New studies estimate that Britain is set to see the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Europe. This is entirely due to the complacency and incompetence of the Tory government. Their arrogance is responsible for this avoidable loss of lives.
The UK is on course to have more deaths from coronavirus than Italy, Spain, France and Germany combined, according to new modelling by world leading epidemiologists. This would make Britain the worst hit country in Europe in terms of the impacts of the pandemic.
The new figures come from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, based in Seattle. The study’s authors predict that – by August – the UK will have had 66,000 deaths from the virus. The modelling shows a peak of nearly 3,000 a day, with UK deaths accounting for more than 40% of total deaths across Europe.
The analysts responsible for this stark prediction say that the Tories’ personal protective equipment are a key factor in the high level of predicted deaths.
Boris Johnson’s pursuit of this complacent and callous strategy led to a holdup in introducing coherent social distancing measures. The Prime Minister wasted valuable days – a deadly delay in the face of a disease that spreads exponentially.
Johnson refused to declare an official lockdown until his hand was forced, by which time there had already been 54 deaths in the UK. By contrast, Portugal had had just one death when physical distancing was imposed there.
If proved correct, these projections will clearly underline the fact that Boris and his cabal of clueless toffs have the blood of tens of thousands of preventable deaths on their hands.
The initial COVID-19 outbreak may well be an accident beyond anyone’s control. But the devastating impact that it has wrought across society is firmly the responsibility of this government of the rich.
The establishment may desperately urge us not to ‘politicise’ this crisis. But how can it be anything other than political, when Tory arrogance leads to an entirely avoidable loss of life?
The fact is that Boris and his government did nothing to prepare for this crisis. And once it was clear that the disease was upon us, the government manifestly failed to organise the mass testing required to minimise the outbreak, or to mobilise supplies of personal protective equipment and life saving ventilators.
In the face of a ballooning pandemic, meanwhile, they have consistently put the profits of big business ahead of public health.
On the one side, we see Tory ministers turning a blind eye as the bosses keep non-essential production and construction sites open and running, putting the lives of workers and their families at risk.
And on the other, we have the spectacle of Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging for a rapid – and unsafe – end to the lockdown, in order to allow profit-hungry businesses to get back to their money-making ways.
The government claims to have been following the advice of ‘top scientists’. But it has recently been revealed that an official committee set up to model the spread of pandemic flu reported as early as 2 March that, if unconstrained, the outbreak could lead to the deaths of over half-a-million people.
Official committee set up to model the spread of pandemic flu, publishes a report predicting “over 500,000 deaths in this nation of nearly 70 million”.
Boris Johnson says that the country is “very, very well-prepared”.
— Russ (@RussInCheshire) April 14, 2020
Yet the day after receiving this report, Boris continued to cultivate his ‘likeable’ buffoon image – laughing and joking with journalists, and boasting that he had shaken hands with patients being treated for coronavirus.
After his hours languishing in intensive care, one is left wondering whether the hubristic PM now regrets this astonishingly irresponsible behaviour.
Throughout February, as concerns of the impact mounted in the UK scientific and medical community, the aloof, out-of-touch Tory government did nothing to prepare.
Weeks were wasted that could have been used to develop a programme of mass tests, and to procure vital ventilators and personal protective equipment for expanded intensive care.
News agency Reuters has interviewed scientists at dozens of disease research labs in the UK. Their investigations revealed that not a single one received requests for assistance – in terms of staff time or testing equipment – until the middle of March.
One lab, based in Oxford has said that they could have carried out up to 1,000 tests per day from February onwards, but the government never responded to their offer.
The results of this inaction speak for themselves. By 5 April, almost 200,000 tests had been carried out in the UK. This compares to at least 918,000 completed in Germany. The World Health Organisation has been clear that testing is key to controlling the spread of the virus. Is it any wonder, therefore, that the UK is likely to be so much worse affected than the rest of Europe?
The government has claimed that they began to increase ventilator supplies in February. But the facts tell a different story.
Manufacturers of ventilators say they had no discussion about procuring extra supplies until 16 March, after it was clear that supplies could run out. One UK-based ventilator manufacturer has reported that they were inundated with requests from more than a dozen international governments during February – yet they have heard nothing from the British government!
The astounding incompetence of the Tories and their callous lack of regard for ordinary people’s lives may be puzzling to some. But their cold, uncaring attitude is only a reflection of the heartless system that they defend.
A rotten system creates rotten political representatives. If capitalism itself wreaks destruction and death upon humanity, how can those who defend it be expected to do anything different?
If we want to live in a society that protects the lives of all equally, we must do more than rid ourselves of the political representatives of capital – we must overthrow the system itself.