LONDON (Reuters) – As the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 death toll reaches 100,000, grieving relatives of the dead express anger at Prime Minister Boris Johnson for dealing with the worst public health crisis in a century did.
When the novel Coronavirus, which first emerged in China in 2019, went quietly to the United Kingdom in March, Johnson initially said he believed it could be sent packing in weeks.
But 97,939 people died later, the world’s fifth worst official death in the United Kingdom – more than its civilian toll in World War Two and twice killed in the 1940–41 blitz bombing campaign, although the total population was smaller then .
Grief and sorrow are behind the number.
Jamie Brown’s 65-year-old father died in late March, as he suspected that he had contracted COVID-19 while working on the train in London. At that time, the government was putting a lockout.
Told to be home by medics, he woke up days later with a tight chest, disorganized and nausea, and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. He died of cardiac arrest five minutes after arriving.
His son said that the virus had damaged his lungs to the point where his heart conceded defeat. He was a month away from retirement. “To me, it’s horrible and annoying to see everything you hope to take away. He will never come to my wedding; he will never meet any grandmother,” Brown told Reuters.
“So, you see that the death toll is increasing when the minister pats himself on the back and tells you what a good job he has done.” It changes very quickly from individual to collective grief. “
Some scientists and opposition politicians say that Johnson worked very slowly to stop the spread of the virus and then thwarted both the government’s strategy and the execution of its response.
Johnson has called for an investigation to deal with the crisis and ministers say that when they did not get everything right, they were making fast decisions and were among the best global vaccination programs.
The death toll of the United Kingdom – defined as those who died within 28 days of the positive test – reached 97,939 on 24 January. The toll has increased by an average of over 1,000 per day for the last 7 days.
Answer to ‘Just Uniformable’
In a series of investigations, Reuters reported how the British government made several errors: it was slow to spot the infections coming in, it was late with a lockdown and it left infected hospital patients in care homes Continued to give.
The government’s chief scientific advisor, Patrick Valence, said in March that 20,000 deaths would be a good result. Shortly thereafter, a worst-case scenario prepared by government scientific advisors put the potential death at 50,000.
Many are bereaved and want an immediate public inquiry to learn a lesson from the government’s response.
Ranjit Chandrapal died in early May in the same hospital where he used to take passengers by his bus.
His daughter, Lacey, said the 64-year-old was thin, healthy and had not missed a single day of working buses in the past 10 years.
She said she had not been issued a face mask – she had bought it herself – and the passengers were not asked to wear them.
“The government has been negligent in dealing with the crisis, it is unforgivable,” she said. “Those in power sent these people over the line insecurely.”
Chandrapal stopped work on April 24 after developing COVID-19 symptoms. He died in intensive care 10 days later, unable to say goodbye personally with his family.
In early March, one of England’s most senior doctors told the public that wearing a face mask could increase the risk of infection. On June 15, the government made face coverings mandatory for travelers in England.
About 11 months after the United Kingdom recorded its first death, some British hospitals looked like a “war zone”, Valens said, as doctors and nurses battle more infectious variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus Scientists fear more fatalities may occur.
On the COVID-19 frontline, patients and medics are fighting for life.
Joey Holiday, a consultant in intensive care and acute medicine at Milton Keynes University Hospital, said seeing so many patients die was “truly heartbreaking” for employees.
“(The patients) deteriorate very quickly, and they go from talking to you and actually seeing very well, no longer talking to you after 20 minutes, no longer alive after another 20 minutes, ” he said.
“It’s incredibly difficult for everybody.”
Writing by Paul Sandals; Editing by Guy Falconbridge and Mike Collett-White