SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ant Middleton has sparked a backlash after saying people need to “calm the f*** down” about the coronavirus pandemic.
The TV star shared a string of videos on social media saying that the coronavirus is not a threat to people like him who are young, fit and healthy, and that he is getting on with his life as usual.
He told fans that although those who are vulnerable should follow the advice, self-isolate and need to be protected, those who are young and healthy should not be so worried.
This is in direct contradiction to the current advice from the NHS that says “staying at home can help stop coronavirus spreading”.
Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Witty in a science journalist briefing said yesterday: "People who end up dying tend to be quite elderly or have previous health conditions. Some young people have ended up in intensive care [worldwide].
“We don’t want to give the impression every single young person will breeze through this. Some young people will have severe disease [even though they are healthy]. This is not a trivial infection even if they are a young adult.”
Professor Patrick Vallance said: "Unless everybody does social distancing, it doesn’t have an effect. Young people can’t ignore it thinking they’ll be fine. Mixing in pubs allows the disease to spread and it needs to stop in young people as well as old people.'
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“COVID-19 doesn’t bother me. Neither should it you, if you are young, fit and healthy,” Middleton said on a recent Instagram video.
In another video shared earlier this week, he said: “Has my life changed? No.
“Am I going to let some disease, COVID-19, dictate my life? Absolutely not.
“Get out there, don’t change, f*** COVID-19!”
“I don’t care if I get it, I’ll be OK, I’ll fight it off,” the star said in another post, saying the strong need to be able to help keep the economy going.
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Middleton’s words divided opinion on social media.
Some fans agreed that there is too much panic around the virus and said people should try to remain positive.
But others said the star’s comments were “irresponsible”.
Comedian Robin Ince, co-host of BBC radio show The Infinite Monkey Cage with Professor Brian Cox, commented on Twitter saying that it “might not be you that suffers if you are a d***”.
Saw Ant Middleton thing. Reminds me of the story of Gene Tierney. A fan decided that even though she probably had rubella, she had to meet her. Tierney was pregnant. She got rubella. Her child was born with severe disabilities. Might not be you that suffers if you are a dick.— Robin Ince (@robinince) March 20, 2020
Another who said she was formerly a pharmacy dispenser urged people to not “listen to dangerous people like Ant Middleton”.
Hey ho it’s your favourite ex-pharmacy dispenser here to remind you that COVID-19 is a virus, and viruses don’t have emotions. You can’t scare this away, or psych it out, because it DOES NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS DOING. Please don’t listen to dangerous people like Ant Middleton.— Nicoletta Wylde (@NicolettaWylde) March 20, 2020
Journalist Stefan Simanowitz called Middleston a “complete & utter moron”.
The World Health Organisation also says young people are at risk: “people of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus” adding “WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.”
And a report from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in America revealed that “nearly 40 percent of patients sick enough to be hospitalised were age 20 to 54.”