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HomeCOVID-19Covid Inquiry and a pandemic of procrastination

Covid Inquiry and a pandemic of procrastination

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THE chair of the Covid Inquiry, Baroness Hallett, has made it clear that public hearings on the government’s handling of the pandemic will not be held until some time in 2023.

We can only assume therefore that the public may not be presented with any conclusions until the middle of next year, or even 2024.

The next season’s Covid-19 autumn and winter plan will have already been implemented before these public hearings have begun. The ‘battle’ against the next variant may already be under way in some guise or another, affording public health doom-mongers the opportunity to call for the re-imposition of various measures of unknown severity. The Health Secretary will likely be calling for everyone to take up the ‘offer’ of a fourth or fifth shot (sorry, I mean he will be asking that we ‘behave’), children of all ages will have become eligible for vaccination, mask usage will probably be on the rise whether mandated or not, unions will perhaps once again commence behaving as if above the laws of the land, and the NHS, well, Lord only knows what state it could be in by then.

With the Covid Inquiry incomplete, this coming autumn and winter therefore has the potential to be no different from the preceding two – all the cruel and nonsensical controls on behaviour we have masochistically normalised in that time, left lurking in Government’s pandemic toolbox. Talk about a lack of urgency.

Since the very beginning of this exaggerated emergency, multiple independent organisations and globally esteemed experts lacking any conflicts of interest have been recording and quantifying the ruinous effects of Government’s pandemic policies on both society and the individual. There has therefore been a Covid Inquiry running the whole time, but as we know, non-government-backed research not only counts for nothing, but constitutes a separate national security threat in its own right – the dangerous medical misinformation or outright conspiracy theory it purportedly is.

Yet the government itself has been calculating the catastrophic costs of the rules it says it had no option but to impose, and so in a way, even if we discount independent findings, what actual need is there for an official inquiry? Let alone one whose findings may not be made public for up to one year from now, likely more.

The Living with Covid-19 plan of February 23 identifies many of the astonishingly damaging costs to society the Covid Inquiry will presumably also seek to address. These costs in their own right should surely be enough to warrant an immediate return to the more humane keep-calm-and-carry-on approach of the pre-Covid Pandemic Preparedness Strategy, which advised the very antithesis of the government’s actual response to SARS-CoV-2. Why waste any more time?

‘The measures introduced had extraordinarily high social and economic costs with unprecedented impacts on individuals and families, public services and private businesses’, states the Living with Covid-19 plan.

‘The NHS elective backlog has reached a record high and waiting times for ambulances and emergency care have substantially increased.’

‘Restricting face-to-face education has had significant adverse impacts on children and young people’s learning, development and mental health. There is clear evidence that time out of education can be detrimental to children and young people’s future prospects.’

‘Mental health and well-being have also been negatively impacted. Self-reported measures of personal well-being dropped to record lows during the first and second waves.’

‘There was a marked increase in the number of under-18s referred to specialist care for issues such as self-harm and eating disorders in 2021. Reports of domestic abuse increased during lockdown periods.’

‘The pandemic and associated non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) created significant economic disruption and drove the largest recession on record.’

And all this before even touching upon the monumentally devastating havoc NPIs continue to wreak to this day – with Lockdown One-esque barbarity – on the vulnerable elderly; let alone the MHRA’s post-pharmaceutical intervention adverse event figures.

Are these official summations not enough to warrant an assurance that this response, either to a new variant or new virus, will never again be repeated?

No, it seems these summations are not enough. The government need at least another 12 months to come up with a more detailed national-trauma analysis – one with yet more baffling graphs, charts, slides, and above all, yet more scandalously spurious cost/benefit models. One capable of more thoroughly persuading the public that all the multifarious sacrifices they made were entirely necessary. By which time of course, the sins and privations of lockdowns-past will have slid further from collective memory. And that, I dare say, is the point of all this procrastinating.

A great deal can happen in a year, let alone a post-Covid year – during which the concept of time itself is done away with in favour of the far more streamlined method of following the rise and fall of case numbers, and how these fluctuations interact with the school calendar.

For example it has taken Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency, just 30 days from the Living with Covid-19 plan’s publication to begin calling for people again to mask-up in enclosed spaces, self-isolate, and to socialise outdoors rather than inside – paradoxically to help combat the unavoidable rise in cases consequence of the transition away from mandated measures to personal responsibility, no less.

What a canard all this Living with Covid-19 business is, and that an increasing number of experts are reportedly now speaking out against lockdowns is naught but a twisted joke. All of them have proved themselves to be the happy public health chameleons of a politicised pandemic. None of them is to be trusted.

Whatever degree of liberty and humanity these people now profess to champion is meaningless. Everything is far too little, far too late, and whatever the Covid Inquiry’s conclusions, they too now seem destined to be grossly delayed.

Fast forward to the undetermined point in 2023 at which its public hearings are to begin, and who knows what Hopkins or any of her colleagues will be calling for by then? The inquiry still dragging its heels, and doubtless interrupted and postponed, officially speaking all the disastrous measures it is being implied it will seek to rule out for future use – in Baroness Hallett’s own words to: ‘Ensure that in any future pandemic, the suffering and hardship many of you have experienced is reduced or prevented’ – could all still be in use.

‘You’ is a poor choice of word from Hallett. It implies that she experienced no suffering or hardship as consequence of any of the State’s interventions. But for a woman of her standing (and doubtless more than adequate finances) perhaps the personal cost of two years of constraints on life was little to none. Surely her open letter should read we.

Not exactly off to a great start, this Covid Inquiry. I’d like to say that we’ll soon found out just how aggressively Hallett will fight ‘our’ corner, but I can’t. It seems we have to wait until 2023 or beyond for that.

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