How Chris Whitty brushed off TikTok abuse outside Mexican grill

‘It comes with the job’: How Chris Whitty brushed off TikTok abuse outside Mexican grill – as chef reveals jacketless chief medical officer played things ‘really cool’ as he picked up his weekly rice, beans and guacamole lunchbox

  • Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty was harassed while waiting for Mexican food at Strutton Ground market
  • Footage shows youth videoing him in Westminster, branding him a liar throughout the clip filmed yesterday
  • Despite the abuse, Mr Whitty calmly ignored the unnamed youth as he continued standing in line for food
  • Matt Hancock said: ‘Chris Whitty is a scientist of great repute and he should be respected by everybody’
  • ** Do you know the youth or anything about the incident? Please email us at: [email protected] **

Chris Whitty brushed off being abused by a maskless TikTok user while waiting for his Mexican lunch in Westminster – saying to the market stall owner: ‘It comes with the job’, MailOnline can reveal today.

The young man, who calls himself ‘AA Bants’, repeatedly accused the Chief Medical Officer yesterday lunchtime of ‘lying’ to Britain about the pandemic that has already claimed more than 100,000 lives in the UK.

But Rory Fischelt, 50, owner of the Santana Grill market stall on Strutton Ground, said today that Mr Whitty was ‘really cool’ and told him most people are ‘really nice’ but ‘from time to time things like this happen’.

Mr Fischelt, who has run the stall for seven years, also revealed Mr Whitty buys lunch there once a week and normally opts for a ‘lunchbox’ which includes rice, Mexican beans, salad, guacamole and carnitas pork.

The clip shows Mr Whitty saying hello to passers-by but refusing to be goaded by the man who films him standing in a queue while saying: ‘You’re a liar. Mandem is a liar. You lie about the Covid-19 cases, man. Stop lying to the TV’.

It comes as:

  • National hero Sir Captain Tom Moore died in hospital aged 100 after his battle with coronavirus; 
  • Britain recorded 16,840 Covid cases in its lowest daily figure in eight weeks as deaths fell to 1,449; 
  • Covid-19 cases only rose in four English local authorities last week, Public Health England said; 
  • A study found a single shot of the Oxford Covid jab may block seven in ten from spreading the virus;
  • Scotland’s top medic blamed its sluggish vaccine rollout on GPs who ‘don’t all work on Sundays’.

Today, Mr Fischelt told MailOnline: ‘We were opening for service and Mr Whitty just came for his usual lunch and this young man, who is just young and stupid, he’s just a kid, started verbally abusing Mr Whitty, calling him a liar. 

‘Mr Whitty was really cool. I just asked the young man to walk away. Then he left and I started to talk to Mr Whitty and he was really cool, really cool, ‘it comes with the job’, he said. 

The clip shows Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty saying hello to passers-by in Westminster but refusing to be goaded by the man who films him standing in a queue while saying: ‘You’re a liar. Mandem is a liar. You lie about the Covid-19 cases, man’

Rory Fischelt and his daughter Emilia Fischelt at the Santana Grill stall at Strutton Ground today, a day after the incident

Mr Fischelt revealed Mr Whitty buys lunch there once a week and normally opts for a ‘lunchbox’ which includes rice, Mexican beans, salad, guacamole and carnitas pork (pictured today)

Mr Fischelt, pictured serving a ‘lunchbox’ today, said that Mr Whitty was ‘really cool’ and told him most people are ‘really nice’ but ‘from time to time things like this happen’

The incident happened on Strutton Ground market in Westminster yesterday lunchtime. The area is pictured today

‘He said that most people are really nice to him but from time to time things like this happen.’ Mr Fischelt added; ‘He comes once a week. He gets a lunchbox – rice, Mexican beans, salad and guacamole and carnitas.’

Asked if he was shocked by what happened, Mr Fischelt said: ‘Yes, because no one should behave that way, but no, because the guy is a public figure so I suppose.

Single shot of Oxford University’s Covid jab ‘is 76% effective for 12 weeks and may block seven in 10 people from spreading the disease’ 

A single shot of Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine is 76 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic illness and may have a ‘substantial effect’ on transmission, research suggests.

