British author Michael Rosen, who spent 47 days in intensive care with Covid, has written a scathing new poem slamming the government’s response to the pandemic.
The former children’s laureate, 74, who was left with a myriad of health problems following his recovery from the virus, accuses the Government and media of ‘dispensing with a whole section of the population’ by ‘toying’ with herd immunity.
In a poem published last week entitled J’accuse…the Government of not protecting us, Rosen slams Boris Johnson for the way the crisis has been handled in the UK saying those in power have ‘not protected us’, have ‘experimented with the population’ and ‘put profit before people’.
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Fury: Former children’s laureate Michael Rosen, 74, spent months in hospital with the virus and has been left with a raft of health problems. In a new poem, he targets the Government, some scientists and the media for their response to the pandemic
The award-winning poet and author, 74, spent almost seven weeks in an induced coma on a ventilator after falling ill with the virus.
Earlier this year, he told the Today programme: ‘I thought I was coping with a flu… or that it was the coronavirus and I was going to be one of those people who experience it as a kind of flu.’
In his latest work, Rosen channels Emile Zola’s famous open letter, J’accuse, written in 1903 about the then French government’s handling of human rights.
In one line, Rosen writes scathingly about the Government’s attempts at herd immunity, saying: ‘J’accuse a government of knowing that herd immunity without vaccination inevitably necessitates the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.’
In another, he says: ‘J’accuse a government of failing in early March to issue strict guidelines about social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing.’
The poem has since gone viral with thousands reading and sharing it. The author has been increasingly vocal on social media as he’s recovered from the virus, challenging those who’ve entertained conspiracy theories about the pandemic.
Children’s author Michael Rosen, 74, says his battle with Covid has left him with sight, hearing and memory problems including the inability to remember famous Hollywood actor’s names
In the autumn, Rosen spoke about his dramatic admission to hospital saying things started ‘moving very, very quickly’ when a neighbour, who is a GP, did an ‘oxygen saturation test… and suddenly it was, ‘You’ve got to go to A&E now’.
‘They handed me a piece of paper and said you’ve got a 50/50 chance. I said “Well are you telling me that’s better than the chance I’ve got now?”
‘And I said “Are you telling me I might not wake up?” and they said ‘Yes’, then I signed something.’
Despite recovering, the consequences of Covid have left him with problems with his eyesight, hearing and his memory.
He has described himself as ‘feeble’ since leaving hospital and said he had to learn to walk with a stick.
‘I think I’ve got various bits blocked off,’ he told the How Do You Cope? podcast. ‘I sometimes sit here of an evening trying to remember actors names.
‘Now I know (for) anyone over the age of 70 this does begin to happen anyway, but I was quite good before Covid.’
Rosen says that while he remembers the names of films or adverts that Hollywood stars Cruise, Streep and Clooney have appeared in – including Mission: Impossible, River Wild or the Nespresso commercials – their names escape him.
Michael Rosen’s wife, Emma-Louise Williams, shared a picture of the author on Twitter as he returned home for the first time following his battle with the illness and began recovering
‘I have some real weird blanks,’ he said. ‘I spent one evening determined not to go to the computer in order to try and remember Tom Cruise.
‘I spent a whole evening going ‘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 a ‘knife edge’ had changed him as a person.
‘I was so near to going…. It’s a reminder of how life is very impermanent,’ he said.
‘I get these, not exactly nightmares, but recurring images… and I don’t really want them there but I can’t get rid of them.’
‘I didn’t know about the seven weeks being in this induced coma until I came home and (his wife) Emma told me about it… I got quite upset about it…. That’s full of emotion for me, that people were just hanging in there.’