Independent SAGE

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The Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, better known as Independent SAGE, is a group of scientists, unaffiliated to government (although some are also in the government SAGE), that publishes advice aimed toward the UK government regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Its name is based on SAGE, the name of the government's official Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

The questions raised about the transparency of SAGE[1] and possible political interference[2][3] during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom led to concerns about trust in public health messaging being raised by scientists and by the media. As an alternative, a group of scientists created Independent SAGE, chaired by Sir David Anthony King, a former Government Chief Scientific Advisor, in early May 2020 to "provide a clear structure on which an effective policy should be based given the inevitability that the virus will continue to cross borders".[4]

The non-profit group The Citizens, created by The Observer journalist and political activist Carole Cadwalladr,[5] were a founding partner with Independent SAGE in May 2020.[6] They continue to support Independent SAGE's social media and web presence.

Public statements[edit]

In May 2020, Independent SAGE warned against ending lockdown prematurely in places like schools.[7] In July 2020, they published a strategy pressing the UK government to achieve ‘zero Covid,’ stating ‘The prospect of many thousands of further deaths from COVID-19 over the next nine months is unacceptable,' although in the same report they noted only one infectious disease - smallpox - has ever been successfully eliminated. [8]

In September 2020, Independent SAGE called for immediate government action to prevent further increase in the prevalence of COVID-19 infection, to prevent the need for a second national lockdown.[9]

In November 2020, Sir David King stated that he was considering continuing Independent SAGE's work after the coronavirus pandemic, with a focus on combatting climate change.[10]





  1. ^ Landler, Mark; Castle, Stephen (23 April 2020). "The Secretive Group Guiding the U.K. on Coronavirus". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Revealed: Cummings is on secret scientific advisory group for Covid-19". The Guardian. 24 April 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Dominic Cummings attended meetings of scientific advisory group, No10 admits". ITV News. 25 April 2020. Mr Cummings' attendance has been criticised, with many suggesting it could have politicised decision making.
  4. ^ "COVID-19: what are the options for the UK? Recommendations for government based on an open and transparent examination of the scientific evidence" (PDF). Independent SAGE. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  5. ^ Clarke, Laurie (1 November 2021). "Covid-19's rebel scientists: has iSAGE been a success?". BMJ. 375: n2650. doi:10.1136/bmj.n2650. ISSN 1756-1833. PMID 34725051. S2CID 240290264. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  6. ^ "What is Independent SAGE? | Independent SAGE".
  7. ^ "Not safe to reopen all schools next week, Independent Sage warns". The Independent. 28 May 2020.
  8. ^ "A Better Way To Go: towards to a Zero COVID UK" (PDF). Independent SAGE. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  9. ^ Wise, Jacqui (21 September 2020). "Covid-19: Act now to avoid second lockdown, says Independent SAGE". BMJ. 370: m3695. doi:10.1136/bmj.m3695. ISSN 1756-1833. PMID 32958513.
  10. ^ "Independent Sage scientists to join climate crisis battle". the Guardian. 21 November 2020. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Who are we? | Independent SAGE".

External links[edit]