The government is not following the science: and it’s the health professionals who are saying so

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Whatever the government is now doing on Covid 19 it is not following the science. The Association of Directors of Public Health in the UK issued a statement yesterday saying so. As they noted:

COVID-19 has already taken a huge social and economic toll on our nation – and the reality is that it will continue to do so for some time.

We are at a critical moment. We need to weigh up the balance of risks between easing restrictions, to enable more pupils to return to school, more businesses to open and more social connections to happen, with the risk of causing a resurgence of infections.

Directors of Public Health are increasingly concerned that the Government is misjudging this balancing act and lifting too many restrictions, too quickly.

I think that is pretty unambiguous. But if there was doubt they added:

This is a new disease; evidence is still emerging and there is much uncertainty. However, based on what is currently known, several leading scientists and public health experts have spoken out about a string of recent national policy announcements affecting England which project a degree of confidence that many – including ADPH members – do not think is supported by the science.

And as a result of the confused messaging from the government they say:

Over the weekend we have seen signs that the public is no longer keeping as strictly to social distancing as it was – along with this, we are concerned that the resolve on personal hygiene measures, and the need to immediately self-isolate, if symptomatic, is waning. A relentless effort to regain and rebuild public confidence and trust following recent events is essential.

They conclude

The ADPH is calling for full implementation of all Phase 2 measures to be delayed until further consideration of the ongoing trends in infection rates and the R level gives more confidence about what the impact of these will be. There also must be a renewed drive to promote the importance of handwashing, social distancing and self-isolating if symptomatic, positive for COVID, or a contact of someone who is. And, additional assurance is required that the NHS Test and Trace System will be able to cope with the scale of the task.

The risk of a spike in cases and deaths – and of the social and economic impact if we have to return to stricter lockdown measures – cannot be overstated; this needs to be understood not only by the public but also by the Government.

What is very clear from that last comment is that they clearly think that the government either does not understand, or is choosing not to do so.

I now really hope that health experts will stop standing beside government ministers each day at the increasingly ludicrous press conferences that are being held: it is time for them to make clear that they withhold their consent to be used in this way. This crisis is too important for it to be pretended that their presence endorses ministers' actions when it is clear that most health professionals have no desire to do so.