The chief medical officer, professor Chris Whitty, and chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, made a statement this morning on the latest data surrounding Covid-19, laying the groundwork for new restrictions that the government is expected to announce tomorrow. It wasn’t a press conference with questions, so they could not be challenged on what they presented --— but there were plenty of questions to ask. Here are five:
1. Sir Patrick presented a graph showing a frightening exponential rise in cases to 49,000 a day by mid-October --— if cases continued to double every seven days. He emphasised that it wasn’t a prediction, yet only presented one scenario. The idea that cases are doubling every seven days is based on data from a very brief period in late August and early September. But in France and Spain --— which are being watched closely, under the assumption that the UK is following the same Covid-19 trajectories --— cases took three weeks to double. Moreover, the graphs presented to us show that cases there are no longer rising at an exponential rate --— in fact, the rise is starting to level off. If the UK is following France and Spain, this does not support a scenario of Covid-19 infections doubling every seven days. Why didn’t he also show a graph with this scenario: that we follow either Spain or France? Read more . . .