Coronavirus: UK was ‘asleep’ to the risk of COVID-19 pandemic, leading scientist says

Derrick Santistevan

The UK was “asleep” to the risk of a coronavirus pandemic, according to a leading scientist.

University of Oxford Teacher Sir John Bell informed the Health and Social Care Select Committee: “We were asleep to the concept that we were going to have a pandemic, shame on us.”

He stated “everybody would agree” it would have been much better to lock down previously, however added that some of the federal government’s later action to the infection and work to protect a vaccine has actually been “very impressive”.

Sir John likewise informed MPs it is not likely COVID-19 will be removed.

He stated: “The reality is that this pathogen is here permanently, it isn’t going anywhere.

Teacher Chris Whitty has actually safeguarded the federal government’s decision to stop neighborhood screening

” Take A Look At how much difficulty they have actually had in getting rid of, for instance, polio, that removal program has actually been going on for 15 years and they’re still not there.

“So this is going to come and go, and we’re going to get winters where we get a lot of this virus back in action.”

He added: “The vaccine is not likely to have a long lasting impact that’ll last for a long time so we’re going to have to have a consistent cycle of vaccinations, and after that more illness, and more vaccinations and more illness.

“So I think the idea that we’re going to eliminate it across the population, that’s just not realistic.”

Sir John stated one of the UK’s greatest failures was not being on the “front foot” in preparation for a pandemic.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty stated the decision on when to enter into lockdown was “complicated” and “the things we were asking people to do were incredibly socially disruptive and economically damaging”.

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Teacher Whitty likewise stated the decision to stop neighborhood screening in March was “entirely practical” since it required “infrastructure we didn’t have”.

He stated the nation had actually effectively separated cases early on in the pandemic, however could not handle the high number of infections after the “later wave” from European countries.

Prof Whitty stated at that phase screening had to be prioritised for “high risk areas”.

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Teacher Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the federal government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergency Situations (SAGE), informed the committee screening must be “random and frequent” in healthcare facilities and scientific settings.

He stated there wasn’t adequate “urgency” and the UK was “too slow to put in place extra clinical capacity”.

Prof Farrar stated he was sorry for “that SAGE wasn’t more blunt in its advice”.

The committee likewise heard criticism about an absence of agreement over who must be making choices.

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Teacher Sir Paul Nurse, director at the Crick Institute, stated there was “too much pass the parcel”.

He stated: “I’m not blaming politicians… what I am saying is when you have a pandemic, knowledge is uncertain (and) that is uncomfortable for scientists.”

When inquired about the supply of individual protective equipment, Prof Whitty accepted there had actually been “considerable” issues at the start of the pandemic and stated “we are going to continue to have challenges on that”.

Prof Whitty likewise stated he thinks the chance of a vaccine prior to Christmas that is “highly effective” is “very low”.

Nevertheless, deputy chief medical officer, Teacher Jonathan Van Tam, stated he was “cautiously optimistic”.

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