Yep. And in the aftermath of a retrospective damning Commons inquiry into the government’s mayhem handling of the Covid-19 outbreak, Shapps has insisted that the government was
‘prepared for A pandemic’,
but the problem was just they
“weren’t prepared for THIS one”
and events occurred as reported below from the Guardian:
The inquiry ‘Coronavirus: lessons learnt’ (or NOT?) found the Covid response was ‘one of UK’s worst ever public health failures’, when the early handling and belief in ‘herd immunity’ led to more deaths,
Britain’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic was one of the worst public health failures in UK history, with ministers and scientists taking a “fatalistic” approach that exacerbated the death toll, the landmark inquiry has found.
“Groupthink”, evidence of British exceptionalism and a deliberately “slow and gradualist” approach meant the UK fared “significantly worse” than OTHER countries, according to the 151-page “Coronavirus: lessons learned to date” report led by two former Conservative ministers.
A 2016 exercise warned of the need to stockpile PPE four YEARS before the Covid pandemic hit. Coronavirus report warned of impact on UK four years BEFORE the pandemic
The crisis exposed “major deficiencies in the machinery of government”, with public bodies unable to share vital information and scientific advice impaired by a lack of transparency, input from international experts and meaningful challenge.
Despite being one of the FIRST countries to develop a test for Covid in January 2020, the UK “squandered” its lead and “converted it into one of permanent crisis”. The consequences were profound, the report says. “For a country with a world-class expertise in data analysis, to face the biggest health crisis in 100 years with virtually no data to analyse was an almost unimaginable setback.”
PM Boris Johnson did not order a complete lockdown until 23 March 2020, two months AFTER the government’s Sage committee of scientific advisers first met to discuss the crisis. “This slow and gradualist approach was not inadvertent, nor did it reflect bureaucratic delay or disagreement between ministers and their advisers. It was a deliberate policy – proposed by official scientific advisers and adopted by the governments of all of the nations of the UK,” the report says.
“It is now clear that this was the WRONG policy, and that it led to a higher initial death toll than would have resulted from a more emphatic early policy. In a pandemic spreading rapidly and exponentially, every week counted.”
Decisions on lockdowns and social distancing during the early weeks of the pandemic – and the advice that led to them – “rank as one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced”, the report concludes, stressing: “This happened despite the UK counting on some of the best expertise available anywhere in the world, and despite having an open, democratic system that allowed plentiful challenge.”
The report from the Commons Science And Technology committee and the Health And Social Care committee draws on evidence from more than 50 witnesses, including the former health secretary Matt Hancock, the government’s chief scientific and medical advisers, and leading figures from the vaccine taskforce and NHS Test and Trace.
It celebrates some aspects of the UK’s Covid response, in particular the rapid development, approval and delivery of vaccines, and the world-leading Recovery trial that identified life-saving treatments, but is highly critical of other areas.
Some of the most serious early failings, the report suggests, resulted from apparent groupthink among scientists and ministers which led to “fatalism”. Greg Clark, the chair of the science and technology committee, said he dismissed the allegation that government policy sought to reach “herd immunity” through infection but the outcome came to be seen as the only viable option.
“It was more a reflection of fatalism,” Clark said. “That if you don’t have the prospect of a vaccine being developed, if you think people won’t obey instructions to lockdown for very long, and have a wholly inadequate ability to test, trace and isolate people, that is what you are left with.”
The “impossibility” of suppressing the virus was only challenged, the MPs say, when it became clear the NHS could be overwhelmed.
The report questions WHY international experts were not part of the UK scientific advisory process and why measures that worked in other countries were NOT brought in as a precaution, as a response was hammered out.
While Public Health England told the MPs it had formally studied and rejected the South Korean approach, NO EVIDENCE was provided despite repeated requests.
“We must conclude that no formal evaluation took place, which amounts to an extraordinary and negligent omission given Korea’s success in containing the pandemic, which was well publicised at the time,” the report says.
The MPs said the government’s decision to HALT mass testing in March 2020 – days AFTER the World Health Organization called for “painstaking contact tracing and rigorous quarantine of close contacts” – was a “serious mistake”.
When the test, trace and isolate system was rolled out it was “slow, uncertain and often chaotic”, “ultimately failed in its stated objective to prevent future lockdowns”, and “severely hampered the UK’s response to the pandemic”. The problem was compounded, the report adds, by the failure of public bodies to share data, including between national and local government.
Further criticism is levelled at poor protection in Care Homes, for black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and for people with learning disabilities.
