How the UK failed to stop second Covid wave: investigator explains to James O'Brien

26 November 2020, 13:39 | Updated: 26 November 2020, 16:31

By Fiona Jones

James O'Brien speaks to Reuters journalist Stephen Grey after his comprehensive investigation revealed how Britain failed to stop the second wave of coronavirus.

Over 50,000 people have now died with Covid-19, one of the highest tolls in the world - James asked Mr Grey what has gone wrong.

"You've got to start back in the early summer when we came out of the first wave Boris Johnson said that he was creating this huge and expensive Test and Trace system which he believed would prevent a second spike this winter," Mr Grey told James.

"It's never it could have been the silver bullet to solve everything but they placed huge dependence on this and implied that this would stop us coming back and into the situation we are now, and also prevent another lockdown, and both of those things haven't happened.

"The epic confidence put in this system justified opening things up, with subsidising people to go to pubs."

James pointed out the confidence was born in part by successful tracing systems being set up in other countries, to which Mr Grey agreed, as this was done "very well" in Asia and "quite well" in Germany.

"It relies on actually reaching the contacts of who you might have been in touch with and it has been almost an epic failure," Mr Grey said.

The Test and Trace system, branded by the investigation as central to the UK's downfall, failed on three accounts, the first of which that contacts are reached "very slowly".

"It's extraordinarily ineffective to the point that public health directors I speak to don't even regard it as a tracing service because they're not going in large part to peoples' contacts outside their houses," he said, as the second point.

Thirdly is the fact the Government have lost credibility over it and the public "don't trust the system so they're not telling these contact tracers who these contacts are," Mr Grey told James.

"One wonders if it has any effect whatsoever at in controlling the virus."

James asked whether Britain would be worse off if there was no Test and Trace system at all.

"I'm not sure it would have been any different," replied Mr Grey.

'If not cancel culture, what're you going to call it?': James O'Brien points out 'problem' with Online Harms Bill

James O'Brien points out the 'problem' with the Online Harms Bill

'2000 children waiting longer' for adoption due to pandemic, says charity boss

'2000 children waiting longer' for adoption due to pandemic, says charity boss

Caller explains powerful escape from far-right because of James O'Brien's show

James O'Brien caller's powerful escape from Covid conspiracy rabbit hole

James O'Brien callers heap praise MPs for service to communities

James O'Brien callers heap praise on MPs for service to communities

James O'Brien's provocative reaction to Eton Covid clampdown

James O'Brien's powerful reaction to Eton's Covid lockdown

LBC listeners just had to react to Daryl's call

The moving James O'Brien call listeners said brought tears to their eyes

James O'Brien: 'What on earth is wrong with gender-neutral gear?'

James O'Brien: 'What on earth is wrong with gender-neutral gear?'

The GP was speaking to LBC's James O'Brien

'Shouting, screaming, spitting!': GP explains shocking daily abuse he faces

James O'Brien reflects on moment his view on slaver statues changed

James O'Brien reflects on the moment his view on slaver statues changed

The caller was speaking to LBC's James O'Brien

Caller explains stark reality he faces due to Universal Credit cut

James O'Brien: 'Project Fear is reality - now PM claims it's part of the plan'

James O'Brien: 'Project Fear is reality - now PM claims it's part of the plan'

'Liberty of motion': James O'Brien solves post-Brexit worker shortages

'Liberty of motion': James O'Brien solves post-Brexit worker shortages

James O'Brien reacts as ex-Brexit Secretary blames industry for driver shortage

James O'Brien reacts as ex-Brexit Secretary blames driver shortage on industry

'What should a woman do?' James O'Brien demands 'serious' advice following Sarah Everard trial

James O'Brien demands 'serious' advice for women following Sarah Everard trial

A female police officer said people should consider calling 999 if approached by a lone person claiming to be an officer

Met Police: Run away and call 999 if you feel in danger when stopped by lone 'officer'

James O'Brien wonders why Brits aren't outraged by fuel panic-buyers

James O'Brien wonders why Brits aren't outraged by fuel panic-buyers