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This is a long article (I'm halfway through - stopped for a break. Probably ~30 min read) from Reuters, who may or may not be considered a reliable source.
It shows how we fluffed it, and it isn't entirely central government's fault.
Into the fog: How Britain lost track of the coronavirus

Probably better than a public inquiry TBH.
Suppose you arrived from another planet and read this report and asked, ' so what was the rest of the country doing whilst this was going on?'.
Anyway.
This is a good report on our awareness or otherwise of the virus in Britain so far given there is still a long way to go.
But if we eventually have a public enquiry I can't see this having much relevance if the overriding question is, should we have had a lockdown?
And perhaps we fluffed it because the magnitude of what was happening to our economy was fogging the government's thinking.
 

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This is a long article (I'm halfway through - stopped for a break. Probably ~30 min read) from Reuters, who may or may not be considered a reliable source.
It shows how we fluffed it, and it isn't entirely central government's fault.
Into the fog: How Britain lost track of the coronavirus

Probably better than a public inquiry TBH.
Interesting read.
Huge amounts of back covering from start to finish and science will be hung out to dry in any future enquiry.
The problem, as ever, is that we have far too many chiefs and not enough indians.
As for the track and trace app, it's the usual bluster that technology can provide all the answers. A bit like climate change is going to be fixed by carbon capture.
 

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Interesting read.
Huge amounts of back covering from start to finish and science will be hung out to dry in any future enquiry.
The problem, as ever, is that we have far too many chiefs and not enough indians.
As for the track and trace app, it's the usual bluster that technology can provide all the answers. A bit like climate change is going to be fixed by carbon capture.
Agree, very good read, it’s very clear how badly the gov messed up reading through that in multiple areas. The decision to stop track and trace shines through as a particularly strong criticism.

It’s also interesting for me to read about the points where the UK made decisions at odds to what the rest of the world and scientific opinion was making, restricting the diagnosis of symptoms, removing track and trace, waiting to lockdown - A type of “we know better than you/them” mentality showing through?
 

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Agree, very good read, it’s very clear how badly the gov messed up reading through that in multiple areas. The decision to stop track and trace shines through as a particularly strong criticism.

It’s also interesting for me to read about the points where the UK made decisions at odds to what the rest of the world and scientific opinion was making, restricting the diagnosis of symptoms, removing track and trace, waiting to lockdown - A type of “we know better than you/them” mentality showing through?
It's easy with hindsight to point the finger of blame when nobody knew in advance exactly what they were dealing with.
I feel sorry for Whitty and his cohorts stuck between a rock and a hard place, having to make medical decisions while the government is constantly badgering them to take account of the economy. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

The long term prognosis is that no-one can be confident as to how this plays out, whether here in the UK, USA, Germany etc. It's one continuous steep learning curve and with the news that Leicester is now going into a localised lockdown a sign that we are nowhere near getting to grip with the problems that we face.

Roll on the winter, that could be, er....fun!
 

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It's easy with hindsight to point the finger of blame when nobody knew in advance exactly what they were dealing with.
I agree, hindsight does make it very easy, but as the article outlines when policy decisions were being made which were completely different to almost every other country then it’s right to ask what went wrong. That’s what the public inquiry should do to make sure similar mistakes aren’t made again


I feel sorry for Whitty and his cohorts stuck between a rock and a hard place, having to make medical decisions while the government is constantly badgering them to take account of the economy. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.
Agree, but as you say ultimately the blame doesn’t lie with them, the government makes the policy and so has to accept they made mistakes and learn from it, but I am sure that the government will do everything they can to blame the scientists
 

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I agree, hindsight does make it very easy, but as the article outlines when policy decisions were being made which were completely different to almost every other country then it’s right to ask what went wrong. That’s what the public inquiry should do to make sure similar mistakes aren’t made again




Agree, but as you say ultimately the blame doesn’t lie with them, the government makes the policy and so has to accept they made mistakes and learn from it, but I am sure that the government will do everything they can to blame the scientists
If and when we have a public enquiry it will need to concentrate on the mistakes made in shielding the most vulnerable whilst keeping the economy stable on the basis that an emergency situation should stimulate an economy rather than stagnate it.
 

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It's easy with hindsight to point the finger of blame when nobody knew in advance exactly what they were dealing with.
I feel sorry for Whitty and his cohorts stuck between a rock and a hard place, having to make medical decisions while the government is constantly badgering them to take account of the economy. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.
I agree, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and the Covid pandemic was, and still is, a completely new and unknown enemy.
Its not for the scientists to make decisions, they advise the government who take their input together with economists, business leaders, psychologists, etc etc. It is the government's job to make the decisions, and throughout that process they are the people stuck between the rock and hard place because, for example, following the science is in conflict with saving the economy.
For any sitting government it is loose/loose.
 

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I agree, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and the Covid pandemic was, and still is, a completely new and unknown enemy.
Its not for the scientists to make decisions, they advise the government who take their input together with economists, business leaders, psychologists, etc etc. It is the government's job to make the decisions, and throughout that process they are the people stuck between the rock and hard place because, for example, following the science is in conflict with saving the economy.
For any sitting government it is loose/loose.
"a completely new and unknown enemy" ?
That is the sort of alarmist language that has got us into this tragic madness.
To the vast majority of human bodies on this planet it is not completely new or unknown, how else would our bodies have dealt so well with it?
Even to those who have died from Covid-19 it was not so.
 

