A nursing leader has slammed Covid deniers, calling them “as out of step with reality as Flat Earthers”.
Howard Catton, who is chief executive of the International Council of Nurses, told the Nursing Times that the conspiracy theorists rebelling against public health measures are contributing to the Covid death toll. He said:
“Unfortunately, misinformed Covid-19 deniers are becoming more active in certain parts of the world, despite their views being as out of step with reality as Flat Earthers. By inciting disobedience to social distancing, lockdowns and other sensible public health measures brought in to protect us all, especially the most vulnerable in society, the deniers are creating a recipe for the further spread of the virus leading to more deaths.”
His comments follow reports that lockdown protesters chanted “Covid is a hoax” while gathered outside St Thomas’s Hospital in London on New Year’s Eve. A junior doctor, who recorded the incident, alleged that many of the “hundreds” of maskless protesters were drunk.
More recently a Covid denier in Worcestershire filmed himself inside an empty-looking ward in Kidderminster Hospital in an attempt to ‘prove’ that Covid is a hoax. But, despite his repeated claims that he was in A&E (a department the hospital does not even have), he was actually in the Minor Injuries Unit.
Ministers have also pleaded with the public to take the virus seriously. Northern Ireland’s health minister Robin Swann said:
“I just wish [Covid deniers would] stay in the house, out of the road, because what they do is akin to walking into any of our hospitals, any of our ICU units and just slapping a nurse in the face. That’s how I feel about those people, just to show that they are a brave big man or woman who can break the restrictions and think they are either above what’s happening or immune.”
During a press conference, meanwhile, Boris Johnson told Covid deniers to “grow up”.
Official data suggests that up to 55,000 people are currently testing positive for Covid-19 in the UK each day, while the overall death toll recently surpassed 80,000.