My dad died of Covid last Xmas – he’d still be here if China hadn’t lied
Chris Pollard www.thesun.co.uk
THE daughter of a UK Covid victim who fell ill last December says he and many more could still be alive if Beijing had not covered up the outbreak.
Jane Buckland blasted: “If China hadn’t lied to the rest of the world and kept this hidden for so long, it could have saved countless lives.”
Her dad Peter Attwood, 84, became ill with a mystery cough and fever shortly after Christmas — more than two months before officials discovered the virus was spreading in Britain.
Peter died in hospital in January, with heart failure and pneumonia initially blamed.
But tests have now shown Covid was a cause of death — making him the UK’s first recorded virus victim and the first outside China.
Jane, who fears he caught it off her, fell ill with Covid symptoms on December 15 — meaning the deadly bug could have been spreading here at least two weeks before China said it even existed.
Peter, from Chatham, Kent, had never travelled abroad.
Jane said: “Covid has obviously been around for much longer than we know. People have been talking about a cover-up but we don’t know the scale of it.
“My father could still be here if we’d known about the threat of this horrible virus earlier.”
MPs last night said Peter’s case showed China had conducted a sinister cover-up of its outbreak while letting the bug secretly spread around the world.
Jane, 46, said her dad’s coughing got so bad that he was admitted to hospital on January 7.
She said: “The doctors did every test under the sun but couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.
“His blood tests showed a high level of infection but they had no idea what it was.
“He died on January 30 and the provisional death certificate said it was heart failure and pneumonia.
“The virus was obviously running rampant in this country back in December or maybe even earlier.
“China was covering it up from the beginning.
“I had all the Covid symptoms — dry cough, fever, aches and pains, diarrhoea — before Christmas, but no one knew what it was.
“I went to Christmas parties and was hugging and kissing everyone, even people I didn’t know. That’s what people do at Christmas.
“If we’d known we were possibly spreading a deadly virus, things could have been very different.
“It’s no wonder so many people in this country ended up dying from it. How many lives could have been saved if we’d known what was really going on?
“My dad was elderly and had an underlying heart condition, so he would have been shielding.”
‘MISLEADING THE WORLD’
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said The Sun’s revelations offered damning proof China misled the world about the extent of its Covid outbreak last year.
He said: “This has absolutely proved positive that what was going on back in October in China, where doctors were speaking out and then were silenced, was that China knew all about human to human transfer about this virus and did nothing about it.
“Secondly, the World Health Organisation is also guilty because they failed to press China back in November and December when it became obvious that China had at least an epidemic on their hands.
“None of this was done until later — only at the end of January did China admit it had a problem. Then, it wasn’t until March 11 that the WHO declared a pandemic.”
The Sun says
HAD China come clean about Covid from the off, Peter Attwood might be alive today.
So might many of our 41,586 victims and hundreds of thousands worldwide.
Some scientists believe the disease erupted in Wuhan as early as last October.
China’s instinct was to lie, to cover it up, to play it down, to silence whistle-blowers.
An early global warning might have seen Peter, an 84-year-old heart patient, self-isolate for his protection.
It might even have persuaded Public Health England to grasp Covid’s seriousness, which it shamefully failed to do.
PHE was still minimising the dangers and bragging about its preparations at the end of February. By then Peter had been dead nearly a month.
No one yet knows Covid’s exact origins. And we do not blame China’s people.
But through its secrecy and deceit their Communist regime has worsened the damage this plague has inflicted on the world. One day it must make amends.
Boss of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Tory MP Tom Tugendhat said: “China’s secrecy over the emergence of Covid has put at risk millions.”
Doctors saved some of Peter’s lung tissue because they suspected he may have had asbestosis, a lung condition caused by working around asbestos.
Deaths from it have to be referred to a coroner.
But Peter, a retired car dealership company secretary never worked with asbestos.
Last Thursday, Jane got an email from Kent coroner Bina Patel saying post-mortem tests had detected coronavirus in his lung tissue.
Miss Patel recorded his cause of death as “Covid-19 infection and bronchopneumonia”.
Previously, the earliest-recorded case of coronavirus caught in the UK was February 21.
It was only on March 5 that England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said community transmission was likely to be happening inside the UK.
University of East Anglia Professor of Medicine Paul Hunter said of Peter’s case: “This is a remarkable development because it shows there was some virus transmission in the UK before anyone realised.”
How dad’s Covid case unfolded
DECEMBER 15, 2019: Jane comes down with Covid symptoms, but dismisses it as a bad cold. She continues to attend Christmas parties and care for her elderly parents.
DECEMBER 21: A cluster of patients with an unknown pneumonia-like illness are identified in China.
DECEMBER 28: Jane’s dad Peter starts suffering from a dry cough. His symptoms continue to worsen.
DECEMBER 31: China alerts the World Health Organisation of the new virus, which has spread in the Wuhan area.
JANUARY 2, 2020: Jane’s asthmatic daughter Megan, 18, has difficulty breathing.
JANUARY 7: Peter has become very ill and is struggling to breathe, so is admitted to a Kent hospital.
JANUARY 11: A 61-year-old man in Wuhan becomes the world’s first known casualty of the virus, believed to have originated in a wet market.
JANUARY 15: Doctors are puzzled by Peter’s illness. Blood tests show a high level of infection, but they are unsure what has caused it.
JANUARY 30: Peter dies. The cause is recorded as heart failure and pneumonia but doctors take tissue samples for further testing.
JANUARY 31: Two Chinese tourists from Wuhan are diagnosed with Covid-19 in York.
FEBRUARY 6: Stephen Walsh, from Brighton, becomes the UK’s third confirmed case. He caught it in Singapore and gave it to others on ski trip.
FEBRUARY 15: The first reported coronavirus death in Europe after 80-year-old Chinese tourist dies in France
FEBRUARY 28: The first British victim dies on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
MARCH 5: The first death is confirmed in the UK as cases of Covid-19 surge.
MARCH 26: New laws give police powers to enforce lockdown. Non-essential shops and businesses are forced to close. Parliament shuts.
SEPTEMBER 3: Kent coroner Bina Patel tells Jane her father died from Covid-19.