In a huge boost to the UK’s immunisation drive, analysis of the jab trials found the first dose was extremely successful in preventing people from falling ill within the 12-week time window between getting a second dose.

When the second dose is administered after three months, the jab’s efficacy is bumped up to 82.4 per cent, according to the study, which has been submitted to The Lancet for publication. 

The results, from more than 17,000 trial volunteers, suggest Britain’s vaccination gamble to delay its dosing regimen has paid off.

In a bid to get wider vaccine coverage quicker, regulators pivoted from their original plan to give people their second dose after 21 days when the Oxford University/AstraZeneca jab was approved in late December.

They pushed back the second dose for 12 weeks in the hope that giving partial protection to as many vulnerable people as possible would drive down hospital admissions.

Boris Johnson tweeted: ‘Really encouraging data from a new study today shows the Oxford/AZ vaccine provides significant protection against the virus.’

The strategy has helped make Britain a world-leader in vaccinations, with 9.6million people now injected with at least a single dose of either Pfizer’s or AstraZeneca’s jab.

Meanwhile, analysis of PCR positive swabs carried out on nearly 7,000 patients in the UK arm of Oxford’s trial suggests the vaccine may reduce transmission by 67 per cent.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the findings as ‘hugely encouraging’, adding: ‘It further reinforces our confidence that vaccines are capable of reducing transmission and protecting people from this awful disease.’

Dr Gillies O’Bryan-Tear, of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, said the study suggested the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could be the ‘holy grail’.

‘Obviously we were defending Mr Whitty with the guy, asking him to leave him alone, and the young lad just walked away, and we just proceed to serve Mr Whitty.

And asked if anyone else was involved, Mr Fischelt said: ‘It just was that young fella. Everybody was just looking, it’s just everybody minding their business.’

A Metropolitan Police spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We are aware of a video posted to social media showing an incident that is alleged to have occurred in Strutton Ground, Westminster around midday on February 2.

‘Police have received a third party report. There is currently no investigation.’

It came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock today branded the TikToker ‘pathetic’ and ‘ridiculous’.

Asked about the incident at Strutton Ground Market near Victoria Station, Mr Hancock told the BBC: ‘I think the individual concerned is pathetic, I think it is ridiculous what he is doing.

‘Chris Whitty is one of our greatest living scientists and his advice to the Government all the way through this, and his advice to all of us in the population, has been incredibly smart and thoughtful, and he is a great asset to this nation. The idea that someone would do something as silly as that is ridiculous.’

He added: ‘Chris Whitty is a scientist of great repute and, frankly, he should be respected by everybody. He’s got the big calls right and this man, is not even worth commenting on, this character’.

The Department of Health told MailOnline it is aware of the video and is investigating. TikTok appears to have suspended the young man’s account.

Prof Whitty has become a household name during the pandemic, appearing alongside Prime Minster Boris Johnson at Downing Street briefings while spearheading the fight against the virus.  

The video led to outrage with Britons and MPs slamming the youth for his abuse of Mr Whitty. Conservative MP Matt Vickers shared the footage on Twitter and said: ‘This is appalling, I really can’t believe this footage. 

‘Chris Whitty is doing all he can to help guide us through this crisis and should never be subjected to this abuse.’ 

He also told the Guardian: ‘The chief medical officer is working day in and day out to help guide our nation through this unprecedented crisis and I think all of us, no matter your political affiliation can agree the man is doing his absolute best. 

‘As the clouds of this pandemic continue to part, I think those like Professor Chris Whitty will be seen as heroes who stepped up, did their job and led us through the darkest of hours. 

‘As for the young man in the video, the less said the better. Perhaps he should be made to volunteer on a Covid ward. Perhaps then he will feel a pinch of shame and embarrassment for his dangerous conspiracies and yobbish behaviour.’

Reacting to the video, one person wrote online: ‘This is terrible to witness such appalling behaviour and harassment! Chris Witty is a well recognised scientist doing a difficult job. Besides, nobody deserves to be insulted and humiliated like this.’

A second said: ‘Nasty abusive behavior I’m horrified. Unacceptable.’ 

While a third added: ‘Politics aside no one deserves to be harassed in the street for doing their job. Just shows the immaturity and lack of respect some have.’ 

