Boris Johnson announces UK surpasses 100,000 Covid deaths
And the grim milestone has underlined just how unprepared the world was for a global pandemic, as well as the mistakes which have led to a death toll of more than two million, Professor Amesh Adalja. JHU’s counter surged past the 100 million mark just before 7.40pm this evening (GMT), with more than 2,150,000 people having lost their lives.
It didn’t have to be this high
Professor Adesh Adalja
Speaking minutes after Boris Johnson confirmed the UK had now past 100,000 deaths, Prof Adalja told Express.co.uk: “The 100 million case mark surely is an underestimate.
“However it should be a milestone that everyone on the planet acknowledges because it didn’t have to be this high.
“If public health preparedness was valued the way it should’ve been, if politicians were proactive, if politicians didn’t inject themselves into what should be scientific decisions a different trajectory could have been had.
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“When the next pandemic occurs we must fix the problems that led to the devastating impact of this virus.”
Speaking on CNN this evening, Dr Anthony Fauci said the best way to minimise loss of life was to “get as many people vaccinated as fast as possible”.
Meanwhile the European Union is struggling with its vaccine rollout programme after Astrazeneca confirmed a shortfall in doses of treatment it has developed in conjunction with Oxford as a result of logistical difficulties.
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Speaking at a press briefing today in reference to the 100,000 figure, Mr Johnson said: “I think on this day I should just really repeat that I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost and of course as I was Prime Minister I take full responsibility for everything that the Government has done.
“What I can tell you is that we truly did everything we could, and continue to do everything that we can, to minimise loss of life and to minimise suffering in what has been a very, very difficult stage.
“And a very, very difficult crisis for our country, and we will continue to do that, just as every government that is affected by this crisis around the world is continuing to do the same.”
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He added that it was “hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic: the years of life lost, the family gatherings not attended and for so many relatives the missed chance to even say goodbye”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk in December, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said the rapid evolution of the disease showed that there was no room for complacency.
He explained: “We must rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis on the foundation of human rights and look at 2020 as a reminder that health is the most precious commodity on earth.
“We need to follow through and to adopt a ‘do-it-all’ approach, we need to continue to practice the physical distancing, staying home if asked, following all the measures that are put in place to keep ourselves safe.
As a senior program officer with the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a US think tank which analyses major threats including deadly pathogens, Jessica Bell said: “The current COVID-19 outbreak has shown that our world is still incredibly unprepared to address a disease outbreak of pandemic proportions.
“While some progress has been made in identifying global preparedness gaps, much less progress has been made in identifying incentives and financing to fill those gaps.
The not so distant past has shown us that each outbreak has required greater United Nations coordination across health, humanitarian, and security sectors.”
She added: “Advances in technology have made it easier and faster to make and modify pandemic agents. This coordination and the implied national-level leadership has shown to be vital in responding successfully to epidemics and pandemics.“
“There will be a next one. The hope within the community is that we’ll get past this cycle of panic and neglect and focus more on longer-term pandemic preparedness.
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