We’ve got a bit more from Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, who recorded an interview with BBC Radio 4 before today’s report came out and touched on some of the criticisms of the government response.
He said that his “mantra” for a long time in the pandemic has been that “you’ve got to go sooner than you want to in terms of taking interventions, you’ve got to go harder than you want to, and you’ve got to go more geographically broad than you want to”.
That’s a stark contrast from his BBC interview on 13 March 2020, when he said the aim was to “reduce the peak” of infections, “not to suppress it completely”, saying that the population would build up a “degree of herd immunity”.
Vallance suggested in his latest interview that they were dealing with a new virus and as new evidence came in, the scientific judgements changed.
“For a politician, that feels like a U-turn, or for the media that often feels like a U-turn,” he said. “It’s not a U-turn, this is new evidence that gives you a new position: this is the way we progress, the way we learn.”