April 17, 2021

COVID ONE YEAR AGO: The battle at the heart of British science over coronavirus.

The crisis may not be over, but already there are lessons. Perhaps the biggest one, according to Sir David [King], is to bolster resilience against future outbreaks. As chief scientific adviser between 2000 and 2008, he pushed the idea of the UK becoming more serious about preparing for emerging health and environmental threats.

“We seem to have forgotten the lessons, the fact that we need redundancy against all the things we haven’t prepared for,” he says.

The current crisis shows how a lack of preparation ultimately limits a country’s options. “When it came to foot-and-mouth and Sars, we used to be the ones telling China how to respond, but now the boot is on the other foot. The Asians are in the lead and they’ve responded well. We’ve done poorly.”

They’ve responded well.”


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