Here are our suggestions for Independent SAGE. If you agree with one or both of these suggestions, do let Independent SAGE know here.
10 July 2020
Professor Sir David King and Colleagues
The Independent SAGE Group
Dear Independent SAGE Group,
SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR NEXT STEPS
You asked for suggestions and questions from the public, and I am writing to you with two specific suggestions.
But first, I would like to congratulate you on having come together to create independent SAGE. Like you, I believe that it was a vitally important response to the problem the UK faces in relation to COVID-19, given the lack of evidence that our government was following the best medical science. The problems with the UK’s handling of the pandemic range all the way from overall strategy and organisation down to operational issues around procurement from untested suppliers.
Your recent call for the government to commit to a strategy of eliminating the virus to deliver a zero-COVID UK is perhaps the single most important thing you could do, and I would not wish to distract you from that objective.
In line with that objective, however, I think there are two further things that you could do which would be hugely valuable:
- You could set a target (an upper bound) for the ultimate death toll from the virus, on the assumption that the government follows your zero-COVID strategy and avoids significant mismanagement of its execution. The government had previously indicated that a toll of 20,000 deaths would be a ‘good result’ – but this is long gone and there is no indication now of what success would look like. The government’s PR campaign appears to be operating on the basis that they can declare the virus beaten and normalise deaths in the low triple digits per day. There is a very real risk that in 12 months’ time, we may be looking at a total death toll well into six figures, and that the government will declare that result ‘a resounding success.’ A high-profile target would make it far riskier for them to continue with that strategy.
- You could create on the front page of your website a section giving clear medical advice to people and businesses who are confused by the government’s own recommendations. For example, according to the BBC, the 2.2 million people who have been self-isolating can safely stop doing so from the end of July. It would be helpful if independent SAGE could give advice to this group. Similarly, gyms and pools are about to reopen, and gym users are being given the impression that they should return.
I hope that you find these suggestions useful and am happy to discuss them in more detail if that would be helpful.
Thank you all again for everything you are doing.
With all good wishes,
Mark E Thomas