Over a year ago, on 19 July 2021, the Johnson government proclaimed “Freedom Day” and laws in England requiring masks to be worn in shops and other indoor settings lapsed, along with capacity limits in bars and restaurants, and rules limiting the number of people who can socialise together.
This was in no way supported by clinical evidence. Referring to a letter in the Lancet, Elisabeth Mahase wrote the following in the British Medical Journal:
“… experts warned that the UK government’s current covid-19 strategy, which tolerates high levels of infection, is “both unethical and illogical” and called on leaders to reconsider. “We believe the government is embarking on a dangerous and unethical experiment,” they said.
The letter outlined mitigation measures—such as adequate ventilation, reduced class sizes, mask policies, testing, contact tracing, and isolating—that can be taken until everyone, including adolescents, has been offered a vaccination, uptake is high, and reopening can be reconsidered.”
Seven months later on 24 February 2022, the government proclaimed another “Freedom Day”, stopping the requirement to quarantine at home, along with routine contact-tracing and self-isolation payments.
The Independent SAGE briefing on 22 July 2022, assessed the results of the governments “experiment” and showed that in the past 12 months:
- 385,000 people were admitted to hospital with Covid
- 39,000 people had died
- 20% of the UK population were still without a single dose of vaccine.
The following three slides from their briefing illustrate clearly, where we are and what needs to be done.
This graph shows that
- Too many people are being infected.
- New waves of infection keep arriving
- Infection rates have not fallen below 1% in the past 12 months.
This diagram illustrates the cycle that we are stuck in, with a high number of infections continually driving more infection.
This slide also published in the British Medical Journal, provides a plan to break the cycle of high infection. We should basically:
- Resume doing some of the things that we were doing to keep the rate of infection low.
- Sort out the things that the government has failed to do such as:
- Clearer communication
- Ventilation in Schools and public spaces
Delusional ministers claim that their handling of the pandemic is an “incredible achievement of this government”, a claim too often repeated by the media. These slides though tell a very different story, that of an ongoing failure by government to listen to or follow the advice of their own experts. The economic and human cost inflicted on the British people is not Covid’s fault, but that of a government and parliament that is neither representative nor accountable to the people, as evidenced in my recent article.
Representation is lacking as millions who pay tax are not allowed to vote, and party members are not allowed to select their candidates for election as shown in this example from Stroud in Gloucestershire.
Accountability – MPs have demonstrated time and time again that they put the commercial interest of their sponsors and their own financial interests above the needs and wishes of the people. Much greater accountability would be achieved by more frequent elections, as claimed over 200 years ago by Federalist, James Madison.