Cheltenham “Caused increased suffering and death” by going ahead in March
by Glenn Baird - May 26, 2020
Cheltenham was the last major horse racing meet to take place in the UK, with over a quarter of a million people attending the festival between the 10th to the 13th of March.
The scientist responsible for leading the UK’s primary Corna virus tracking project believes that Cheltenham and the Champion’s League match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid on the 11th of March have been responsible for “increased suffering and death” in the UK.
This is despite most other countries in Europe calling a halt to mass gatherings and sporting events prior to these two taking place.
Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said cases of Covid-19 had “increased several-fold” as a result of the two events going ahead.
Data gathered from millions of volunteers suggests that their were Covid-19 hot spots following the two sporting events.
Despite the WHO announcing the outbreak as a global pandemic just a few days earlier, Oliver Dowden rubbished claims that mass outdoor gatherings in the UK would need to be cancelled. He said the following in an interview with the BBC:
“There’s no reason for people not to attend such events or to cancel them at this stage.”
Professor Sector has today confirmed that “people will have probably died prematurely” because the events were allowed to go ahead. He went on to say that sporting events should have been cancelled a full 3 weeks prior to Cheltenham
Data based on information provided by 3 million volunteers suggests that 5 to 6 per cent of those aged between 20 and 69 had symptoms in the areas that these two events took place.
A contrast can be drawn between how the UK dealt with the crisis and how it was handled in Ireland. That weekend should have seen St Patrick’s Day celebrations taking place across the country but instead everyone in Ireland was told to stay at home. Pubs, cafes and restaurants were closed and all outdoor mass gatherings were prohibited.
Melanie Finn, an Irish journalist who attended the Cheltenham Festival said that: “People were in shock. No one could believe that was happening.
“That was an indicator of how serious the Irish government was. When we flew out of Dublin airport it was literally like a ghost town.”
She went on to describe her experiences at Cheltenham: “It was like the last days of the Roman Empire, and I think there was a little bit of a sense that if it was open, by God they were going to party.”
Organisers at Cheltenham have defended the decision to go ahead with the event, stating that they were following government advice.
As for the Champions League match that took place, there were fans and players in the stadium who had travelled from Spain, which at the time was one of the hardest hit countries in Europe for cases of Covid-19.
The following response from the UK government has looked to downplay the effects of these two sporting events, providing the following statement:
“There are many factors that could influence the number of cases in a particular area, including population density, age, general health, and the position of an area on the pandemic curve.”