And Chris Whitty has developed something of a fan following among the public for his straight-talking, trustworthy and unflappable nature at the press conferences.
Now, a range of merchandise has been brought out in appreciation of England’s chief medical officer – from mugs to T-shirts, and birthday cards to cardboard masks.
Among them is a £10 mug referencing Dub Be Good to Me, saying: ‘Hands, face, space, walk jam nitty-gritty; You’re listening to advice from Professor Chris Whitty.’
There are birthday cards with his face on, with one stating: ‘The science is saying that you are one year older’ – and another: ‘If you’ve planned anything, unplan it.’
This 11oz Chris Whitty appreciation mug is available on Amazon for £9.99 plus £3.68 delivery
A T-shirt referring to Chris Whitty asking for the ‘next slide’ in press conferences is £13.99
A Chris Whitty card for anyone celebrating a lockdown birthday is on sale on Amazon for £2.99
A Chris Whitty cardboard mask with cutout holes for eyes is on sale for £2.89 on Amazon
And there is a range of T-shirts and mugs with the phrase ‘next slide please’ in reference to him asking for a following graphic during the press conferences.
Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam, who also regularly appears at the press conferences, has inspired his own range of products from T-shirts to mugs.
Among them is an £8.95 mug saying ‘J.V. Tea’ and a £33.99 hoodie with his face on, saying ‘The Prof. Jonathan Van-Tam Appreciation Society’.
But Mr Whitty is clearly the most popular, with 290 results for ‘Chris Whitty’ across eBay and Amazon, while ‘Jonathan Van-Tam’ returns 59 over the two websites.
Last night, Mr Whitty dismissed a Covid denier who verbally attacked him in the street in Westminster on Tuesday as a ‘young lad, showing off’.
This Chris Whitty mug referencing him asking for the ‘next slide’ in press conferences is £9.99
A Chris Whitty retro neon T-shirt is available for fans of the scientist for £7.99 on eBay
Another birthday card with Chris Whitty’s face on the front is on sale on Amazon for £3
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty speaks during a media briefing at Downing Street yesterday
Asked about the incident at the No 10 briefing yesterday, Mr Whitty said: ‘The odd young lad, showing off, occasionally happens. I didn’t think anything of it frankly…
‘I’m sure he’ll become a model citizen in due course and hopefully more like Captain Tom – the kind of person who I think much more exemplifies the spirit of the UK.’
Mr Whitty was confronted at lunchtime in a street food market near the Department of Health, from where he has helped lead the response to the pandemic.
In the clip, which was uploaded to TikTok, ‘AA Bants’ says: ‘You’re a liar. Mandem is a liar.’ He adds: ‘You lie about the Covid-19 cases man. Stop lying to the TV.’
Mr Whitty remained impressively calm throughout the encounter at Strutton Ground market, refusing to be goaded, and instead said hello to passers-by.
This black T-shirt in appreciation of Jonathan Van-Tam is available on eBay for £7.99
Those wishing to show their support of Professor Van-Tam can get this £8.95 mug on eBay
This £33.99 hoodie on Amazon says: ‘The Prof. Jonathan Van-Tam Appreciation Society’
A cotton snood is available for £14.99 on eBay in appreciation of Professor Jonathan Van-Tam
This £7.99 mug references the Boston United fan’s use of football-related phrases in briefings
Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam at a Downing Street media briefing last week
The 15-year-old boy’s mother told MailOnline she had confiscated his PlayStation and also told also told him to make another video apologising to Mr Whitty.
Also at yesterday’s press conference, Mr Whitty said the prospect of all adults receiving both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine by August is ‘very optimistic’.
He said the rollout was ‘extraordinarily fast’ with more than 10 million people in the UK having now received their first dose, but there were supply constraints.
Mr Whitty said ‘logistics aren’t about optimism’ when he was asked about the timescale of every adult being offered a first dose by May and a second by August.
He also said that those who have received their first dose will soon be due for the second jab, which will ‘inevitably slow things down’ in the rollout.