‘Lockdown had only a marginal effect’: Telegraph readers on the Government’s Covid-19 response

The first major report into the UK’s pandemic response has concluded that Britain did not lock down sooner because ministers failed to challenge poor scientific advice. The error led to one of the most "important public health failures the UK has ever experienced and resulted in a higher death toll", MPs have said.

The joint report by the Government’s health and science select committees found that many mistakes were made in the early days of the outbreak, which have only been redeemed by the successful vaccination programme.

Readers took to the comments to discuss their thoughts on the report and the handling of the Government’s response to the pandemic in hindsight. Read on to see what your fellow readers had to say and share your view in the comments section at the bottom of this article.

‘There are decisions to be made which require a different kind of advice’

@Dimitris Saravacos:

"Scientific advice will advise for the pathology of Covid, its transmission and how to combat it.

"On top of that, and this is why we have an elected government, there are decisions to be made for the social and economic impacts which require a different kind of advice and, more importantly, common sense. Otherwise, we may as well have Chris Whitty as a Prime Minister.

"The ‘too late’ government’s theme is to do nothing until panic creeps in. They do not need a public enquiry for that; they will save money by asking people on the street."

‘I’m not sure any western country thought it would be enforceable’

@Matthew Westbury:

"The UK’s timing on lockdown – relative to when the disease was detected in the country – was very similar to France and Germany. Until Italy announced lockdown, I’m not sure any western country thought it would be enforceable here.

"In terms of lives saved and lost due to various decisions, I just don’t think it will ever be possible to calculate that with any accuracy."

‘Lockdown had only a marginal effect’

@Rob Houghton:

"Where is the evidence that lockdown even worked? We had several lengthy lockdowns and still ended up as one of the most badly affected countries.

"If we were to speculate deaths would have been much higher without lockdown one would need to justify how the UK could end up as such an outlier with death rates many times more than other countries that had no lockdown.

"Surely the only logical conclusion is that lockdown had only a marginal effect."

‘Lockdown was unnecessary and the cause of a far worse pandemic of missed hospital appointments’

@E Parker:

"I still believe that if we had done nothing it would have made no difference at all.

"Lockdown was unnecessary and has been the cause of a far worse pandemic of missed hospital appointments, cancer diagnosis etc.

"Plus, the devastating effect on our economy. We should never have had any of the draconian measures put in place. They are what should go down in history as the biggest mistakes ever made."

‘Scientists provide scientific advice, ministers make decisions based on that’


"’Ministers failed to challenge poor scientific advice’ is pretty unreasonable. Scientists provide scientific advice, ministers make decisions based on that.

"The comment about closing the borders seems to overlook the statement by Mr Vallance that as the virus was already here, closing the borders would serve no useful purpose. That was the scientific assessment, subsequently changed as the situation worsened.

"In terms of preparedness, if the UK response was based on an influenza virus, and we and the US came out on top in the Johns Hopkins assessment, what did other countries plan for?

"Test and Trace was clearly not a success, and the waste of £37 billion was one of the greatest failures in the pandemic."

‘When is the independent enquiry happening?’

@Tony Oliver:

"This is what happens when the Government investigates themselves; we get the answer they have been priming us for, and the answer that the gullible public are going to swallow wholeheartedly. So, exactly as expected, all politicians are in the clear, and fully in support of the ongoing narrative and future lockdowns as and when they desire.

"Now, when is the independent enquiry happening? The one where all options are considered by truly independent people. The enquiry that would also consider what happened in places such as Sweden."

‘How was the Government to know it was "bad scientific advice"?’

@AL Klahr:

"How exactly was the Government to know that it was ‘bad scientific advice’? They followed the science and would have been equally criticised if they hadn’t."

‘The report shows nothing that common sense hasn’t been screaming from the beginning’

@Rachael Claire:

"This report shows nothing that common sense hasn’t been screaming from the very beginning… from before the pandemic and operation cygnet.

"What the vaccine innovation has shown us is that politics is dead. We need to be run by people who can see breadth and depth and look to the best in skills and knowledge to lead, not what currently happens where we have MPs who call on their mates or lovers to make this country great. Shambles."

‘With the benefit of hindsight, things may have turned out differently’

@Paul Weeks:

"With the benefit of hindsight, things may have turned out differently.

"Why hasn’t the committee looked at the damaging effects of scientific advice given throughout the pandemic? Not one of the models proved to be anywhere near reality.

"Lockdowns have proved to be a very blunt instrument which has led to economic disaster, mental health problems and large numbers of undiagnosed serious illnesses other than Covid. The scientists have some serious questions to answer."

‘Overall, the UK fared better than most countries’

@John Bowling:

"Hindsight is an exact science. Of course mistakes were made. But, overall, the UK has fared better than most countries throughout the pandemic. And the vaccination programme has been efficient, practical and effective. A thoroughly professional job.

"Lockdown probably causes more problems (undiagnosed serious illnesses and delayed herd immunity) than it averts."

What are your thoughts on the first major report on the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic? Let us know in the comments section below

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