Before British Prime Minister Boris Johnson drops into bed at nights, certainly his first words in prayer to the Almighty must be, “Let this cup pass.”
As Boris prays and ponders, more and more frantic medics in the UK are flinging aside their medical toques to don hats brightly coloured in politics, spouting words that sound very much like crazed party members as they denounce Johnson for his laid-back approach to handling the spreading coronavirus.
For a brief moment in time, Johnson must have felt vindicated when President of the United States Donald Trump blocked all European countries from travel to the United States, exempting the United Kingdom and Ireland from the blockade.
Within a few days however, the decision was reversed and the United Kingdom was cast into the category of those who are seen as contributing to the spread of the virus in the Americas.
Covid-19 is wreaking havoc globally with deaths in the United States now exceeding 60 since February.
The year 2020 presents a bitter cup, a chalice of hard choices to every political leader in the world, especially those who head governments.
Nowhere is the challenge as dramatically outlined as in the United Kingdom, where the trusty Johnson and his team of brilliant scientists are pursuing a policy of minimal testing and no lockdowns.
The Johnson-led cabal has posited the theory that if coronavirus is allowed to pursue a natural path of infection, soon and very soon, the critical mass of those infected will act as a breakwater which will turn the tide in favour of resolution.
His policy against lockdowns is driving some doctors and many in the population quite mad.
The Express newspaper reported on Sunday that “a petition urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to rethink his coronavirus strategy and follow the example of Italy and Spain by putting the UK in lockdown has passed the 100,000 mark.”
It was reported that, at a joint press conference with Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, Johnson rolled out a series of recommendations including advising anyone with even mild cold-like symptoms to self-isolate for seven days.
The news analysts noted that the Prime Minister’s refusal to close schools and advise old people to stay indoors has drawn fire, with the World Health Organization spokeswoman Dr Margaret Harris “citing concern at the UK’s “herd immunity” approach – which would effectively mean millions of Britons contracting the disease.”
Those opposing the Johnson strategy say that the government must instead consider “flattening the curve”, or the progression of the disease which will give the health system a longer time to manage the challenge posed by Covid-19.
Without containment, the natural spike in infections will almost certainly overwhelm the health system’s capacity to cope, causing many to die, they posit.
In France and Spain, the urge to prevent deaths resulted in the quarantining of both nations on Saturday March 15, with only necessary services allowed to operate.
Both governments are taking their cue from Italy.
The New York Times reported over the weekend that, in Italy, officials numbers of deaths on Sunday rose to 1,809 —“a 25 per cent increase over the day before and the largest one-day uptick yet of any country.”
As noted by the news analysts, the 368 deaths reported exceed the highest single-day number China reported at the height of its outbreak.
China’s highest daily toll was on Feb. 13, when the country reported 254 new deaths, according to the World Health Organization, the newspaper noted.
It is almost certain that PM Johnson, if he values his political future, will soon fold and give in to public sentiment from a majority who do not want their future left up to the theorizing of certain scientists.
Even President Trump, as committed as he is to the supremacy of the market, eventually chose people over his former laid back approach.
People are the route to political power and Trump will face a re-election challenge at year-end 2020.
In all likelihood, the UK will be in full lockdown before the end of March.
Johnson faces the same challenge, and in the interest of holding his seat, he will succumb. Britons will give thanks for it. It will save many lives.