England’s NHS chief executive has said claims that hospitals are not under pressure from surging numbers of people suffering badly with coronavirus are a “lie”.
Speaking at a Downing Street briefing, Sir Simon Stevens said the false claims on social media have been changing behaviour in a way that could kill people.
Calling the claims an “insult” to staff working in critical care, he said: “There is nothing more demoralising than having that kind of nonsense spouted when it is most obviously untrue.”
And he was backed by the prime minister, who said that those people engaging in behaviour like standing outside hospitals and shouting that there is no such thing as coronavirus need to “grow up”.
Detailing his assertion, Sir Simon said more than 800 COVID patients are being admitted to hospitals in London every day.
“That is the equivalent of a new St Thomas’ hospital full of COVID patients, fully staffed, every day, or a new University College Hospital, full of coronavirus patients every day,” he said.