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Sir Patrick Vallance argues that in pandemic decisions, science has been given too much importance at the expense of economics.


Nov 21, 2023

Sir Patrick has admitted that he made a mistake when agreeing to show a slide detailing the worst-case scenario for deaths during the second national lockdown announced by Mr Johnson on Oct 31, 2020. He was initially told to show the public the information slide, but he insisted it was a bad idea, but the prime minister thought it was necessary for the public to see it. Less than a week later, 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 Prime Minister had been forced into a hasty announcement of the lockdown after plans for it were leaked to the media, and Sir Patrick said the then prime minister spent three to four hours on the phone before that day’s press conference trying to explain his reasoning to Tory MPs and other critics. Sir Patrick noted that Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s senior adviser, had claimed that Rishi thinks just let people die and that’s okay. He said there was nothing wrong with the 4,000 deaths projection in terms of its scientific validity, but: “I just thought it was not a sensible science slide to show.”

By Editor

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