Telegraph Opinion piece

13 May 2020
by Martin Rees, Sam Hilton, Angus Mercer

Lord Martin Rees, Sam Hilton and Angus Mercer wrote an op-ed in the Telegraph.

This pandemic was entirely predictable. Why were we so poorly prepared?
Britain's flawed approach towards existential risk needs to change radically in the wake of this crisis

"For a document that sets out the greatest threats that this country faces, the UK National Risk Register is surprisingly little-known. But in such turbulent times it is worth our attention – particularly its assessment of the risk of emerging future diseases. The consequences of such diseases, we are told, may include “several thousand people experiencing symptoms, potentially leading up to 100 fatalities”.

The scale of this underestimate would be comical were it not so tragic. As we all know, the UK death toll from Covid-19 is now well over 30,000, and is still climbing at a rate of hundreds per day. A misjudgment of this magnitude raises serious questions about our country’s risk-management process, and how well prepared we really are to cope with low probability, highly destructive events...."

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