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Interesting point in the Reuters article that the 'modellers' may have had too much influence on policy, certainly around decisions on tracing.
 

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It's easy with hindsight to point the finger of blame when nobody knew in advance exactly what they were dealing with.
Mistakes are inevitable and you can't blame people when they are doing their best. The problem is that the government wasn't doing its best. It was driven by ideology, by wanting to be different and exceptional, and in the early days because Johnson just couldn't be bothered.

To make matters worse the backdrop is Cummings trying to destroy the civil service at a time when we desperately need it, and when trust in the government has never been lower. Ministers give advice and people just assume it's a lie or it doesn't really apply.

It's a very very toxic mixture at just the wrong moment in our history.
 

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Interesting point in the Reuters article that the 'modellers' may have had too much influence on policy, certainly around decisions on tracing.
I thought that too - i saw before that there had been criticisms about the make up of SAGE, but that was the first time it had been clarified to show that modellers had too much influence rather than people with actual hands on experience of dealing with an outbreak of a virus who were calling for track/trace and isolate/lockdown

Interesting as well as it pointed out that the modellers potentially condition the idea that the virus couldn't be stopped, which is why herd immunity was followed rather than focusing on containing the infections that were here and stopping any more coming in
 

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If and when we have a public enquiry it will need to concentrate on the mistakes made in shielding the most vulnerable whilst keeping the economy stable on the basis that an emergency situation should stimulate an economy rather than stagnate it.
My take from the article is that IF the government hadn't been asleep at the week and had closed borders, ramped up testing and focused on test/trace/isolate then a lockdown may not have been necessary - however as is was mishandled for months a lockdown was the only solution and it may have been the only solution

Its worth noting again, even countries without lockdown have seem serious economic damage - those that are doing the best are the ones that decisively took action, even if it was an early and hard lockdown
 

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To make matters worse the backdrop is Cummings trying to destroy the civil service at a time when we desperately need it, and when trust in the government has never been lower. Ministers give advice and people just assume it's a lie or it doesn't really apply.
Not just that, but one of the big lessons of the whole Iraq war was that intelligence and Politics need to be kept firmly away from each other, particularly if the intelligence is being relied on to make big policy decisions - the promotion of Frost to national security advisor in what is an extremely political move is very very worrying in that light
 

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Interesting read.
Huge amounts of back covering from start to finish and science will be hung out to dry in any future enquiry.
The problem, as ever, is that we have far too many chiefs and not enough indians.
As for the track and trace app, it's the usual bluster that technology can provide all the answers. A bit like climate change is going to be fixed by carbon capture.
Agree, an informative if uncomfortable read about blunders. Perhaps a little unfair about the ceasing of Test and Trace since the capacity to deal with large numbers was not available. Because in part it was not shared out to the local authorties and was being reserved for key workers to ensure the NHS did not go under.

It highlighted for me four underlying and enduring problems for the UK.

The failure of co-working between local and central government.
The hollowed-up services in part thanks to austerity that lack staff and resources to cope with a crisis.
The inability of central government to join-up cross-department and act quickly.
Poor leadership at many levels and poor communication.

Tragically they all look to be in play yet again with the muddled and delayed response to a local lock-down need for Leicester.

Since the need for a potential local lockdown has been known for weeks why seemingly has nobody written a plan on how to do it? Let alone have a practice exercise to sort out the pinch points.

I don't want to see the civil service lose its impartiality or continuity when governments change but it sure does need a shake up since the failure to delivery on policy is evident to all. I would support a move to regional government as both Wales and Scotland seem to have done much better in dealing with COVID-19 thus far.
 

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It highlighted for me four underlying and enduring problems for the UK.

The failure of co-working between local and central government.
The hollowed-up services in part thanks to austerity that lack staff and resources to cope with a crisis.
The inability of central government to join-up cross-department and act quickly.
Poor leadership at many levels and poor communication.
I think 'enduring' is the telling word there. Our various levels of government and management have been atrocious for decades - or longer.
I hope this incident might result in improvement, but I suspect that one of Murphy's corollaries will apply: "Where more than one person is involved the blame will never be placed."
 

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I thought that too - i saw before that there had been criticisms about the make up of SAGE, but that was the first time it had been clarified to show that modellers had too much influence rather than people with actual hands on experience of dealing with an outbreak of a virus who were calling for track/trace and isolate/lockdown

Interesting as well as it pointed out that the modellers potentially condition the idea that the virus couldn't be stopped, which is why herd immunity was followed rather than focusing on containing the infections that were here and stopping any more coming in
A late lockdown meant by the time compliance with lock-down was crumbling away, the numbers of daily infections had not come down enough to be able to start letting people out of their homes again. Post first peak coming down the curve has been very slow in the UK in contrast to others that held lock-down by very strong law enforcement.

So you have to be fast into lock-down to get the other side of the peak as SOON as possible. The focus was on the size of the peak not really considering the limited time that the population will comply with a lock-down if you do it the British policing way of consensus.
 
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