The New Observer UK Politics,UK Society Allowing thousands of people to needlessly die and then lying about it – another day in covid UK.

Allowing thousands of people to needlessly die and then lying about it – another day in covid UK.

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock:

We will keep working to strengthen the protective ring we have cast around all our care homes. [1]

The truth – a cardiologist at a top London hospital (in an anonymous tip off to a journalist, as recounted by the journalist):

Basically, every mistake that could have been made, was made. He likened the care home policy to the Siege of Caffa in 1346, that grim chapter of the Black Death when a Mongol army catapulted plague-ridden bodies over the walls.

“Our policy was to let the virus rip and then ‘cocoon the elderly’,” he wrote. “You don’t know whether to laugh or cry when you contrast that with what we actually did. We discharged known, suspected, and unknown cases into care homes which were unprepared, with no formal warning that the patients were infected, no testing available, and no PPE to prevent transmission. We actively seeded this into the very population that was most vulnerable. [2]

These people are not just willing to let tens of thousands of elderly people die completely needlessly but they are prepared to brazenly try and spin their way out of it.

It is beginning to look quite simple. They went for “herd immunity” (thinking that Britain would not have to close its economy and would steal a march on its European competitors) based on a “specious” understanding of science. But in doing so they simply forgot about care homes.

(For background; this is a link to an article in the Daily Telegraph from 15 April – about 10 weeks into the crisis – which makes it clear that while they were now (from 16 April [3]) testing patients prior to discharge from hospital it was still policy to discharge patients infected with Covid-19 into care homes – as indeed it still is. The testing for staff the government was promising on 15 April has only very recently become a reality and even then one which is, apparently beset with delays and problems with lost tests).

This is the government’s attempt to try to spin their way out of the fact that their policies have led to thousands of needless deaths in care homes. Particularly odious is Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty trying to pretend that the slow strengthening of the protocols – from moving untested and infected patients into care homes to the current policy of testing all patients prior to discharge – is something to do with “And as the clinical understanding of coronavirus has strengthened, so too, we’ve updated and strengthened our guidance.” This is complete tosh. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty is consciously lying. That Sars-Cov-2 was a severe coronavirus leading to serious respiratory illness with a very high mortality rate in elderly people was well-established by (and this is being incredibly fair) early March. (You only had to look at Italy). And that was all you needed to know to understand that under no circumstances should you have been deliberately mixing Covid-19 infected patients with the one group most likely to die from Covid-19.

The current policy is to test but still to discharge positive patients into care homes. [4] Smaller, less-well resourced, care homes do not have the resources and facilities to manage a regime of total isolation and indeed the full barrier nursing that would be required to have a reasonable chance of avoiding cross-infection. All they’ve done is shift the crisis from hospitals to care homes. This may be the real meaning of the slogan “Protect the NHS”.