Sajid Javid attacked over soaring COVID rates during his three months in charge

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COVID cases have soared since Sajid Javid became Health Secretary. (PA)
COVID cases have soared since Sajid Javid became health secretary. (PA)

Sajid Javid has been criticised for showing a 'lack of leadership' by a former director of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the number of COVID cases in England has soared since he became health secretary.

Dr Anthony Costello, a prominent critic of the government's approach to COVID, said on Twitter: "Since Sajid Javid arrived: no restrictions, no community mobilisation, just 'learn to live with the virus'.

"That's why low vaccine rates in BME groups, poor test and trace, poor mask-wearing, feeble safety in schools. Lack of leadership contributes to almost 4,000 deaths per month."

(Twitter)
(Twitter)

Read more: Anti-vaccine website taken down after sending hoax COVID NHS letters to schools

Javid took over as health secretary on 26 June, as the government was preparing to lift lockdown in England altogether.

As soon as he came to office, Javid repeatedly said the country would have to learn to live with COVID and insisted ending lockdown was the right thing to do.

In his first statement to the Commons after taking up his new role, on 28 June, he said: "We cannot eliminate it, instead we have to learn to live with it."

Watch: Sajid Javid 'not anticipating any more lockdowns' this winter

He was even forced to apologise on 25 July for saying people should not "cower from COVID" after he recovered from the disease.

He was accused of being insensitive to the people who have died from the disease and admitted it was a "poor choice of words".

Lockdown ended on 19 July in England just as cases reached a summer high of around 60,000 a day in the UK.

However, since the summer high, cases in the UK have swung between 25,000 to 40,000 a day.

Read more: COVID in England increasing fastest among children

The number of COVID cases in the UK in recent months. (UK Government)
The number of COVID cases in the UK in recent months. (UK government)

In England, the country reported just over 13,000 new cases when Javid took the role, with a seven-day average of 16,773.

The single highest number of cases reported in England since Javid took over was on 15 July, before lockdown ended, which saw 56,358 new cases and a seven-day average of 43,548.

On Tuesday, the government confirmed 28,808 new cases in England.

The number of deaths has also risen quite dramatically.

The number of people admitted to hospital in the UK with COVID in recent months. (UK Government)
The number of people admitted to hospital in the UK with COVID in recent months. (UK government)

On 26 June, nine people died of COVID in England, the highest recent number was 9 September when 128 people died.

Since the high at the start of the month deaths have now dropped significantly with 24 reported in England on Tuesday.

Hospitalisations have also risen sharply, but plateaued over late summer and have started showing signs of decreasing recently.

The number of deaths reported in the UK from COVID in recent months. (UK Government)
The number of deaths reported in the UK from COVID in recent months. (UK government)

On 26 June, there were 1,276 people occupying a hospital bed in England because of COVID-19.

This rose steadily until the end of July before it levelled off to between 5,000 to 6,400 people in hospital with COVID.

Recently, the number has firmly dropped back into the 5,000s with 5,126 people in hospital with COVID in England on Tuesday.

Professor Christina Pagel pointed out on Twitter the UK currently has far higher numbers of COVID cases per million people than comparable European countries which have kept some social distancing requirements and mask mandates.

The UK has around 500 cases per million people whereas Germany, Portugal, Italy and Spain all have less than 100.

Similar figures are true for the number of deaths and hospitalisations being reported.

Watch: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?

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