A UK public health chief has backed calls for Christmas to be delayed to next summer in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus – despite acknowledging that he may sound like ‘A Christmas Carol’ villain Ebenezer Scrooge.
Expressing his concern that Christmas celebrations could “undo all of the work that we’ve done up until now,” Mark Adams, a health chief for the coronavirus-heavy north-eastern Teesside area that encompasses Hartlepool, said, “I read recently an idea about bumping Christmas to June or July and having Christmas Day then, and I think that sounds like an eminently sensible thing to do.”
“We certainly can’t have a Christmas like we are used to having, and I appreciate that is difficult for people and distressing for people,” he continued, “but the consequences of forgetting everything that has happened since March and trying to have a normal Christmas as possible are that the NHS does get overrun and we have significant harm and illness.”
“And ultimately deaths for a large number of people,” concluded Adams, despite acknowledging, according to the BBC, that “he might sound like ‘Ebenezer Scrooge.’”
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Adams is not the first health official to endorse moving Christmas back half a year.
Earlier this month, documents from the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) – which on top of the Covid-19 pandemic also advised the government during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster and the 2014 Ebola epidemic – floated a Christmas delay as an alternative to family celebrations this year.
“Whenever announcing that a particular form of social interaction needs to be avoided, then actively propose and support less risky forms of mixing,” the documents advised. “These could include carrying out the activity at a later date e.g. planning a summer family get together to replace meeting at Christmas.”
The health officials behind the documents were branded “Scrooge boffins” by the Sun newspaper.
Former Conservative MP Gyles Brandreth also suggested delaying Christmas this week on ITV’s This Morning.
“The government knows that people are going to meet at Christmas, come what may, so they’re going to release us so that it’s legal to do so, and then they’re making it clear that if we do that, there will then be a price to pay in further times of lockdown,” Brandreth said.
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“I have a solution, of course, and that is to postpone Christmas altogether,” he continued, arguing, “It’s 25th of December. It’s pretty arbitrary. It’s been that for about sixteen-hundred years, but it’s only because that coincides with the Winter Solstice.”
The UK is currently in a month-long lockdown that is set to last until December 2. It is currently unclear as to whether any additional lockdowns will be implemented before Christmas. There have been nearly 1.5 million confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK and over 50,000 deaths – making it one of the most affected countries in the world.
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