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The Guardian view on the Covid inquiry: expert witnesses expose a mass of political failure | Editorial

Testimony from the government’s medical and scientific advisers condemns Boris Johnson’s Downing Street and Rishi Sunak’s Treasury

Many people will have been unaware that UK governments had chief medical officers and scientific advisers before the pandemic. This week’s testimony to the Covid inquiry from Sir Chris Whitty, Sir Patrick Vallance and other officials is a reminder of the extraordinary process that turned previously anonymous figures into household names. Facing catastrophe, ministers not only needed guidance from experts (even if they didn’t always heed it) but were compelled to televise their advice to reassure the public.

The scale of the challenge could have been better anticipated. Sir Chris, the chief medical officer, told the inquiry that governments have a tendency to underestimate the threat of natural disasters and public health crises relative to hazards such as war.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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