Families of those of who have died from Covid-19 deserve answers – Ed Davey

Ed Davey has responded to Boris Johnson’s refusal to lay out a timeline for a public inquiry into his Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis:

Boris Johnson says there will come a time to learn the lessons of the pandemic, but the public will rightly ask, if not now, then when? The best time to learn lessons and prevent the most deaths is today.

The Prime Minister can’t tell us exactly when schools will return safely, can’t tell us when most of the country will be offered a vaccine and can’t tell us when the current lockdown will end.

…The UK has suffered terrible COVID death rates.

Despite promising an inquiry last year, today Boris Johnson once again refused to commit to a timeline for an independent inquiry.

The British people – especially the families of those who have been lost – deserve answers.


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11 Comments

  • Barry Lofty 2nd Feb '21 - 11:11am

    Well said Ed, keep up the pressure on this government and demand answers, and not let them try to divert attention away from their numerous mistakes during this pandemic.

  • John Marriott 2nd Feb '21 - 12:24pm

    The danger is that any enquiry will end up like Chilcot, taking years to come to a conclusion, whose impact will be diluted by time. The problem with the government’s approach to COVID was that we were dealing with the unknown. Undoubtedly mistakes were made all along the way, although it looks as if someone is getting something right at last.

    I do not claim in any way to be an expert; but, in answer to Sir Ed’s question to the PM as to why the U.K. has the highest per capita death rate from COVID in the world, I would like to offer the following, in no particular order :

    * We have areas of high population density, where there are many multi generational families from the Indian subcontinent living in the same household.
    * Some people, especially those with dark skin, are often deficient in Vitamin D, which can boost the immune system and are therefore possibly genetically more susceptible to viruses like COVID. Other people are just more susceptible, period.
    * Lockdowns slow down the spread of the virus. They were applied too late and eased off too early. They are tough on many; but they work.
    * The government hates bad news and has been simply afraid of telling the truth.
    * Some people just think they are immortal and rules can be circumvented.
    * We live on a collection of islands, like, for example, New Zealand. We can close our borders fairly easily and could have limited foreign travel right at the start of the pandemic and stop people gathering together at sporting events (February half term skiers, Cheltenham Festival, Six Nations Rugby last round), when we saw how things were going. We didn’t.

    There are, of course, other things we could have done. I am sure LDV contributors can come up with some more.

  • Barry Lofty 2nd Feb '21 - 12:55pm

    No doubt this island of ours has problems with its population size and it must be very difficult to control a pandemic so severe as covid19 in high density areas, but the government made fundamental errors from the start even though the evidence was out there from around the world, also an unverified leak stating that certain members of society were expendable has also stayed with me over the past year. I have to admit a personal dislike for our PM and certain members of his cabinet and do not trust much of what they tell us which is maybe clouding my judgement a small amount??

  • Little Jackie Paper 2nd Feb '21 - 1:30pm

    No doubt things should have been done differently. Some of what we saw likely was more about symptom not cause.

    What I will say is I’m very glad it wasn’t me in government.

  • Helen Dudden 2nd Feb '21 - 1:49pm

    I agree, there should be answers.
    Obviously, there will be problems for the NHS for sometime to come. The on going mental health illness will be another.

  • “No doubt this island of ours has problems with its population size and it must be very difficult to control a pandemic so severe as covid19 in high density areas,” Barry Lofty

    That however doesn’t seem to be the problem…
    Whilst we do have a problem in that once CoVid19 enters a workplace/household it will rapidly spread within that bubble/network of contacts, the real problem we have is acting nationally.

    As has been pointed out we have been very late to actually close down international travel – how else did the 71 cases of Brazil covid get into the country?

