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Boris Johnson struggled to understand pandemic statistics, says former scientific adviser

THE Boris Johnson he often looked “confused” in front of the scientists who tried to explain to him the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic and it was “horrible” to watch him try to understand statisticssaid the former scientific adviser to the British government.

During his hearing in the committee which investigates pandemic management, Patrick Vallance had to comment on passages from his notepad he kept during the pandemic, in which Vallance refers to the former prime minister’s scientific skills. In one of his notes, dated May 4, 2020, Vallance writes: “the prime minister is clearly confused». Ten days later, he says he “continues to be confused about the different types of tests (he understands them in a meeting and then forgets them)”, as reported by APE-MPE.

On 11 June 2020, Vallance writes that “watching the Prime Minister trying to make sense of statistics is appalling”, noting that on several occasions he held his head in his hands to show his displeasure. Speaking before the committee, in a “nail bit”, the former science adviser said Boris Johnson “gave up science when he was 15 and I think he would be the first to admit that science is not his strong point”.

However, Vallance said his counterparts in other countries may have experienced similar difficulties with their own leaders. Since the start of this public inquiry, further testimony from former Johnson advisers has been a catapult for the former prime minister. In some it is described as insufficient in the face of developments, not to be particularly concerned about the victims, in a country that was hit very hard by the pandemic with more than 230,000 recorded deaths.

Johnson resigned from the prime ministership in July 2022, due to successive triggers that saw the light of day in the past and many of them were related to the violation of health regulations for the pandemic. After examining the ways the country was prepared for the health crisis, the commission of inquiry — whose term is expected to be at least three years — chaired by Justice Heather Hallett, is currently examining the governance and political management of the outbreak virus.

During his hearing, Vallance, who was reprimanded in private meetings for defending the imposition of an early lockdown in London at the start of the pandemic, explained the sometimes difficult relationship between scientists and the executive. This is evidenced by another memo dated July 2020, in which the government’s former scientific adviser claims that during a meeting in July 2020, then finance minister Rishi Sunak – now prime minister – had said: “Everything has to it’s about how we manage scientists, not the virus.”

Source: News Beast

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