Recently, there has been a lot of interest in – and excitement about – the UK Covid inquiry. The focus is – unsurprisingly – on the first days of the pandemic in 2020, and on the decisions leading to the first lockdown.
Many people have provided more or less balanced commentaries and views related to the lockdown. A lot of them err on the side of using too much hindsight, imputing all we know now into what was known at the time.
This is why diaries from the time are so important, as they attempted to capture the actual state of knowledge and mind at that time. The tweet/X above by @jim_reed provides a good running commentary on the current situation.
Interestingly, I wrote the following in March 2020, which, I think, captures neatly what was happening at that time:
Is my government doing enough/too much? You need to understand that a politician needs to carefully balance the pros and cons of any action they take, as the consequences might be massive. This means that they tend to either do nothing (President Trump before the 11th of March) or go into a full action (President Trump after the 11th of March). They will not want to be accused of needlessly spending money. Still, on the other hand, they do not want to see TV programmes about hundreds of people dying in hospitals. In fact, our own research shows that for people, there are two rational strategies, do nothing, or act with a full force. Economists call it a ‘bang-bang’ approach. So, expect the governments to swing between different options as they face the biggest crisis since 2008.AK, March 12th, 2020
So true for the following three years…