London (AP) – Boris Johnson, the former British Prime Minister, struggled to understand much of the science during the coronavirus pandemic, his chief scientific advisor Patrick Vallance said Monday.
In eagerly anticipated testimony to the country’s public inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic, Vallance revealed that he and others faced repeated problems getting Johnson to comprehend the science. “I think I’m right in saying that the prime minister gave up science at 15,” he said. “I think he’d be the first to admit it wasn’t his forte and that he struggled with the concepts and we did need to repeat them often.”
Vallance also shared extracts from Johnson’s diary that were relayed to the inquiry, which revealed that Johnson was “bamboozled” by graphs and data and found it difficult to get his head around stats. He also acknowledged that other leaders around Europe had similar difficulties understanding scientific evidence and advice during early stages of pandemic.
The UK has one of the highest COVID-19 death tolls in Europe, with more than 232,000 people dying from COVID-19 as of now. Johnson will address this inquiry before Christmas after heavy pressure from bereaved families who have criticized him for actions taken during pandemic. The probe led by retired Judge Heather Hallett is expected to take three years to complete.