Intended for healthcare professionals

Covid Inquiry

As we await the completion of the UK’s covid-19 inquiry, we will need patience and realistic expectations. But with the excess death toll approaching 200,000, there is little doubt that the UK’s response fell far short of its potential.

This series of articles analyses the successes and failures of the pandemic response in the UK, how information was misused, abused, and manipulated, and how politicians used, and failed to use, evidence in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

Each article in our series, will offer a set of messages that we hope will inform the inquiry, as well as a list of questions that demand answers.


Guided by the science? Questions for the UK’s covid-19 public inquiry
Martin McKee, Kara Hanson, and Kamran Abbasi introduce The BMJ's covid inquiry series


How covid-19 spreads: narratives, counter narratives, and social dramas
Trisha Greenhalgh and colleagues explore why inaccurate narratives about the mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 emerged early in the pandemic and shaped a flawed policy response, with tragic consequences

Covid-19 in the UK: policy on children and schools
Deepti Gurdasani and colleagues argue UK covid policy did not give children sufficient priority and question the evidence behind government decisions

Role of scientific advice in covid-19 policy
Holly Jarman and colleagues discuss why scientific advice must be separate from government decisions and evaluate the autonomy and transparency of the UK’s system

Role of mathematical modelling in future pandemic response policy
Christina Pagel and Christian Yates consider what the pandemic has taught us about mathematical modelling in the UK and how it can be used more effectively

Implementation of covid-19 vaccination in the United Kingdom
Decisions about approving covid-19 vaccines and strategies for their use in the UK must be rapid and transparent, say Azeem Majeed and colleagues, and a sustainable infrastructure should be put in place for delivering covid-19 vaccines to the public

Learning networks in the pandemic: mobilising evidence for improvement
Manbinder S Sidhu and colleagues examine how communities of practice developed and shared knowledge about covid-19 and how the process could be more effective

Effective knowledge mobilisation: creating environments for quick generation, dissemination, and use of evidence
Raheelah Ahmad and colleagues examine how knowledge mobilisation worked during the covid-19 pandemic and call for successful models to be embedded in UK research and policy environments

Understanding and neutralising covid-19 misinformation and disinformation
Yuxi Wang and colleagues say that the public inquiry on covid-19 must look at who was opposing public health measures and why and should call on public health authorities to engage more effectively with the threats of infodemics

This article is part of a series commissioned, peer reviewed, and edited by The BMJ. The advisory group for the series was chaired by Kara Hanson, and included Martin McKee although he was not involved in the decision making on the papers that he co-authored. Kamran Abbasi was the lead editor for The BMJ.

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