The previous chief scientific adviser for the government acknowledged that Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out program had a clear impact on the transmission of Covid.
During his testimony at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, Sir Patrick stated that the scheme likely had an impact on transmission.
It is challenging to imagine that it would not have impacted transmission. This would have been the guidance given if we were consulted beforehand.
When asked if Mr. Sunak was aware of the potential risks, Sir Patrick stated that it would have been evident to anyone that this could lead to a rise in transmission risk.
Previously, Sir Patrick Vallance’s diaries uncovered that Sir Patrick had stated Boris Johnson was “confused” by scientific guidance throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, frequently failing to remember details that were recently shared with him.
The previous top scientific advisor made remarks about the Prime Minister’s handling of the pandemic, including “it is terrible to watch him try to understand statistics”.
Vallance stated that it is highly probable that the Eat Out to Help Out program led to fatalities.
According to Archie Mitchell, Sir Patrick Vallance has stated that there is a strong chance the Eat Out to Help Out program implemented by Rishi Sunak contributed to an increase in Covid-related fatalities.
The previous chief scientific adviser, who previously stated he was not informed about the policy until it was made public, affirmed that he was certain ministers were aware it would lead to an increase in virus transmission.
Boris Johnson considered the possibility of enduring and announcing that there would be fatalities.
Before the initial national lockdown, Boris Johnson contemplated being honest with the public and announcing that we would endure the difficulties and inform them that there would be fatalities. This information was revealed during the Covid inquiry by Archie Mitchell.
According to notes from Sir Patrick Vallance, the ex-prime minister stated his remarks at a March 2020 meeting.
the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, stated that Johnson had conflicting desires.
According to Sir Patrick’s diaries, Simon Case stated that Boris Johnson had conflicting desires during the pandemic. This was reported by Archie Mitchell.
The previous chief scientific advisor documented a personal discussion in which the ex-permanent secretary of Mr. Johnson made the statement.
The Covid inquiry revealed Sir Patrick’s frustration with Mr Johnson’s inconsistent stance on a daily basis.
The previous chief scientific adviser also mentioned that Mr Johnson was greatly influenced by the media.
He stated this while discussing a journal entry where he described Mr Johnson as a “feeble and hesitant” prime minister.
When questioned about the remark, he explained that it was written during a moment of frustration late at night. However, he also stated that he believes the Prime Minister was heavily influenced by the media.
According to Dominic Cummings, Rishi Sunak’s belief was that it was acceptable for people to die.
According to Archie Mitchell’s report, Sir Patrick Vallance’s diaries reveal that Dominic Cummings claimed Rishi Sunak was okay with the idea of letting people die during the pandemic.
The former chief scientific adviser made the note of what Mr Cummings said during a meeting in October 2020.
Boris Johnson stated that elderly individuals have had a good run and should be allowed to get infected with the virus.
According to the diaries of Sir Patrick Vallance, Boris Johnson was in favor of allowing the pandemic to spread freely in October 2020. He was willing to accept the consequences, including more deaths, as he believed that the elderly had already lived a fulfilling life. This information was reported by Archie Mitchell.
The explosive written records outline a discussion with the Prime Minister where he advocated for the removal of limitations and stated that the majority of individuals who pass away “have already fulfilled their lifespan”.
According to Sir Patrick’s diaries, Mr. Johnson expressed reluctance towards implementing another nationwide lockdown.
Sir Patrick expressed that he feels there is a complete absence of leadership in this situation.
Sir Patrick Vallance disputed the statements made by Matt Hancock, citing them as false.
According to Archie Mitchell, Sir Patrick Vallance, the newest top advisor, has accused Matt Hancock of consistently making false statements during the pandemic.
The previous chief scientific adviser stated during the Covid inquiry that he had a tendency to make statements without a solid foundation and with excessive enthusiasm, only to have to retract them a few days later when evidence was lacking.
“I am unsure if the behavior was due to excessive enthusiasm or intentional. I believe most of it was a result of excessive enthusiasm, but there were also moments where he said things that caught me off guard because the evidence did not support it,” he stated.
Boris Johnson likened long-Covid to the illness known as Gulf War Syndrome.
According to Archie Mitchell’s report on Sir Patrick Vallance’s pandemic diaries, Boris Johnson expressed significant doubt towards long-Covid and even likened it to Gulf War Syndrome.
Gulf War syndrome is a medical condition which struck veterans of the 1991 war, with symptoms including fatigue, chronic headaches, and skin and respiratory disorders.
There was a significant amount of abuse experienced by Sir Patrick during the pandemic.
According to Zander Butler’s report, Sir Patrick Vallance acknowledged that scientific advisors working with the government during the pandemic experienced significant abuse.
When asked by Baroness Hallett, chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, Sir Patrick stated that even though he is not a minister, he has still experienced a significant amount of abuse.
In a particular instance, Professor Chris Whitty, a colleague of Sir Patrick, was approached while strolling through a park in central London after being identified from televised Covid press conferences.
In June 2021, 24-year-olds Jonathan Chew and Lewis Hughes confronted England’s chief medical officer in St James’s Park, grabbing him and shouting at him directly.
Sir Patrick Vallance stated that he found it unhelpful when Covid press conferences shifted towards political discussions.
According to Archie Mitchell’s report, Sir Patrick Vallance expressed his dissatisfaction with the politicization of Covid press conferences, calling it “unhelpful.” However, he also stated that he was open to publicly voicing his disagreement with government officials.
The ex-chief scientific advisor stated that it was most effective when ministers or PM Boris Johnson addressed political inquiries.
He mentioned that there were times when he and Sir Chris Whitty held different opinions than the government’s decisions during their public appearances.
He stated, “For instance, when transitioning from the two metre rule to a lower number, I firmly believe that being two metres apart is safer than one metre, without a doubt.”
Researchers had to put in extra effort to gain the attention of the government at 10 Downing Street.
When questioned by inquiry lawyer Andrew O’Connor KC about times when he felt his advice was not being sought in earnest, Sir Patrick stated that there were certainly periods when it was apparent that our unwanted advice was not being well-received.
This required us to put in extra effort to ensure that our scientific evidence and advice was being effectively communicated.
It is not unexpected that there were meetings in which we were not involved. This is a common occurrence.
As previously mentioned, we were at No 10 for approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Given the ongoing activities and political decisions, it’s understandable that we were not always included in certain events.
“There were certainly instances where we had to present unpleasant evidence and offer advice.”
According to Sir Patrick Vallance, scientists had to put in extra effort to make sure their recommendations were taken seriously during the pandemic. He shared this information during the Covid-19 inquiry.