Open mouth, insert foot.
Matt Hancock thought it would be a good idea to say that “only” 36 people died of Covid-19 in the UK on Sunday (June 14).
Yesterday, across the UK, only 36 deaths were recorded with coronavirus – the lowest since 21 March.
We are winning the battle against this horrible disease
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) June 14, 2020
What an insensitive buffoon. Or…
Only 36 dead says an emotionless Matt Hancock.
— Damo #BlackLivesMatter (@Cornish_Damo) June 14, 2020
Matt Hancock is bragging that there were "only 36 deaths" reported today. Much in the same way a fireman stands in the smouldering embers of what was a building to brag "I saved the goldfish. Winning!"
— Dino "Ghostface Anteefah" Goldie (@dinogoldie) June 14, 2020
Some, taking the numbers at face value, have made the point that Hancock should never have used the word “only”:
"Only 36 deaths" Bully for you. That is around 1000 relatives and close friends left bereft. New Zealand has no cases and no deaths. You have failed us catastrophically. Anyone with honour or integrity would resign.
— Chris Smith (@ledredman) June 14, 2020
Experience shows that it isn’t an accurate description of the number of deaths that take place over a weekend – because there is a lag in reporting deaths that occur on a weekend. Look at the graphs of UK deaths since lockdown started and you will see a sizable drop in recorded deaths each weekend.
That. Is. Because. It. Was. A. Weekend. Per million population UK still second worst for deaths in the world on official figures. Total deaths now third highest in the world after Brazil ousted UK from second place. UK govt has not done well. Can’t realistically pretend it has. https://t.co/EBxfRimZAk
— Paul Lewis (@paullewismoney) June 14, 2020
And there’s the fact – recorded by the Office for National Statistics – that the death rate in the most deprived parts of the UK is double that in the least deprived areas:
The mortality rate of deaths involving #COVID19 in the most deprived areas of England was more than double that in the least deprived areas:
— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) June 12, 2020
It has also been established that people from black and minority ethnic groups are four times more likely to die of Covid-19 than white people.
So, on the basis of 36 deaths, around 28 of those who died would have been BAME people and 24 would have been from deprived areas. Most of the 24 would have belonged to both groups.
That’s “only” the fact behind Mr Hancock’s celebratory words.
Only two days before, Hancock had tried to kid us all that the Tory plan to handle Covid-19 was “working”. He was cut down to size very quickly:
Do you occupy the same reality as the rest of us @MattHancock? Your ‘plan’ on latest ONS figures & hospital data has resulted in 66,000 excess deaths linked to coronavirus
That’s not a plan that has worked, it is a plan that has failed so badly it’s caused a national catastrophe https://t.co/vF02KMRkhQ
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) June 12, 2020
Underpinning this is the threat that the general public may become desensitised to the facts – and the Tory rhetoric spouted by Hancock is contributing to that:
We cannot allow ourselves to become accustomed to hundreds of people dying every day from the virus. This isn’t happening in other places and it didn’t have to happen. The vast majority of these people did not have to die. It is a scandal and it should be treated as such.
— Liam Young (@liamyoung) June 13, 2020
Perhaps it would be better to keep this in mind:
When I saw someone describe it as the equivalent of an airline crash every day, it brought it home in very stark terms indeed. One airline crash worth of lives is a disaster. Repeated every day is horrifying. Esp as it could have been stopped, with proper policies. 😱😱😡 https://t.co/NE8qmCTC2E
— Crém-LaCommunardeMasquée😷 ✋💚 (@0Calamity) June 13, 2020
The message is clear: Matt Hancock is trying to pretend that your deaths, and those of your loved ones, don’t matter. That’s a cause for anger – not celebration.
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