NHS boss blasts 'nonsense' Covid-deniers over 'empty' hospital videos
Covid-deniers and conspiracy theorists who have filmed ‘empty’ hospitals in a bid to prove coronavirus is a hoax have been blasted in a fierce attack by NHS bosses.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens launched a blistering attack on people who post videos online showing empty corridors to try and show the health service is not under pressure.
Sir Simon said that posting such clips meant people were “responsible for potentially changing behaviour that will kill people”.
“It’s an insult to the nurse coming home after 12 hours in critical care, having worked her guts out under the most demanding and trying circumstances,” he went on.
“There’s nothing more demoralising than having that kind of nonsense spouted when it’s most obviously untrue.”
His comments came after a series of videos from different hospitals were posted online, leading in one case to an arrest and in another to people being interviewed by police.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said people who stood outside hospitals and claimed covid was a hoax “needed to grow up”.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson also condemned the videoing, saying trust leaders saw it as “deeply disrespectful” of the effort frontline NHS staff were making.
“It is entirely legitimate to question how the NHS is responding to the pandemic – informed, evidence based, dissent is vital in any democracy. But deliberately spreading lies and disinformation at the peak of the biggest public health crisis in a generation is another thing entirely,” he said.
A Facebook group – “empty hospitals” — has hosted some of the videos, as well as discussions about the NHS’ response to covid. Many of the videos appear to be of outpatient or reception areas, and some were taken at night.
The group was set up at the end of December but already has more than 13,000 members. People challenging the clips have been dubbed ‘virus lovers’ or ‘fake news.’
As well as empty hospital videos, some posts allege doctors and nurses are staying silent about “the truth” and criticise NHS staff for posting Tiktok videos.
Others allege the pandemic has been planned since 2012, that there is a plot to reduce the world population through a “new world order” or that 5G phone masts cause coronavirus.