musings Covid-19 SARS-CoV-2 Government

Or how the UK could fail during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic.

Michael DeWitt https://michaeldewittjr.com

I read Jeremy Farrar’s Spike over the weekend. I don’t have anything insightful to say about it. On this side of the pond, the United Kingdom seemed like it had the best shot of handling this pandemic. The way that scientists and scientific advisors are brought to consult and model in a (from the outside) organized fashion as part of the decision-making process plus the venerable National Public Health Service, they had all the pieces to take informed decisions. In the States, sure we have several regulatory bodies and public health agencies, and a group of rag-tag academic that seem to just publish and post on twitter. Nothing coordinated. Additionally, our health systems are disparate, some state-run, some private, some for profit, others not–so, so I was interested to read an insider’s take into how the UK could fail so miserably.

While there were some fantastic quotes and inside insights that people working in health would appreciate, the key point is that everything hinges on a capable government. It rests on a government that wishes to act in good faith to preserve life. Once that is lost, then the whole response, no matter how well positioned to be successful, will fail. That’s what happened in the UK and that’s what happened in the US. There is also something to be said about the intersection of science and politics and how they merge into policy. I struggle personally, not with the science, but when science meets politics to become policy. Most of the time the science is clear. Even when the science isn’t clear, the uncertainty, in some way, is clear. But pushing that messaging into policy is always a rough road, when leadership wants certainty (“ranges are for cattle, give me a number” as is attributed to LBJ).

If I remember to add the quotes, I’ll do so.


If you see mistakes or want to suggest changes, please create an issue on the source repository.


Text and figures are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 4.0. Source code is available at https://github.com/medewitt/medewitt.github.io, unless otherwise noted. The figures that have been reused from other sources don't fall under this license and can be recognized by a note in their caption: "Figure from ...".


For attribution, please cite this work as

DeWitt (2021, Aug. 11). Michael DeWitt: Spike. Retrieved from https://michaeldewittjr.com/posts/2021-08-11-spike/

BibTeX citation

  author = {DeWitt, Michael},
  title = {Michael DeWitt: Spike},
  url = {https://michaeldewittjr.com/posts/2021-08-11-spike/},
  year = {2021}