17. October 2021

‘Slap in the face’: Report finds Britain’s slow virus lockdown cost 1000s of lives


Bereaved households reacted to the parliamentary report with outrage, livid that the individuals who died of COVID-19 obtained scant point out in the 150-page doc. They mentioned the joint committee solely was in “speaking to their colleagues and friends”.

“The report it’s produced is laughable and more interested in political arguments about whether you can bring laptops to…meetings than it is in the experiences of those who tragically lost parents, partners or children to COVID-19,″⁣ said Hannah Brady, spokesperson for COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice.

“This is an attempt to ignore and gaslight bereaved families, who will see it as a slap in the face.″⁣

Dominic Cummings has created a firestorm with his account of the Johnson government’s handling of the outbreak.

Dominic Cummings has created a firestorm with his account of the Johnson government’s handling of the outbreak.Credit:AP

Lawmakers released their findings amid frustration with the timetable for a formal public inquiry into the government’s response to COVID-19. Johnson says the inquiry will start next spring.

The report was based on testimony from 50 witnesses, including former Health Secretary Matt Hancock and former government insider Dominic Cummings. It was unanimously approved by 22 lawmakers from the three largest parties in Parliament: the governing Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party and the Scottish National Party.

The committees praised the government’s early focus on vaccines as the ultimate way out of the pandemic and its decision to invest in vaccine development. These decisions led to Britain’s successful inoculation program, which has seen almost 80 per cent of people 12 and over now fully vaccinated.

The pandemic raged through Britain. Ambulances lined up at a hospital in January.

The pandemic raged through Britain. Ambulances lined up at a hospital in January.Credit:Getty

“Millions of lives will ultimately be saved as a result of the global vaccine effort in which the UK has played a leading part,” the committees mentioned.

But in addition they criticised the authorities’s test-and-trace program, saying its slow, unsure and infrequently chaotic efficiency hampered Britain’s response to the pandemic.


The authorities’s technique throughout the first three months of the disaster mirrored official scientific recommendation that widespread an infection was inevitable on condition that testing capability was restricted; that there was no instant prospect for a vaccine; and the perception that the public wouldn’t settle for a prolonged lockdown, the report mentioned.

As a end result, the authorities sought merely to handle the unfold of the virus, as a substitute of attempting to cease it altogether.

The report described this as a “serious early error” that Britain shared with many international locations in Europe and North America.

“There was a groupthink that the way you tackle a pandemic should be similar to a flu pandemic,” Jeremy Hunt, a former British well being minister who now heads Parliament’s well being committee, mentioned. “I was part of that groupthink, too, when I was health secretary. ”

Hunt mentioned that earlier than the coronavirus hit, “an American university said we were the second-best prepared country in the world” for a pandemic.

“We know that clearly wasn’t the case,” he mentioned.

Trish Greenhalgh, a professor of main care well being providers at the University of Oxford, mentioned the report “hints at a less-than-healthy″⁣ relationship between government and scientific bodies. With COVID-19 still killing hundreds of people every week in Britain, advisory committees continue to debate exactly what evidence is “sufficiently definitive” to be thought-about sure, she mentioned.

“Uncertainty is a defining feature of crises,″⁣ Greenhalgh said.

“Dare we replace ‘following the science’ with ‘deliberating on what best to do when the problem is urgent but certainty eludes us’? This report suggests that unless we wish to continue to repeat the mistakes of the recent past, we must.”

Even senior officers like Cummings and Hancock informed the committees they had been reluctant to push again in opposition to scientific consensus.

Hancock mentioned as early as January 28, 2020, he discovered it tough to push for widespread testing of individuals who didn’t present signs of COVID-19 as a result of scientific advisers mentioned it wouldn’t be helpful.

“I was in a situation of not having hard evidence that a global scientific consensus of decades was wrong but having an instinct that it was,” he testified. “I bitterly regret that I did not overrule that scientific advice.”


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