• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Expert Sir Patrick Vallance Urges Balancing of Science and Economics in Pandemic Decision-Making


Nov 21, 2023

Sir Patrick has revealed that there was an error made when a slide detailing the worst-case scenario for deaths was shown to the public. This happened amid the announcement of a second national lockdown on October 31, 2020. Despite Sir Patrick’s belief that it was a bad idea, Mr. Johnson insisted that the public should see the slide as he had seen it.

The Office for Statistics Regulation criticized Sir Patrick for not releasing the data and assumptions behind the worst-case scenario projection of 4,000 deaths per day by December 2020 if no action was taken. The then prime minister, Mr. Johnson, was forced to make a hasty announcement of the lockdown after the plans were leaked to the media. He spent a considerable amount of time on the phone explaining his reasoning to critics before the press conference.

Despite its scientific validity, Sir Patrick expressed his belief that the 4,000 deaths projection was not a sensible science slide to show. In his diaries from October 2020, he noted claims by Dominic Cummings, Mr. Johnson’s senior adviser, that “Rishi thinks just let people die and that’s okay.”

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