An article published in the Lancet (11/11/23) argues that the UK government’s incompetent handling of the initial COVID-19 outbreak, as exposed by the ongoing public inquiry, led to many of the over 230,000 deaths being preventable.
Despite early WHO warnings in January 2020, the UK government was overly confident it could handle the threat. Boris Johnson then took a 2 week holiday during a critical period in mid-February when sustained transmission was occurring in the UK.
By late February, officials warned a pandemic was likely, yet Johnson and his advisors still failed to engage. It was not until March 13 that the government realized the NHS would be overwhelmed without lockdown. Johnson remained skeptical of lockdown’s benefits.
The UK only locked down on March 23. Government officials have expressed dismay that the country was unprepared, calling it a “catastrophic” failure based on “disastrous groupthink.” Mitigation was pursued far too long over suppression.
Johnson’s advisor Dominic Cummings stated false assurances treated COVID like influenza, leading to a “horrifying” mistake. Officials agree they “weren’t ready” and headed for “total disaster.”
In conclusion, the inquiry has exposed lies, deception, and callous conduct by the UK government during the critical early period of the pandemic, resulting in many preventable deaths. The incompetence calls for reckoning and accountability.