Prof Trish Greenhalgh, of the University of Oxford, said the report hinted at a “less than healthy relationship” between government and its scientific advisory bodies. “It would appear that even senior government ministers were reluctant to push back on scientific advice that seemed to go against common sense interpretations of the unfolding crisis,” she said.
“It would appear that Sage, Cobra, Public Health England and other bodies repeatedly dismissed the precautionary principle in favour of NOT taking decisive action until definitive evidence emerged and could be signed off as the truth.”
Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said the report was damning. Hannah Brady, of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group, said the report found the deaths of 150,000 people were “redeemed” by the success of the vaccine rollout.
“The report … is laughable and more interested in political arguments about whether you can bring laptops to Cobra meetings than it is in the experiences of those who tragically lost parents, partners or children to Covid-19. This is an attempt to ignore and gaslight bereaved families, who will see it as a slap in the face,” she said.
The content of the Commons inquiry report is particularly galling considering that articles were posted here in real time and updated daily identifying the ongoing multiple government failures which not least included concentrating primarily on a vaccine solution with solely long term applicability instead of prioritising developing ‘immediate’ medication treatments or indeed the government ordering millions of vaccine doses with no plan whatsoever to actually jab people, so they left that critical exercise to a twelfth hour bodge job requiring volunteer efforts!
The worst thing about it all is that government incompetence has continued unabated since those early days, hence back in July this year the new Health Secretary Sajid Javid together with PM Johnson courted popularism by abandoning England’s crucial defences against the virus, widely dubbed as “Freedom Day” JULY 19 (postponed from original 21 JUNE by four weeks), combined with a total absence of leadership from the Government on mask wearing, or doing things differently which meant looking out for each other and not buying the “Freedom Day” rhetoric, when implementing the badly mistaken opinion that the pandemic virus had already been defeated so basic life could return to normal – England removed COVID-19 restrictions as cases rose again and while the rules vanished the virus didn’t! The decision to ditch most coronavirus restrictions was strongly criticized by many medical professionals who had been at the forefront in the fight against COVID [The decision to remove the restrictions came as the UK reported 48,161 new cases and 25 COVID-related deaths over a 24-hour period]. Since then, there has been many million more virus cases and thousands of deaths which could have been avoided – Javid through his irresponsible action and following inaction is accountable but like the others before him, he doesn’t take responsibility, does he? NO AND WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO SAY NOW TO THE BEREAVED? Also, countless people of all ages will now suffer for years with long-covid [unexplained symptoms that are usually in younger people and usually people who didn’t initially have to be in the hospital or weren’t severely sick with COVID] and for which there is a severe lack of treatment centres
Our incompetent government is relying on vaccinations and boosters alone to save the day (yet hasn’t brought in legislation to stop anti-vaxxers actively spreading misinformation about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines on social media to discourage others from taking up offered vaccinations. Moreover, its commonly predicted that new Covid variants will both be more infectious and will be able to overcome vaccination protection), so vaccination alone isn’t enough to keep the virus under control and current Covid measures are ‘insufficient’ to deal with the virus over Christmas, expert Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and the lead scientist on the Zoe Covid Study app, warns vaccines alone are not enough to control coronavirus and current measures are ‘insufficient’. He says that this coming Christmas is not the only one to be worried about, and that Covid could be a concern for the next five years. He said experts now have a better picture than they did last year, when they thought they just had to get through the year ‘And that’s clearly turning out not to be the case, as we realise that just vaccines alone are not the final solution to this – we need a combination of measures’.
Yet our Health Secretary Sajid Javid (who readily admits that Covid-19 cases here could reach 100,000 a day) and the government continues to sit on their hands and refuses even now to implement coronavirus ‘Plan B’ in England on top of its new guidance, where people are advised to test for Covid before going to crowded places or spending time with those who are at greater risk from Covid
[Plan B which could include: Vaccine passports (used for entry to large indoor events, entry to nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and concert halls and many other indoor and outdoor events); a return of ‘mandatory’ face coverings in some settings like on public transport, and in shops and hospitals; recommending that people work from home; or reintroduction of social distancing?]
That’s despite the government being heavily criticised as Covid cases in the UK continue to soar with the NHS Confederation warning the UK risks ‘stumbling into a winter crisis’.
Moreover, the COVID-19 infection has actually progressed out of a pandemic stage and is now classified as an endemic in this country, which means the virus can be experienced at all times, at low levels, and is now characteristic of, prevalent, and native to our country. This is a direct result of those ignorant, irresponsible individuals who have refused to be jabbed so have allowed the virus safe haven to persist in their midst.
It might adversely impact the flu season as we could see COVID-19 and the flu exist in the same seasons.