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Why the UK’s new Covid-19 strategy is uniquely dangerous

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I know of no episode in history where a government has willingly aided and abetted the spread of a dangerous infectious disease among its own population. History is being made. The government of the United Kingdom seems to actually want people to catch Covid-19 in the summer, rather than in the autumn and winter. Ministers reason that the understaffed and underfunded NHS will be in major trouble over the winter. To “go now” with the removal of all legal restrictions, thus producing an even higher level of infections, is appears to be regarded as the right thing to do as it will reduce the inevitable problems later this year.

This extraordinary policy has been revealed to the population in small dollops via Downing Street press conferences where the Prime Minister is flanked by civil servants. There is no obvious strategy and there is no published plan. In the view of much of the rest of the world, and most of the medical organisations in the UK, there is no possibility that this will be anything other than yet another failure that will cost lives and livelihoods.

Throughout the pandemic, the government has constantly sought the silver bullet of a technological intervention that will curb the virus and enable a rapid return to full economic activity. Ministers and their advisers have, from the start, frequently suggested that “science” will come to the rescue and deliver us from the pandemic. With their close connections to the healthcare industry, they have chosen to take an approach that relies on the medical-industrial complex to........

© New Statesman

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