new cases by age group since the beginning of the pandemic shows acceleration across the board – and a frightening increase among children since schools re-opened, with one in five new infections now hitting under-19s and at a rate far above the average for the duration of the pandemic so far:
The situation is exacerbated further by the fact that the Tories have no intention so far of renewing a meaningful lockdown – and by the arrival of cold weather and the flu season that comes with it, both of which will reduce the number of available beds for treating coronavirus and other conditions.
While those who want to deny the seriousness of the situation might try to explain away the soaring numbers of positive coronavirus tests by linking them to increased testing (itself largely a fallacy), the death and admissions data show for certain that the UK is in a situation extremely close to the position just before Johnson finally declared a lockdown.
Yet Johnson’s feeble new measures this week leave schools fully open and millions still in dangerous workplaces.
Scientists have calculated that by delaying lockdown by just a week, Johnson condemned at least 25,000 people to deaths that could have been avoided. Johnson refused even to express regret, let alone apologise.
Johnson now has a week to close schools – a major driver of the infection rate and a danger to vulnerable family members as well as to children – before the situation spirals completely out of control and many more thousands die needlessly.
Is he prepared to sacrifice those lives rather than admit his rush to re-open schools was wrong and has driven the new wave of the pandemic? Testing is already being withheld from children to mask the extent of the crisis, so the signs are not hopeful.
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