The UK made a “serious error” in taking a “fatalistic approach” that amounted to accepting “herd immunity by infection” during the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic, a damning report by the Health and Social Care and Science and Technology committees has concluded.
The report on lessons learnt from the Coronavirus crisis states that the decision to move from a “contain” stage to a “delay” stage in the first three months of the pandemic meant that the [Tory] Government effectively chose to manage the spread of COVID-19 “through the population rather than [stopping] the spread altogether”.
“Amounted in practice to accepting that herd immunity by infection was the inevitable outcome”.
The report is also clear that “it is important to record that all decisions taken during those initial weeks were taken in a fog of uncertainty”.
On 24 February 2020, a World Health Organisation (WHO) report stated that COVID-19 had a fatality rate of 3.8% that rose to 20% in the over-80s. Therefore, the policy of “taking the virus on the chin” and letting it spread through the population – as Boris Johnson told ITV’s This Morning in March 2021 – risked a significant death rate.
The History of Herd Immunity
Throughout the pandemic, Byline Times has questioned the Government’s herd immunity approach towards the Coronavirus – scrutiny of which was marginalised by other media organisations.
In June 2021, Nafeez Ahmed revealed how Cabinet Office documents “incorporated immunity by natural infection” alongside vaccination into all the modelling used to develop Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown earlier in the year.
A model presented to the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) came to the conclusion that should there be insufficient levels of vaccination in the UK, this would mean that “herd immunity is not reached without a large resurgence of transmission”.
However, Byline Times also reported how Government advisor Professor Robert Dingwall, who claimed that young people and children are better off getting infected than vaccinated as a way of “topping up” population immunity, was behind an effort by supporters of the Great Barrington Declaration in April to convince the Government to end all COVID-19-related protections.