According to official figures, the UK became the first country in Europe to record (very unfortunately) 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths. Currently, the UK has the fifth-highest number of deaths globally, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico (as a percentage of Covid deaths to population, the UK percentage is higher than that of the US).
To put this into perspective, the 100,000 deaths registered are higher than the civilian death toll during all of World War II.
“I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost and, of course, as Prime Minister, I take full responsibility for everything that the government has done,” said Boris Johnson.
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, stated that we were struggling to contain the pandemic because the government “has steadfastly refused to follow the science, despite claims that it is doing so”. He went on to say, “At every stage, the government has delayed and delayed and delayed locking down, with the result that the virus has got out of control”.
After being warned, again and again, not to relax the restriction at Christmas, we re-entered a national lockdown on January 5th – another delayed action.
The roll-out of the vaccines is very welcomed. However, the government wants to extend the length of time between the first dose to the second to 12 weeks.
Pfizer says it has not tested the efficacy of its jab after such a long gap. World Health Organisation recommend six weeks gap between administrating the vaccines. Moreover, The British Medical Association has urged Chris Whitty, UK’s chief medical officer, to “urgently review the UK’s current position of second doses after 12 weeks”.
Chris Whitty himself said: “Unfortunately we’re going to see quite a lot more deaths over the next few weeks before the effects of the vaccines begin to be felt”. This is before the government pushed for a possible 12 weeks gap.
We all know the consequences of this virus are massive, apart from the tragic loss of 100,000 people.
Businesses are being shut down; many children and students have their education disrupted as schools and colleges can’t be open to everyone. Now new research finds that almost nine million people in the UK, that’s about a fifth of the UK’s adult population, had to borrow more money by the end of 2020 to help them through the coronavirus crisis.
These findings show that the young and lowest paid who are the most vulnerable in our society have taken the hardest economic hit during the pandemic.
This is a tragic loss of life, and it’s not going to go away soon. It’s also heart-rending to hear about struggling businesses and vulnerable people taking on debt. This government needs to listen to their experts – with less emphasis on politics – to make better data-driven scientific decisions as it has cost many unnecessary lives.
(This is a letter that I wrote to my local Newspaper in Wokingham, that I thought would be good to share).
* Cllr. Tahir Maher is a member of the LDV editorial team