How do you feel about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declaring himself impotent to the coronavirus and giving priority to the economy? Will England return to applying its cruel 17th-century Poor Laws to the 19th century?

According to different means, among them


In the wake of this, Johnson has made a very risky gamble and is gambling with his political future – and more importantly, the lives of many residents in Britain – by deciding not to take drastic action against the pandemic for the time being and to focus his strategy on smoothing out the coronavirus curve so that the peak of infection occurs in a couple of months, the public health service may be more prepared to deal with the shock.

The plan, according to specialists, responds to the resignation that the government at heart will not be able to do anything to the coronavirus, that a very considerable of deaths (even tens of thousands) is inevitable, and that it is therefore better to try to protect the economy from those who survive. From a medical standpoint, the theory is that the more people who are contaminated now, the greater the percentage of the country that will develop immunity to a potential second wave of the epidemic in the coming fall or winter.

This parsimonious strategy, which is in keeping with the traditional English spirit of phlegmatism (keep calm), has come under heavy criticism from the scientific community and a section of the press. On the one hand, because it means putting in extreme danger (and perhaps sacrificing) the most vulnerable elements of society, the elderly and those with chronic diseases.

On the other hand, radical containment measures in other countries have worked, and there is no evidence to support the theory that those who are infected now will become immune, and that there will be a second attack of the virus. Even in economic , it is virtually impossible for the UK to deal with the financial blow that is coming, in a globalised world and with its total dependence on the City and the service sector.

-says Professor Roy Anderson of Imperial College London, and

Boris Johnson has , and told his countrymen

. And he’s been so hot-headed.

Richard Horton, editor of the prestigious scientific journal

The European Parliament, in its resolution on the European Union’s relations with Russia, has urged Johnson to urgently adopt the kind of isolation measures implemented in China, Korea, Italy or Spain, and has accused him of playing Russian roulette with people’s health and lives. Martin Hibberd of the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has called the government’s action

Others say it’s

For Johnson, it is more important to keep things normal as long as possible than to prevent people from getting infected

Events, however, are a step or two ahead of the prime minister. On Thursday night he announced that football matches be played normally because a sick person

contaminates an average of two or three other people in a stadium, and that it is more important to maintain normalcy as long as possible. On Friday morning, after the announcement of the positive news from Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta and a Chelsea player, the Premier League suspended the matches and left the rest of the season in the air.

Numerous doctors (and politicians from other parties) are demanding that Johnson close schools, ban mass meetings, encourage teleworking, close borders as India and Israel have or suspend flights from the worst affected countries, such as the United States. But instead, surprisingly, the British government’s response to the escalating crisis has been to stop testing everyone for the coronavirus except those with the most severe symptoms of the disease, and for the rest – even though they may be contaminated, have a fever and a cough – to stay home voluntarily for a week.

The Boris Johnson government gives priority to the economy and normality and relies on the advice of its medical advisors. He likes to do things his own way. When the World Health Organization criticizes countries

against the pandemic, the United Kingdom is one of them.

A sad reference: The Poor Laws of England and Wales

When in England the problem of the poor is solved by the powers of the State, without counting on the poor, by the good conscience of the ruling class, man is crushed to extremes similar to slavery, that was
Against the laws of the poor, the organized working class, which emerged in Europe at the end of the 18th and 19th centuries, demanded dignified work, a fair wage, and advocated culture and freedom of association.


was the most important legislation on poverty since the passage of the original poor laws two centuries earlier. However, it was obsolete from the time of its passage. It also proved to be effective than reformers would have liked. The main criticism that was repeated in countless pamphlets, sermons, articles, speeches or reports was that the laws of the poor were

. This system demoralized the poor, who were degraded in spite of themselves. The new law was based on the false and immoral principle that poverty is a crime.

The paternalistic ethic has been characterized by historian David Roberts as

These characteristics are not always present together or to the same degree, but in a combination and in one form or another.

”. A memorable answer is offered by Oliver Twist . The first chapter, published in Bentley’s Misscellany in January 1837, describes Oliver’s birth in the reformatory, which with its first cry announced to the inmates “that a new burden had been imposed on the parish”. The second chapter describes he was sent to a branch of the reformatory, where 20 or 30 transgressors of the laws of the poor rolled around on the floor all day

“guarded by an old woman who received seven and a half pence a week for each of them, but most of this money was appropriated. The children perished from hunger, cold, and neglect, and so they were “summoned to the other world, to be reunited with parents they had never known in this world.

For five years

In addition, the Ministry of , through its own statistics (it reported that 41% of inmates had died in a reformatory) and terrible stories with names, dates and places, maintained a campaign demonstrating the cruelty of reformatories. It has been estimated that this compendium of crimes under the Poor Law includes some 290 cases of abuse reported in 2 million words over a period of 5 years. All of this gave the impression of being an unequivocal policy, of being a policy of abuses that are neither casual nor random, but rather a systematic, deliberate cruelty inspired by a conscious and cruel ideology.

The price for letting the disease grow and grow

There is no doubt that with the abandonment of the fight to tame the contagion curve, the number of people affected by coronavirus disease will increase. Among the different options for dealing with the coronavirus, Johnson mentioned that one of the theories was to let COVID-19 spread without having to take “many draconian measures” such as canceling public events or closing schools. The Prime Minister later acknowledged that it would be best to take whatever measures could be taken to reduce the burden on the British health system during the peak of the epidemic.

Johnson is not the only one who has raised the possibility of letting the coronavirus spread without major and costly measures. A certain percentage of the population is wondering why take such drastic actions, which seriously damage the economy and societies, when the coronavirus has such a low lethality (between 1-3 %) and if, as indicated by the WHO’s announcement that it already considers Covid-19 a pandemic, the possibility of the virus accompanying us in the future is growing stronger.

According to public health specialists, allowing the new coronavirus to circulate around the world is a terrible idea for several reasons. First, because there is the possibility of containing the virus. It’s not an impossible goal. China has achieved it and South Korea seems to be doing so, as data suggest they may have already passed the peak of the epidemic in this country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has insisted on numerous occasions that States must not give up in their fight against the coronavirus. Its president, Tedros Adhanom, declared a few days ago that “this is not a drill, nor is it the time to give up, nor is it the time for excuses, but it is the time to act”.

Preventing the virus from circulating among us will save lives now and in the future. And there is another compelling reason to implement all possible scientifically backed measures to tackle this epidemic, even if we ultimately could not prevent the virus from spreading around the world: to prevent the collapse of hospitals, especially intensive care units (ICUs). This is one of the priority lines of action that the Ministry of Health is currently pursuing:


If a health system