Sajid Javid has been forced to apologise for claiming people been ‘cowering’ from Covid-19.
The health secretary drew the ire of grieving families with his comments on Twitter yesterday.
Mr Javid used the word as he announced his own recovery from a bout of the infection, which forced Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak into self isolation.
On Saturday he Tweeted: ‘Full recovery from Covid a week after testing positive.
‘Symptoms were very mild, thanks to amazing vaccines.
‘Please – if you haven’t yet – get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus.’
Now Mr Javid has climbed down from the comment after being accused of insensitivity over his choice of words.
More than 153,000 have lost their lives to the disease in the UK, including 447 in the last seven days.
The health secretary Tweeted this morning: ‘I’ve deleted a tweet which used the word “cower”.
‘I was expressing gratitude that the vaccines help us fight back as a society, but it was a poor choice of word and I sincerely apologise.
‘Like many, I have lost loved ones to this awful virus and would never minimise its impact.’
The phrasing had been slammed by Jo Goodman, co-founder of COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, who called it ‘deeply insensitive on a number of levels’.
She added: ‘Not only are they hurtful to bereaved families, implying our loved ones were too cowardly to fight the virus, but they insult all those still doing their best to protect others from the devastation this horrific virus can bring.’
His comments came in the same week the Prime Minister dodged an apology over leaked texts appearing to show him taking the severity of Covid-19 lightly.
Messages from October 2020 shared with the BBC by Dominic Cummings appear to show Mr Johnson saying: ‘I must say I have been slightly rocked by some of the data on Covid fatalities.
‘The median age is 82 – 81 for men 85 for women. That is above life expectancy. So get Covid and live longer.’
Pressed on the comments in the Commons by Labour leader Keir Starmer, the PM didn’t deny the comments but nor did he apologise.
He said: ‘Nothing I can do can make up for the loss and the suffering that people have endured throughout this pandemic.
‘There will of course be a public inquiry into what has happened. These are incredibly tough balancing decisions that you have to take.’
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