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How effective were Covid lockdowns – and should we use them if another pandemic hits?

While the Covid inquiry focuses on Boris Johnson, there remain fundamental questions about the use of lockdowns – and whether such blunt tools are the right way to control infections, writes epidemiologist Adam Kucharski

Thursday 07 December 2023 17:50 GMT
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<p>Boris Johnson has been criticised for being too slow to lock the UK down during the first Covid wave.  </p>

Boris Johnson has been criticised for being too slow to lock the UK down during the first Covid wave.

Boris Johnson has finally taken the stand at the Covid inquiry, an opportunity to defend himself against a barrage of criticism from politicians, advisers and civil servants who served with him as the pandemic engulfed the UK.

The use of lockdowns and their impact on the death toll remain fundamental questions: how effective were they in reducing the spread of the disease and if – or when – a similar pandemic hits us, what role should they play?

As a professor of infectious disease epidemiology, I spent the pandemic analysing the data on these questions.

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