Lancet editor publishes book on government failures to deal with Covid-19. Here’s what it says

Richard Horton has been criticising Tory government policy on Covid-19 since at least January.

And he’d know his subject, being the editor of that most distinguished of medical journals, The Lancet.

Shall we have a quick shufti at a few of his points? Here:

He lambasts the management of the virus as “the greatest science policy failure for a generation”, attacks the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) for becoming “the public relations wing of a government that had failed its people”, calls out the medical Royal Colleges, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Medical Association (BMA) and Public Health England (PHE) for not reinforcing the World Health Organization’s public health emergency warning back in February, and damns the UK’s response as “slow, complacent and flat-footed”, revealing a “glaringly unprepared” government and a “broken system of obsequious politico-scientific complicity”.


The series of five academic papers the journal published in late January first describing the novel coronavirus in disturbing detail went unheeded. “In several of the papers they talked about the importance of personal protective equipment and the importance of testing, the importance of avoiding mass gatherings, the importance of considering school closure, the importance of lockdowns. All of the things that have happened in the last three months here, they’re all in those five papers.”

He still can’t understand why the government’s scientific advisers didn’t consult their counterparts in China.

From the published reports of Sage meetings, … scientists were “trying to be as sensitive to economic issues as they were to health issues”. That, he says, “is a dangerous place to be” because it compromises the ability of the advisory group to protect health.

The book, The Covid-19 Catastrophe: What’s Gone Wrong and How to Stop It Happening Again, is only 140 pages long so it came as quite a surprise that even the e-book edition costs £9.99.

You can buy it here.

Source: The Lancet’s editor: ‘The UK’s response to coronavirus is the greatest science policy failure for a generation’ | Politics | The Guardian

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