UK Pandemic review : Introduction
An introduction to a 5 part mini-series reviewing the UK emergency pandemic response over its first 2 years
The 2 year anniversary of the UK emergency pandemic response beginning in earnest left many people feeling reflective, and I guess I was no different.
I do not claim to be an expert on pandemic management. Actually, I openly claim to not be an expert on pandemic management. I am however fortunate enough to have been part of interesting conversations with colleagues, and through my work on the vaccine pipeline and research on COVID-19 in children; but from a position of having few expectations myself. I have listened without judgement to the opinions and expertise of others and tried to give many different viewpoints due consideration.
That is the reasoning behind this mini-series. In 5 parts we will review the highs and lows of the UK’s emergency pandemic response over its first 2 years and try to answer some important questions about what happened, and what perhaps should have happened, hopefully from a position of relative neutrality. I personally never advocated for any specific pandemic response, except for the primacy of schools remaining open (this being my specific area of expertise). I have no particular strategy to defend.
Science vs Politics
I am a firm believer that science can only inform policy, not dictate policy. That is a job for policy makers, who are politicians.
David Spieglhalter put it best.
“Stop epidemiologists from giving public health advice. Epidemiology has nothing to do with what people should do”
Despite some confusion, we must remember that policy IS politics.
Scientists can produce evidence to estimate outcomes of different policy decisions, but there is no such thing as “following the science”, when it comes to policy. Science does not make decisions. This requires value judgements and trade offs. This series is not pretending to put some stake in the ground as to what “science” says we should have done.
This series is simply my personal opinion, which is informed by my scientific background and understanding of the data, as well as my social, cultural, and ethical values.
What will we cover?
The topics will be:
Each of these are worthy of an entire series in an of themselves, but we will try and cover the major parts of each. Hopefully it can bring a bit more light to discussions which are usually best at generating heat.
Glad to see focus on Schools - can't wait to read all - and yes you have been one of a handful to have an open mind and remain neutral
Can’t wait for #4. I’m sure all will be good leading up to it.