The Absurdity of Opening Pubs Before Schools in England Highlighted by Paediatrician Anthony Costello

Former WHO director and well-known paediatrician Anthony Costello has been an ardent critique of Britain’s response to the pandemic.

Anthony Costello | Photo -

Anthony Costello is a well-known paediatrician and a global expert on child health and his recent statement on our approach to dealing with the new-normal amid the coronavirus pandemic is worth thinking about. Over the last couple of weeks, he has been extensively critiquing and condemning the British government’s method of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Anthony Costello boasts of decades of ground experience in low income countries towards improving and devising strategies to curb high maternal mortality rates in low-income countries. He has also served as director of maternal, child and adolescent health at the World Health Organisation at Geneva.

In a latest interview given to The Guardian, Anthony Costello threw light on the response to the coronavirus pandemic by the British government and raised many interesting points about its plans and strategies to deal with what is often referred to as the ‘new normal’. 

When asked about his opinion on the British government’s decision to open pubs, he said, “ Well it’s very odd in Britain that we are opening pubs before schools. It says something about our priorities. Being outdoors the risks are pretty low-19 times lower risk according to a Japanese study. I would have said open pubs as long as you serve outside. The worry is that people will be crowding together to get drinks, and that as they’ll be drinking, they’ll lose their inhibitions. And in an indoor space there’s lots of potential to be a super-spreader. So I’m a bit opposed to pubs opening, but I understand the reasons why they’ve done it.”

Critiquing the response of the English government further, Costello said that the coronavirus pandemic has revealed the individualistic and conservationist response of the country which had damaged public health. He added that with a broken public health system and increasing market oriented approach to the question of medical infrastructure, the country’s ordinary people were among the worst affected. With protests such as those under the banner of Black Lives Matter taking over the streets, he said that sometimes democratic callings override the risk of a disease and that although protests were risky sites to go to, they were still better than enclosed pubs where the chances of  the infection spreading was amplified.


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