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14th Apr 2020

Former public health director condemns government’s handling of COVID-19 crisis

Oli Dugmore

John Ashton was the public health director for Cumbria for 13 years

Much has been made of the United Kingdom’s reaction to the coronavirus crisis. The UK had time and perspective to come up with a sensible approach to the virus, having seen what had happened in Italy and Spain just weeks before.

Despite this, Boris Johnson’s government failed to take advantage of this, initially taking on the controversial policy of herd immunity before abandoning it and, eventually, denying it was ever policy to begin with.

While the country is now in lockdown, mistakes are still being made. One of the most difficult for many people to accept is the government’s failure to supply healthcare workers with the adequate resources, namely personal protective equipment.

This lack of PPE has led to a high number of deaths in the NHS, but the exact amount is not yet known, to the public at least. JOE spoke to former health director John Ashton about the government’s failure to say exactly how many NHS staff have died as a result of COVID-19.

Ashton also condemned the fact that deaths from COVID-19 in care homes are not reported among official figures.