EDITORIAL: The Boris Johnson option crashes
While watching the horror show in Italy, Johnson was happy to pursue a policy of benign neglect, or what he called “herd immunity”
It’s not entirely clear why UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imagines Britons will suddenly support him and his newfound passion for social distancing, given the loathsome disregard he’s shown the nation in his management of the coronavirus crisis.
While watching the horror show in Italy, Johnson was happy to pursue a policy of benign neglect, or what he called "herd immunity". Only, this wasn’t herd immunity of the vaccination kind (if enough people are vaccinated, those who cannot be vaccinated will still be protected from disease). Rather, it was based on an assumption that the population would develop immunity through exposure to the virus. It would have required 60% of the population to get sick and recover, and so benefit from some kind of immunity. Great for those who recovered; less so for the elderly and vulnerable. They’d simply get sick and die. Ho hum.
So it’s no great surprise that the country’s health system is now overwhelmed. This week, the UK recorded its largest single-day death count (87) and at the time the FM went to print, more than 8,000 people had tested positive for the virus. It has, at last, spurred Boris the Callous into action: he’s ordered bars, clubs and restaurants to be closed, and gatherings of more than two people banned. Pity the more than 400 people who had to die to bring him to this point.