Last week the government’s response to Covid was criticised in a report by two Commons committees for apparently pursuing herd immunity by infection at the start of the pandemic. Continuing high Covid rates indicate that nothing has changed except the public’s ability to react. According to experts (Why Britons are tolerating sky-high Covid rates – and why this may not last, 15 October), a reason for this is the “normalisation” of Covid infection and deaths by the government. In reality, there is nothing normal about this “normalisation”.
The UK is known as “plague island” in Europe. Surely it’s time we realised that the use of protective measures against Covid are working well across the Channel, while the UK government’s lack of action continues to lead to unnecessary illness, suffering and death. Let’s hope that the experts quoted in your article are right and that the apathy of the British public will not last.
Dr Jo Fayram
Earlier this year, we wrote that many of the 100,000-plus deaths so far officially recorded in the UK condemned the government to being guilty of what Friedrich Engels called “social murder” (Letters, 27 January). In the light of the report by the Commons committees, this point has become even more relevant in terms of holding ministers and others to account, through the courts if necessary, for their lamentable failure to prevent thousands of needless deaths. That might go some way also to supporting bereaved families, whose devastating experiences were scandalously ignored by the Commons committees.
Joe Sim Professor of criminology, Liverpool John Moores University
Steve Tombs Professor of criminology, Open University
Brazil’s Covid parliamentary commission of inquiry (CPI) has concluded after five months and 17 days of televised sessions that became compulsive viewing for many in the country. Jair Bolsonaro’s negationism and his cheerleading of irresponsible behaviour frustrated a concerted national pandemic response. The CPI pulled back the curtain on a host of secondary actors from politics and business, and revealed potentially criminal actions. These include possible misuse of public funds, irregularities in obtaining vaccines, prescription of ineffective “Covid kits” containing hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, and testing of treatments without ethical approvals.
The Brazilian CPI has benefited from being conducted in full public view, making it harder for participants to maintain a poker face, and having begun without a long delay that could be exploited by those who have something to hide.
Prof Patricia Deps