Search icon


12th Apr 2020

How Boris Johnson mishandled the coronavirus crisis

Oli Dugmore

2020 would herald a ‘decade of prosperity and opportunity’ for the United Kingdom

These were the words of prime minister Boris Johnson on 31 December 2019, the same day that authorities in Wuhan, China reported a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause.

This year was supposed to be one of glory for Johnson and, as a result, the United Kingdom. Brexit would get done and all the wondrous spoils that Brexiteers promised would come would prove to be true. Britain would excel away from the vice grip of bureaucracy that is the European Union and forge a brave new path to future prosperity.

Three months later, more than 10,000 people in the UK have died as a result of coronavirus, with many cases in care homes not going towards the official count. NHS staff receive weekly claps from a grateful public, but remain dangerously low on the required personal protective equipment, and Johnson himself has just emerged from hospital, thanking the NHS for saving his life during a bout of COVID-19 which saw him admitted to intensive care.

This is the story of how 100 days of indecision and bluster brought a nation and its leader to the brink.