    We have also totally failed to lockdown national travel – hence why a year ago CoVid19 was national and not limited to a few hotspots, also it is why the Kent variant so quickly went nationwide in the runup to Christmas. Instead we’ve seen police, doing stupid things such as we saw in Derbyshire where the police were more concerned about ensuring only “local” people were exercising in a public park and not being at the local railway stations during rush hour questioning everyone getting on and off trains as to whether their journey was essential…

    >The Prime Minister can’t tell us exactly when schools will return safely
    I expect that will be when circa 60% of the adult population has been vaccinated, so whilst the children might still be able to get CoViD19 there is a small risk of them passing it on to adults and thus spreading into the wider community. Given current vaccination rates, that looks like June…

    >can’t tell us when most of the country will be offered a vaccine
    There are online calculators which based on the information the government has released will tell you this information.

    >and can’t tell us when the current lockdown will end.
    Legally its 31st March unless the regular reviews determine otherwise.
    Naturally, things are getting a little fraught as there is little appetite for another lockdown and its economic consequences, so we can expect the government being a little more considered and cautious about ending the current lockdown.

    I get the distinct impression that Ed is wanting the government to set targets which they stand a good chance of not meeting and so giving opponents ammunition with which to take pot shots…

  • An inquiry should essentially look at the pandemic preparedness plan and compare it to what was done in practice.

    This will surprise many people as most countries plans will in hindsight read like a manifesto for lockdown scepticism that would make the Great Barrington Declaration look a bit cautious.

    As for Ed Daveys questions, he is the leader of an opposition party so can put forward his own views on what should happen eg:

    When should schools open – he should have opposed them closing and call for immediate reopening.

    When will everyone get a vaccine – he should be questioning whether every adult actually needs to have one and as a liberal leader railing against the idea of people feeling coerced into having one through by companies, vaccine passports etc.

  • Little Jackie Paper 2nd Feb '21 - 6:49pm

    Marco

    I see the point, but that plan essentially assumed that a pandemic would be flu. In fairness that likely was reasonable. As far as I know (happy to be corrected) WHO took that line too.

    Indeed the better criticism of the WHO would be around SARS1 in 2003. With hindsight that should have been a huge clue.

    Any UK inquiry could easily take in the government, police, NHS, media. Doubtless others.

  • @Helen Dudden 2nd Feb ’21 – 1:49pm
    I agree, there should be answers.
    Obviously, there will be problems for the NHS for sometime to come. The on going mental health illness will be another.

    Absolutely. It is very concerning the reports coming out about the numbers of DR’s and Nurses that are considering retiring early after this or leaving the health service altogether.
    It is going to take years for the NHS to recover and to be able to address the huge back log of cancelled operations and all those people who have developed conditions but not sought diagnoses, not forgetting the long term complications that have developed as a result of long-covid.

    This is going to be a problem and although it is not going to address the immediate issue, we need to be looking into the long term issue and how we are going to attract more people into medicine, Fully Paid tuition fees and Bursaries perhaps in return for a 5-10 year contract upon qualification?

    There are so many things that the government got wrong during this pandemic and so many lessons need to be learnt to ensure we are ready for the next one.
    That means not delaying, look how long the governments take just to set out the scope of an enquiry and who will sit on its board.
    If not hearing the enquiry now, we should at the very least be setting out the scope of it and appointing the board and members so they can hit the ground running when the time comes, rather than dithering and delaying for a further year or so arguing over the scope and who should be the chair.
    Memories of the fiasco with the child abuse enquires comes to mind.

  • @Little Jackie Paper

    That is true although I don’t see why pandemic influenza is all that different from a pandemic coronavirus.

    The key point about a pandemic is that it is a pandemic due to newness and lack of vaccinations and prior immunity (although there may be some) rather than the deadliness of the virus.

    People often miss the point when they say “Covid is worse than flu or it’s not just the flu etc” which is that flu is deadly but kept at bay to an extent by naturally acquired herd immunity and more recently through vaccines as well.

  • Helen Dudden 3rd Feb '21 - 8:29am

    A hospital in Birmingham is struggling. 3 nurses to 30 patients. There are some very unhappy staff.
    I ask Ed. Davey what can be done to help the NHS?

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