Sajid Javid accused of ‘insulting’ Covid dead in now-deleted Tweet about ‘cowering’ from the virus

Sunday, 25th July 2021, 11:03 am
Sajid Javid accused of ‘insulting’ Covid dead in now-deleted Tweet about ‘cowering’ from the virus (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has been criticised for saying people need to “live with, rather than cower from” Covid. 

Bereaved family groups and opposition MPs have said the now-deleted Tweet was insulting to those who’ve lost loved ones. 

Sajid Javid shared a Tweet on Saturday (24 July) revealing that he has recovered from Covid a week after testing positive.

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In the Tweet, Javid said the symptoms were “very mild, thanks to amazing vaccines”.

He also urged people to get the jab, before saying that society “has to learn to live with, rather than cower from, the virus”.

'Words matter'

His comments were met with widespread anger, with many people feeling that the word “cower” is insulting to those who’ve died or at serious risk from Covid, such as those with autoimmune issues.

Javid has now deleted the Tweet.

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said: “129,000 Brits have died from Covid under your Government’s watch.

“Don’t denigrate people for trying to keep themselves and their families safe.

Co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Jo Goodman said: “Not only are [the comments] hurtful to bereaved families, implying our loved ones were too cowardly to fight the virus, but they insult all those still doing their best to protect others from the devastation this horrific virus can bring.

“Words matter and the flippancy and carelessness of this comment has caused deep hurt and further muddied the waters of the Government’s dangerously mixed messaging.”


Javid received a positive test result on July 17 for a coronavirus infection that ultimately sent Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak into isolation as contacts.

Johnson’s quarantine in his Chequers country residence is expected to finish at the end of the day on Monday, as is Mr Sunak’s.

The pair initially tried to avoid isolation by saying they were taking part in a testing pilot, but backed down in the face of widespread public criticism.

Javid replaced Matt Hancock as Health Secretary last month when the scandal-hit predecessor stood down amid public outrage after leaked CCTV footage showed him kissing an aide in breach of coronavirus rules.

The successor has been seen as more strongly in favour of lifting coronavirus restrictions and most remaining legal rules in England were ended on Monday.