Good Morning Britain: Doctor Slammed For Calling Sarah Everard Vigils And Protests 'Super-Spreaders'
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock
The vigil, held Saturday night in Clapham Common, was to remember Sarah, who vanished earlier this month as she walked to Brixton from her friend's house. She was later found dead in woodlands in Kent, with Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens having been charged with Sarah's kidnap and murder.
While the vigil was cancelled by its organisers after it was deemed unlawful due to coronavirus lockdown measures, thousands of people still showed up in Clapham Common to pay their respects to Sarah.
Looking at photos from the event, Dr Hilary claimed that the vigil would contribute to "a third wave" of coronavirus deaths.
"All those people are wearing masks - most of them are - but masks alone don't protect us from Covid-19, and we will see another wave," he said.
"It's going to take two or three weeks to see a spike as a result of the mass gathering, this is a doctor talking now, if you have a mass gathering for any cause, and I know how important the Sarah Everard protest is...
"However, when you get a lot of people together, you are going to spread Covid-19, you are going to see deaths further down the line."
When presenter Susanna Reid quizzed Dr Hilary on the fact that transmission of the disease is far lower outdoors, he replied: "It's less, but we said that before Cheltenham, and that was a super-spreading event - we have to be really careful that whenever people get together whatever the cause and how strongly they feel, it is putting lives at risk down the line.
"I am all in favour of peaceful protests, with a cause as important as this, but there must be creative ways of doing this."
Dr Hilary's comments did not go down too well with viewers, with many taking to Twitter to express frustration at some of his remarks.
"Dr Hilary, ugh go away," wrote one viewer. " Criticising Sarah's vigil and saying about himself 'this is a doctor speaking now' to Ben and Susannah, omg I do not like his arrogant attitude!"
"Dr Hilary comparing Cheltenham to the #SarahEverard protest and saying deaths will follow, what a quack," said a second. "He should be sacked for scaremongering."
Shocking scenes emerged from Clapham Common on Saturday night, where police were photographed pushing and man-handling women who turned up to peacefully pay their respects.
Their response has been widely criticised by politicians and senior figures, with protests against violence against women and police brutality taking place on Sunday and Monday evening in response.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has since called for a review of policing of the event - however, Met Police Chief Cressida Dick has ruled out resigning following the controversy.
"Quite rightly, as far as I can see, my team felt that this is now an unlawful gathering which poses a considerable risk to people's health," she told the BBC. "I don't think anybody who was not in the operation can actually pass a detailed comment on the rightness and wrongness... This is fiendishly difficult policing.
"What happened makes me more determined, not less, to lead my organisation."