Scientists in the UK working as advisors for the government have expressed regret for using what they now admit to be "unethical" and "totalitarian" methods of instilling fear in the population in order to control behaviour during the pandemic, according to a report.
The London Telegraph reports the comments made by Members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B), a sub-committee of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) the government's chief scientific advisory group.
The report quotes a briefing from March 2020, as the first lockdown was decreed, that stated the government should drastically increase "the perceived level of personal threat" that the virus poses because "a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened".
One scientist with the SPI-B admits that "In March  the Government was very worried about compliance and they thought people wouldn't want to be locked down. There were discussions about fear being needed to encourage compliance, and decisions were made about how to ramp up the fear."
The unnamed scientist adds that "The way we have used fear is dystopian."
The scientist further confessed that "The use of fear has definitely been ethically questionable. It's been like a weird experiment. Ultimately, it backfired because people became too scared."
Another separate scientist on the subcommittee professed "You could call psychology 'mind control'. That's what we do… clearly we try and go about it in a positive way, but it has been used nefariously in the past."