Camilla Tominey has written a scathing critique of the Covid Inquiry in the Telegraph, accusing it of devolving into a blame game rather than rigorously assessing the efficacy of lockdowns. Here’s how her article begins:
What on earth is the point of the Covid Inquiry? Lockdown was arguably the most controversial policy to be implemented in British peacetime history. It had huge ramifications for the nation’s health, its economy and for an entire generation of children. The impact is still being felt, with nearly 7.8 million patients languishing on NHS waiting lists. Wednesday’s Autumn Statement laid bare the stultifying effect it has had on the U.K.’s growth rate and the eye-watering sums it has added to our national debt.
We needed a thorough investigation into whether the coronavirus cure was worse than the disease; a forensic cost-benefit analysis of whether shutting down the country for months on end was the right policy.
But we haven’t got that. Far from it. Instead, we have an embarrassing merry-go-round of blame that is repeatedly failing to answer the central and most important question of all: How many lives were actually saved by lockdown, and was it really worth it?
In June, researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Lund University examined almost 20,000 studies on measures taken to protect populations against Covid across the world. Their findings suggested that lockdown in spring 2020, when compared with less strict policies adopted by nations like Sweden, prevented as few as 1,700 deaths in England and Wales. To put that into context: In an average week there are around 11,000 deaths in England and Wales. Flu deaths hit a five-year high of 15,000 in England last winter.
The report’s authors said their study showed that the draconian measures had a “negligible impact” on Covid mortality and were a “policy failure of gigantic proportions”. They concluded: “The data are in: The deaths saved were a drop in the bucket compared to the staggering collateral costs imposed.”
“The data are in.” Information we desperately lacked at the start of the pandemic we now have in droves. Yet is any of it being properly pored over by the inquiry? No. Are any “lessons being learnt” or meaningful conclusions being drawn? It appears not.
In conclusion, Camilla Tominey issues a stark warning: If the inquiry fails to address the fundamental question of the efficacy of lockdowns, it would be deemed a dereliction of duty in the face of future pandemics.
Worth reading in full.