Professor Chris Whitty has become a household name during the pandemic, appearing alongside Prime Minster Boris Johnson at Downing Street briefings while spearheading the fight against the virus. They are pictured together in December

Only four local authorities recorded more cases in the seven days to January 28 (left) than the seven days to January 21 (right)

As the face of the NHS’s virus battle, he has been both championed and criticised by Britons over the course of the pandemic. 

Health chiefs spot 33 more cases of South African Covid variant in Britain, 11 people with a separate ‘super-mutant’ strain in Bristol and a cluster of an evolved virus in Liverpool

Another 33 cases of the troublesome South African Covid variant have been spotted in Britain, health chiefs revealed today amid growing fears over mutant strains that experts say could make vaccines less effective.

Public Health England claimed 143 people have now been struck down with the variant since it was first discovered on British soil in December – including five in Scotland and nine in Wales. None have been found in Northern Ireland.

In yet another potential twist to the UK’s coronavirus crisis, officials today also announced they have found 11 cases of the Kent coronavirus variant which carries an extra mutation in Bristol.

And 32 people in Liverpool have been struck down with the original strain of the virus that has the same mutation – scientifically known as E484K. MailOnline understands the cases were spotted three weeks ago.

Matt Hancock announced both discoveries in the House of Commons today, revealing that a new door-to-door testing blitz was being rushed to both cities in a last-ditch attempt to stop the mutations spreading further.

The E484K mutation – also found in the South African and Brazilian variants – appears to boost the virus’s ability to avoid the immune system, raising the risk of reinfections or the current crop of vaccines being less effective.

It has appeared separately in cases of both the Kent variant and on the original version of the virus. Neither are yet being described as new variants but represent physical differences to the virus that could change how it behaves.


The harassment of Mr Whitty comes amid a surge of conspiracy theories about the virus. 

Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour leader Jeremy, has emerged as a key figure for Covid-deniers.  

He has been arrested at least twice in 2021 for repeatedly breaching lockdown to protest against lockdown measures intended to slow the spread of Covid-19. 

On January 2, Mr Corbyn was among 17 people who were arrested for breaching Health Protection Regulations at the demonstration at Speaker’s Corner, in Hyde Park.

A crowd of between 200 and 300 people gathered to protest against lockdown restrictions and their civil liberties being curtailed. 

It came after Corbyn was fined and arrested on New Year’s Day after leading a New Year’s Eve anti-lockdown protest near the London Eye, in the centre of the capital.

Mr Corbyn a video of what was dubbed the ‘NYE Party of Parties’ on his Twitter feed, proclaiming: ‘TOTAL SUCCESS! #NYEPartyofParties by London Eye. 

‘Over 1000 defied all threats +chanted #LetLondonLive! & #Corbyn4London after I announced I will stand for Mayor! Thank you +well done all!’ 

The conspiracy theorist has now been arrested at least five times since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and has received fines totalling more than £10,000. 

It comes as the UK posted another 16,840 coronavirus cases in the lowest daily rise for eight weeks, according to official figures that offers more proof lockdown restrictions are thwarting the second wave. 

Department of Health data shows new Covid infections have halved in a fortnight and dropped 16.2 per cent week-on-week. 

Health chiefs also revealed a further 1,449 deaths, marking a drop of 11.2 per cent from last Tuesday’s toll of 1,631 fatalities due to the disease. Deaths have been falling across Britain since January 23.

And Government statistics also revealed 10million vaccine doses have now been dished out across the UK, with 9.6million Britons having received their first dose. Ministers are racing to meet their target of inoculating 15million of the most vulnerable by mid-February.   

Data also shows infection rates increased in only four English local authorities last week as lockdown restrictions continued to slow coronavirus transmission.

It means just 1 per cent of the country recorded a week-on-week increase of cases in the seven days to January 28, according to Public Health England figures.

The areas were Melton in Suffolk, East Lindsey in Lincolnshire, the Derbyshire Dales, and Oldham in Greater Manchester. 

The other 311 authorities saw the prevalence of Covid-19 wane since the previous week, ending January 21.

** Do you know the youth or anything about the incident? Please email us at: [email protected] ** 

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