Just reading the important @CommonsHealth report - lots of interest in there, but one thing hit me immediately... they write "covid-19"

In my writing/pleadings I have shifted from "COVID-19" to "Covid-19", even sometimes "Covid"... but this seems new
Cheeky Rawls reference
This is a profoundly important paragraph - and I wonder if the public inquiry will reach the same conclusion: that the only ways to restrict spread were isolation for the infectious and enforced restrictions on social contacts (i.e. lockdown and sub-lockdown measures)
The simple conclusion of this report is that lockdown was the logical policy and should have happened far earlier.
Forgot to link to the report itself committees.parliament.uk/publications/7…
Interesting choice of image
The report basically says that not just the govt but the advisors around the government led to a policy of "fatalism" which was a "serious error"
"Listen, if there's one thing the history of evolution has taught us, it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free–it expands to new territories and it crashes through barriers painfully, maybe even dangerously...I'm simply saying that life, uh, finds a way."
14 March - no plan for lockdown (it began 9 days later)
9 March - Hancock was told we could be heading for 820,000 deaths
This is quite a paragraph
This is a very difficult paragraph - is it realistic, except in hindsight, to say the government could have gone against the scientific advice it was receiving, or that the public would have accepted that?
Weren't we all?

But this makes the point I made in my previous tweet. Unrealistic for ministers to go against the scientific advice
Hancock makes the same point

Also, he was inexperienced as a health secretary. Bad luck and timing
This seems fair, but vague

Scientists should not just be in the civil service - how about in the cabinet?!

Also, I know sounds biased, but lawyers also have forensic analysis skills and (at least in my field) challenging scientific evidence.

What skills did the cabinet have?
Again, this is analysis through the retrospectoscope - how could anyone have known, or predicted, how the British public would have responded to lockdowns/contact tracing?
To be fair they make the point - still a criticism though: it was fair for you to be wrong but you were still wrong
The simple point made about the tiered system of local lockdowns in summer 2020 is that without effective test and trace (which "failed") it couldn't work
"decisions felt arbitrary and untransparent"
Alpha variant was more transmissible so earlier lockdown in Sep 2020 would have helped but again failure of test and trace was key
Back into it now...
This is surely right - but difficult if you are looking for accountability. It goes back to the Ian Malcolm (Jurassic Par) quote I cheekily used earlier. Nature can't always be controlled as much as we want to believe it can be, but that means there isn't always someone to blame
The importance of clear public messaging - obvious at the time, obvious now
Again, we knew this at the time.

Matt Hancock isn't mentioned here for some reason - he should be
"14% of respondents “believe the real purpose of a mass vaccination programme against coronavirus is simply to track and control the population” - Nov 2020

My guess is a lot of this will happen in the next crisis, if it comes in next couple of decades, because we have experienced a pandemic and politicians will be more comfortable challenging scientists.

Which is one explanation why countries which experienced SARS did "better"
Test and trace was a "drag anchor" on the UK's response to the pandemic
Lawyers will be pricking their ears at this paragraph
(nb just because a parliamentary committee uses the word "negligent" doesn't mean it meets the legal standard, but it's still an interesting word for them to use)
The Committees here struggling to find strong enough words short of swearing
If there is going to be a successful legal claim against the government for causing deaths then it is likely to focus on the first few months in hospitals and discharge back to care homes
Here is a sub-heading which is dripping in disdain

Incidentally, when I acted for the Department of Health in the Mid Staffs Inquiry it was noticeable how much the NHS and DoH used expressions like "world class"
Test and Trace absolutely pilloried in this report - more so than any other element of the response
"bitter irony"
I know others have more expertise on this than I but another clear conclusion of this report is that "protect the NHS" also meant "abandon social care"
Again, this is getting close to legal liability for deaths in care homes - if not reaching it. I guess we will find out in years to come
This is going to have to be very carefully considered by the public inquiry which will have access to emails, messaging etc.
Perfect storm of failings for social care
Maybe no legal liability - but who knows
"The impact of covid-19 has been uneven across the population, with some sections of society suffering significantly higher illness and deaths than the nation as a whole"
Very complimentary about the UK vaccination programme

TLDR: got everything else wrong but vaccinations great
Super piece by @TomChivers which doesn't match the headline but I assume he didn't write it unherd.com/2021/10/the-me…

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More from @AdamWagner1

10 Oct
My grandfather told me that his father was arrested during the blitz on suspicion of being an enemy spy because his house was the only one on their East Ham street with a phone and people thought he was getting advance warnings of raids from the enemy
The house was eventually hit and my great grandfather was seriously injured so that probably sorted the neighbours’ opinions anyway
Read 8 tweets
5 Oct
For those interested in civil injunctions against protesters, we were just granted permission to appeal the costs order in this case to Court of Appeal; important point about whether legal aid costs protection should apply in protester injunction cases bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/…
Currently even if you are granted legal aid in a civil contempt case involving a persons unknown injunction you don't get the usual "football pools" protection order under s.26 of LASPO because of a weird quirk whereby this is criminal legal aid granted in a civil court.
So an impecunious protester can get a £50k costs bill, on top of a prison sentence, and have no protection from costs at all as any other legally aided party in the civil courts would get (no enforcement without further order of the court).
Read 4 tweets
5 Oct
Dominic Raab had to reach back over 10 years and find a case which would be dealt with differently today because of the multiple changes to the law since then to make the deportation of people with criminal convictions easier
Actually, Raab appears to have copied this example from Theresa May's 2011 #catgate speech! Can't they get any new tunes?


Dominic Raab is the new Theresa May tribute act
Read 4 tweets
5 Oct
The thing with statutory inquiries is they are generally deeper and more effective than non-statutory inquiries - because the chair has power to force people to give evidence. A non-stat inquiry relies on the good will and open cooperation of the institution being investigated.
I have acted in 6 statutory inquiries (I think) and two non-statutory inquiries. The latter can work but it really depends on whether the institution you are investigating has any incentive at all to stonewall or hide things. But you don't know what you don't know so it can fail
A statutory inquiry can take longer because it's more thorough but even that is not clear - e.g. a non-statutory inquiry can have far less resource, back end and also may have to spend lots of time making up its own procedures which in a 2005 Act inquiry are off the shelf
Read 8 tweets
5 Oct
This is a highly illiberal measure. Preventing people exercising their free-speech rights in advance because they are ‘disruptive’ is fraught with risk for a democratic society. bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politi…
It is understandable that in the heat of the moment people want to “crackdown” on disruptive protests, but protests are by definition disruptive. This law would, I assume, authorise the detention of a protester to prevent them attending a protest. That is illiberal.
This government is already attempting to pass laws which criminalise “noisy” protests. Our law is already finally balanced to protect free-speech and ensure police have powers to prevent illegal conduct arising from protest. These new laws tip the balance in the wrong direction.
Read 8 tweets
2 Oct
Some big changes to the travel regulations published and came into force yesterday

Green/Amber lists gone, red list remains

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Operator Liability) (England) (Amendment) (No. 13) Regulations 2021

legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/1107… Image
The explanatory memorandum is as useful very useful

Now just two categories of country - "Rest of the world" and "red list" (hotel quarantine)

Important details on how vaccinated travellers can prove their vaccinated status through NHS Covid Pass and international equivalents ImageImage
Also for the first time in the international travel context includes in those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons

Need through the NHS Covid Pass to show a "medical practitioner has advised that they should not be vaccinated for clinical reasons" Image
Read 9 tweets

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