Politicians from the prime minister down have assured us their response to the coronavirus pandemic has been ‘guided by the science’. But the science has been hotly contested. The World Health Organisation urged countries to stamp out infections as soon as they developed, but the UK government’s initial scientific advice said the route out of the crisis was for most of us to catch the virus so we could develop herd immunity.

Dr Faye Kirkland asks whether this was a dangerous gamble with people’s lives or a sound scientific approach. Faced with a growing backlash and warnings that the NHS was close to being overwhelmed, politicians denied that herd immunity was the policy, and within a few days Britain pivoted to a new strategy – lockdown. Now, as we try to emerge from that lockdown, Panorama investigates what those early decisions could mean for our future.

The investigation was commissioned by BBC News and BBC Panorama.