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Two years ago I said I was taking Covid ‘with a pinch of salt’ – perhaps I was wrong | Simon Jenkins

March 2020 was a nightmare month in the game of prediction. But I stand firm that some of my scepticism about the UK’s pandemic response may be borne out

Scientists must long to travel back two years and revisit their Covid predictions. So too must commentators who relied on them. That March of 2020 was a nightmare month for the great game of prediction.

Boris Johnson’s press conference on 3 March was a cautious occasion. He had just received wild reports from Whitehall’s scaremongers declaring that 80% of the nation “could be” about to suffer from a killer disease from which half a million “could die”. His response was to take comfort from his in-house scientists, guided down the path to “herd immunity” by his senior advisers, including Patrick Vallance.

Simon Jenkins is a Guardian columnist

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