Covid survivor Michael Rosen says government ‘got rid of a whole chunk of the population’
British author Michael Rosen, who spent 47 days in intensive care with Covid, has written a scathing new poem criticizing the government’s response to the pandemic.
The former children’s winner, 74, who has been left with a myriad of health problems following his recovery from the virus, accuses the government and the media of “dispensing with a whole section of the population” by “playing” with collective immunity.
In a poem published last week titled I accuse … the government of not protecting us, Rosen denounces Boris Johnson for the way the crisis was handled in the UK, saying those in power “failed to protect us”, “experimented with the people” and “put profit before people “.
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Fury: Former children’s winner Michael Rosen, 74, spent months in hospital with the virus and ended up with a series of health issues. In new poem, he targets government, some scientists and the media for their response to the pandemic
The award-winning poet and author, 74, spent nearly seven weeks in an induced coma on a ventilator after falling ill with the virus.
Earlier this year, he told the Today program: “I thought I was facing the flu… or it was the coronavirus and I was going to be one of those people who feels it like some kind of flu.”
In his latest work, Rosen channels Emile Zola’s famous open letter, J’accuse, written in 1903 on the management of human rights by the French government at the time.
In one line, Rosen writes scathingly about the government’s attempts at collective immunity, saying, “I accuse a government of knowing that herd immunity without vaccination inevitably requires the death of hundreds of thousands of people.”
In another, he says: “I accuse a government of failing in early March to issue strict guidelines on social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing.”
The poem has since gone viral and thousands of people are reading and sharing it. The author rose to voice on social media as he recovered from the virus, challenging those who have entertained conspiracy theories about the pandemic.
Children’s author Michael Rosen, 74, says his battle with Covid left him with problems with sight, hearing and memory, including the inability to remember the names of famous actors from Hollywood
In the fall, Rosen opened up about her dramatic admission to hospital, saying things started “to move very, very quickly” when a neighbor, who is a general practitioner, did a “saturation test in oxygen … go to A&E now ”.
“They handed me a piece of paper and told me you had a 50/50 chance. I said “Well, are you telling me that’s better than how lucky I am now?”
“And I said, ‘Are you telling me that maybe I won’t wake up? And they said’ Yes ’and then I signed something.’
Despite his recovery, the aftermath of Covid left him with sight, hearing and memory problems.
He has described himself as “weak” since being released from the hospital and said he had to learn to walk with a stick.
“I think I have several stuck tracks,” he told How Do You Cope? Podcast. “Sometimes I sit here at night trying to remember the names of the actors.
“Now I know (for) anyone over 70 it’s starting to happen anyway, but I was pretty good before Covid.”
Rosen says that if he remembers the names of movies or commercials in which Hollywood stars Cruise, Streep and Clooney appeared – including Mission: Impossible, River Wild or the Nespresso commercials – their names escape him.
Michael Rosen’s wife Emma-Louise Williams shared a photo of the author on Twitter as he first returned home from his battle with the disease and began to recover
“I have really weird whites,” he said. “I spent one evening determined not to go to the computer to try to remember Tom Cruise.
“I spent a whole evening going to ‘Mission: Impossible, Magnolia’.
The children’s author, whose books include We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, Little Rabbit Foo Foo, and Chocolate Cake, left hospital in June and said being on the edge of a knife had changed him into as a person.
“I was so close to going there… It’s a reminder of how very impermanent life is,” he said.
“I get these pictures, not exactly nightmares, but recurring pictures… and I don’t really want them there but I can’t get rid of them.”
‘I didn’t know about the seven weeks in this artificial coma until I got home and (his wife) Emma told me about it… I was quite upset about it… it’s full of emotion to me, that people were just hanging on there.