On December 1st, The U.K.’s Department of Health and Social Care published the Technical Report on the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.K.
The report is a long 11-chapter document describing the U.K.’s response and pointing out suggestions for dealing with future pandemics.
The report is dubbed “independent”, but the authors are public health civil servants and a handful of academics. Given that the authors were instrumental to a greater and lesser degree in implementing the catastrophes of lockdowns, the content is as independent as President Xi’s assessment of his policies.
Readers of Trust the Evidence will face problems reconciling some of the report content with what we have written. For example, there is no mention of the misuse of PCR or the failure to follow closely other nations ahead of the curve whose contact tracing systems had been overwhelmed in days.
It was important – and the U.K. did not always get this right – to align testing aims, use cases, technologies, data flows and communications in coherent testing strategies.
There is no apology for the evidence-free mass testing, the segregation of healthy people and the lack of identification of truly infectious cases.
Pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission, in the absence of routine mass asymptomatic testing, are a huge challenge for even a highly effective contact tracing system.
A better wording might have been: contact tracing is hugely challenging, and it won’t achieve its intended outcomes and was, therefore, a waste of £37 billion – something the Lombardy public health operators had realised by the beginning of March 2020 and the U.K. Parliament considered was an ‘unimaginable’ cost.
Hospital-acquired infections are ignored. And yet, up to 40% of ‘hospital cases’ were infections acquired in hospitals. Moreover, their distribution shadowed that in the surrounding community, suggesting that whatever ‘protection’ measures the hospitals were taking did not work.
The low risk to school children and teachers is portrayed as a tension between missing education and stopping transmission.
In restricting attendance in educational settings, this must be heavily caveated with the health and wellbeing impacts of limiting attendance in educational settings to priority groups – which are substantial. They include:
- missed learning
- a reduction in non-COVID-19-related healthcare utilisation
- exacerbation of existing inequality for both children and parents
School-age children had the lowest risk, and the effects of the immunological segregation are now reaped with a whirlwind of influenza-like illnesses. Not to mention socialising and schooling – mere details.