Independent SAGE

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Independent SAGE logo

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] [5]

The non-profit activist group The Citizens, founded by Carole Cadwalladr, describes itself as "founders and producers" of Independent SAGE, but this is not referred to on the indie_SAGE website. [6]

Public statements

In May 2020, Independent SAGE warned against ending lockdown prematurely in places like schools. [5]

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. [7]

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. [8]

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. [9]

In July 2021, Professor Christina Pagel stated modeling predicted that cases would rise to 100,000 cases per day [10] by 19th July 2021. As it transpired, the seven-day average on 19th July was 41,302 with 34,245 new cases that day.


Members of Independent SAGE include: [11]

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  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. Independent SAGE Report of 12th May 2020 COVID-19: what are the options for the UK? Recommendations for government based on an open and transparent examination of the scientific evidence (retrieved 7 June 2020)
  5. 1 2 Tidman Z (28 May 2020) Not safe to reopen all schools next week and government ignoring scientific advice, Independent Sage warns. The Independent (retrieved 8 June 2020)
  6. Malnick, Edward (17 July 2021). "Revealed: Independent Sage is run by Left-wing group including anti-Brexit activists". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  7. "A Better Way To Go: towards to a Zero COVID UK" (PDF). Independent SAGE. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  8. 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.
  9. "Independent Sage scientists to join climate crisis battle". the Guardian. 21 November 2020. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  10. "Twitter: Prof. Christina Pagel".
  11. "Who are we?". Independent SAGE. Retrieved 19 June 2021.