SA, I haven’t followed corporate media coverage sufficiently to actually know the propaganda situation, but if I had this government’s motives, I would issue press releases and hold press conferences pushing the modelling to the fore, knowing it would be a prime target for the corporate media. It would draw the media’s criticism away from the government, and it would provide the government with a convenient and essentially defenceless scapegoat after or during the disaster.
The government of course want it both ways. They want it to look as though the “lockdown” is not their fault, but they want the death toll to look like it’s not their fault either. This is a fundamental weakness of democracy; to get re-elected, a government has a strong incentive to divert blame elsewhere. I suspect that Labour would have gone for strong and early lockdown, accepting that they’d then be ridiculed by the corporate media. There would have been a much lower death toll, but the Conservative’s high death toll would never have occurred for comparison, so the corporate media would then have blamed Labour for the ensuing recession all the way to the next election…
– “Tried and tested public health measures and trust in an international cooperative body is what should have been stressed and acted upon”
Absolutely! When faced with an emergency, use the tried and tested, reliable, age-old tools. Gain time to develop and deploy more advanced measures, certainly, but procrastinating is inexcusable.
In practice, the modelling is of very limited relevance. All we needed in order to estimate the eventual death toll was the infection fatality rate. Additionally, knowing that covid-19 was novel implied that the entire population was extremely vulnerable, and covid-19 would spread very rapidly. But all of this was obvious anyway, from Wuhan, Beijing, the Diamond Princess, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea.
The UK government had more than ample warning from other countries’ experience; it didn’t need the model, not in the slightest. Jeez, if I could see what was coming there’s no way the government could have been taken by surprise, not with all its additional staff and resources. It takes several days for the ICL model to produce output; probably the government just used that delay as an excuse for doing nothing for a little longer. It’s probably all about the Cheltenham Festival in fact, the Tories’ annual Spring piss-up and adultery opportunity.