The Covid inquiry continues to drip feed the details of how the government dealt with the Coronavirus pandemic. I work in the NHS, and I witnessed the horrors of the pandemic from the frontline. Hearing from the inquiry about the levels of callousness and incompetence is hard to cope with.
I will not forget the terror in the eyes of those gasping for air as they came through the doors, ubiquitously repeating the phrase ‘I can’t breathe’. They were people who under normal circumstances would be expected to enjoy long and healthy lives. They were normal people in their 40s and 50s.
In comments to the inquiry from some of his chief advisers it is alleged that the Prime Minister at the time, Boris Johnson, wanted to ‘let it rip’ and was more concerned about the economy than he was about people he claimed would ‘die soon anyway’.
He told the cabinet in late 2020 that he favoured letting old people get Covid if it prevented another lockdown. Meanwhile at the same time our hospitals were at breaking point. That Christmas/New year period saw around 100 patients in critical care at Addenbrookes. Two and a half times the number we usually care for.
Whilst Downing Street staff partied, we saw everyone from receptionist to consultant surgeons volunteering to help make up for the nursing shortage on intensive care wards.
The inquiry will continue for some time, with many of the major players still to give evidence. Those who lost loved ones will no doubt be watching with increasing incredulity as the evidence reveals the complete lack of empathy and simple ability to govern by those in charge.
It’s no wonder that the Conservative Government pushed back the start of the inquiry for as long as they possibly could.
For the sake of the bereaved, for those still ill with long Covid and for all of us who may have to face the next pandemic, those responsible for what happened must be held to account for their failings.
Ely and East Cambridgeshire Labour
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