(c) Ben Jennings

From sam

Is the UK government’s handling of covid-19 yet more UK exceptionalism,like Brexit?


“The “exceptionalist” approach of HMG was a combination of a variety of factors. I suspect primarily the need to show the world that British exceptionalism was indeed real – that the UK was truly World-Leading. This seems to have backfired, first in needing to get into line with the rest of the world, second in the higher cost it will surely entail, both in lives and economic impact.

It may even prove disastrous. Again from the Byline Times article by Nafeez Ahmed:

My back-of-the-envelope projections suggested that the Government’s refusal to attempt to slow and curtail the spread of the virus could lead to as many as 458,752 deaths – possibly as high as 1.6 million in an absolute worst-case ‘do nothing’ scenario.”

This looks just awful.No wonder Professor Pollock was so powerful in the advice she gave to the Scottish government.

“Several models produced by SAGE scientists indicate that using contact tracing to contain the outbreak would be extremely difficult without sufficient speed, but they still emphasised that identifying people infected and isolating them systematically on a mass scale would at least help to reduce or control the epidemic.

Independent scientists who have reviewed the SAGE corpus say that it reveals a fatally incompetent scientific process. According to Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh’s Medical School, the SAGE corpus inadvertently reveals why the UK Government “got it wrong… SAGE analysis was overcomplicated, too academic, relied on incomplete data, overlooked testing and health service capacity. Why didn’t we go fast down the path of test, isolate, trace while delaying spread for health services to prepare?”

According to the New York University complex systems scientists – Dr Chen Shen, Professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Dr Yaneer Bar Yam – early assumptions that the outbreak might inevitably grow beyond control in a way that would mute the point of mass testing and tracing, was completely unfounded. Dr Chen and his co-authors point out that the Imperial College scientists, along with their other colleagues and SAGE, have consistently overlooked data from China and elsewhere.”