Covid has put academics like Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance at the heart of policymaking, but electing better politicians could be the answer

How many lives would have been saved in the pandemic if the UK government had truly “followed the science”? The question is unanswerable but hardly academic. We cannot accurately quantify how many lives were lost by the politically driven delays to lockdown in the first and second waves, but the number is not small.

So would we have done better simply to put scientists in charge of pandemic policy? Might we hand over climate change policy to them, too? In fact, would their evidence-based methods make them better leaders all round?

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