Why the new Covid tier rules are anything but clear
The Government has already faced criticism for its use of out-of-date projections on hospitalisations when
The Government has already faced criticism for its use of out-of-date projections on hospitalisations when they announced the second lockdown and eventually had to reissue charts revising doom-laden forecasts down.
Perhaps more tellingly, the plan also makes explicit that epidemiological metrics are not the only data points factoring into the Government’s thinking. “The movement of areas up and down tiers will also be informed by broader economic and practical considerations, such as the anticipated movement of individuals between areas,” says the plan.
But the Government has not spelled out what datasets are being considered here, or published any of them. In March, the Information Commissioner approved the use of mobile phone data in the fight against Covid, a potential avenue for assessing movement. None of it has been released.
Moreover, the precise models used to forecast the economic impact – and the extent to which people aren’t expected to comply with measures – were not detailed in the plan.
It’s this issue which has drawn the ire of Conservative backbenchers, sceptical about the efficacy of lockdown, who have demanded to see the modelling before they vote in favour of more swingeing restrictions.
While the public are still unable to see all of the information the Prime Minister and his closest advisers are using to plunge vast swathes of the country into restrictions, and challenges with the data that is published continues to exist, it’s not hard to see why many people recently elevated to the top tiers of the system feel hard done by.