Johnson is under attack when Britain faces another COVID-19 onslaught

London (AP) — The crisis facing Britain this winter is well known to be depressing. It is a curfew and an empty street. The hospital is overflowing. Daily victims of death from hundreds of coronaviruses.

Britain is once again the epicenter of Europe’s COVID-19 epidemic, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s conservative government faces doubts and anger as people demand to know how the country got here. doing.

Many countries have endured a new wave of viruses, but the UK is one of the worst and will occur after the dreaded 2020. In the UK, more than 3 million people are coronavirus positive and 81,000 have died. 30,000 people have died in the last 30 years. days. The economy has shrunk by 8%, more than 800,000 jobs have been lost, and hundreds of thousands of temporarily dismissed workers are at stake.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the situation in the capital was “critical” despite the new blockade, with one in thirty people infected. “The reality is that patients will run out of beds in the coming weeks, unless the spread of the virus slows significantly,” he said.

Medical staff are also reaching their limits.

“In the past, everyone was in a mode where they had to get over this, but (now) everyone said,” I’m going again. Can I get over this? ” Lindsey Isard of the room said. A nurse at St. George’s Hospital in London. “It’s really, really difficult for our staff.”

Much of the responsibility for the UK’s poor performance was at the doorstep of Johnson, who was infected with the virus in the spring and was placed in the intensive care unit. Critics say his government’s slow reaction when a new respiratory virus emerged from China was the first of a series of fatal mistakes.

Anthony Costello, a professor of global health at University College London, said in March that he would “complain” about whether to block the UK.

Britain locked down on March 23, and Costello said, “There will be 30,000 to 40,000 deaths … more like Germany.” If the decision was made a week or two earlier.

“And the problem is that they are repeating these delays,” said Costello, a member of Independent SAGE, a group of scientists established on behalf of the government’s official Emergency Science Advisory Group. I did.

Most countries struggled during the pandemic, but Britain had some disadvantages from the beginning. The public health system was worn out after years of spending cuts by austerity-oriented conservative governments. The ability to test new viruses was negligible. Authorities planned a fictitious pandemic, but assumed it was not fatal and not a contagious flu-like illness.

The government sought advice from scientists, but critics say the pool of advisers is too small. And their recommendations were not always noted by the prime minister, who hesitated that laissez-faire instinct restricted him in economics and daily life.

Johnson defended his record, saying it’s easy to find mistakes in retrospect.

“Retro spectrometers are great instruments,” Johnson said in an interview with the BBC last week.

“Scientific advisers have said different things at different times,” he added. “They are never unanimous.”

Future public investigations are likely to delve into the failure of the UK’s coronavirus response, but investigations have already begun.

In a report released Friday, Parliament’s Science and Technology Commission said the government was not transparent enough about the scientific advice it received and could not learn from other countries, saying, “Pandemic makes policy development and adaptation faster. It’s too late to respond when you request it to be done. ” Time scale. “

The government correctly points out that significant progress has been made since last spring. The early problems of providing protective equipment to healthcare professionals were largely resolved. The UK currently conducts about 500,000 coronavirus tests daily. A national test and trace system has been set up to find and quarantine infected people, but they are struggling to meet demand and cannot enforce self-quarantine requests.

Treatments containing the steroid dexamethasone, which were found to be effective during a UK trial, improved survival among the most serious illnesses. And now there are vaccines, three of which are approved for use in the United Kingdom. By mid-February, the government vowed to give almost 15 million people, including everyone over the age of 70, the first of two shots.

But critics say the government is adapting too slowly to changing situations and continues to make that mistake.

As infection rates fell in the summer, the government encouraged people to return to restaurants and workplaces to revive the economy. When the virus began to surge again in September, Johnson rejected advice from his scientific adviser to blockade the country and finally announced a second national blockade over a month on October 31st. did.

Hope that the move was sufficient to suppress the spread of the virus was shattered in December when scientists warned that the new variant was up to 70% more contagious than the original strain.

Johnson tightened regulations in London and the southeast, but the government’s scientific advisory board warned on December 22 that it wasn’t enough. Johnson did not announce England’s third national blockade until January 4, almost two weeks later.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own public health policies with similar restrictions.

“Why does this prime minister have all the power to make a difference, have all the scientific expertise at his disposal, and always have the last grasp of what needs to happen?” Health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said. “The Prime Minister did not lack data, he lacks judgment.”

Costello said Johnson should not take all responsibility. With a sense of “exceptalism,” he thought that many British officials saw the Chinese Wuhan scene in early 2020 and “it’s all happening in Asia and won’t come here.” Said that.

“We found that we wanted it,” he said. “And I think it’s a wake-up call.”

John Bell, a professor of Regius medicine at Oxford University, said people should be more tolerant of official failures.

“It’s very easy to criticize how we went, but it’s important to remember that no one has actually managed such a pandemic so far,” he said. Told to. “We are all trying to make decisions on the fly. Some of those decisions are inevitably wrong.”

“Everyone should do their best, and I think people, including politicians, as a whole, so don’t hit them too badly.”


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Johnson is under attack when Britain faces another COVID-19 onslaught

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