Majority of Polish medical panel quits in protest at government inaction on COVID – POLITICO

WARSAW – Thirteen of the 17 members of Poland’s medical council resigned on Friday, in protest of the country’s right-wing government ignoring their advice on how to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

In a scathing statement, the signatories, led by Robert Feliciak, president of the Polish Association of Epidemiologists, complained that their recommendations had “no effect” regarding action against the pandemic.

At the same time, they accused the PiS-led government of pandering to COVID-19 deniers and vaccine skeptics in a country that recently reported 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus – one of Europe’s highest epidemic toll in relation to population size.

We have been accused many times of not having enough influence on government actions. At the same time, we noted the growing tolerance of denial of the threat posed by COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination in the fight against the epidemic – which was also reflected in statements by members of the government and state officials,” the scientists wrote in a statement issued to the state-run PAP news agency.

The Polish government has long been accused of inaction: only 57 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated compared to the European Union average of 69 percent; Basic measures such as wearing masks indoors are poorly implemented; The government did not provide COVID-19 passports to access public places widely used in other European countries.

Recently, Health Minister Adam Nidzelsky said the high number of infections in the new year was an “anomaly” and ruled out further measures to contain the epidemic, even as the new highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus was smashing case records in countries such as the United Kingdom and Denmark. .

An international team of scientists warned last weekend that up to 20 million Poles – more than half the population – could contract Omicron this winter.

And despite data that Omicron causes milder disease, ease of transmission and low vaccination rates, Poland’s hospitals could overwhelm Poland’s hospitals and add 19,000 horrific deaths between January 20 and February 11, the Coronavirus Outbreak Modeling Group (MOCOS) predicted. Twitter.

“The discrepancy between scientific and medical thinking and practice became especially evident in the context of the very limited work in the face of the fall wave, and then in the face of the variable Omicron threat, despite the huge number of expected deaths,” the departing Medical Council members said in their statement, which was widely transmitted by the media. Polish media.

In response, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s government said in a statement that the Medical Council had provided “significant support” to the government and its crisis management team, while decisions were made on the basis of extensive consultations.

“The government’s role is to make decisions based on the various positions of experts – the medical council, economists and experts from other regions affected by the epidemic,” the government statement added.

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