It didn’t have to be this way.

If the Government had followed advice and had a lockdown in October which had the same effect as the Lockdown#2 did in November. Then by mid-November 6000 fewer people would have died. Click for a larger image.

Friends. Let me ask you to imagine an alternative reality.

In this reality, our government would have taken the advice of SAGE and instituted Lockdown#2 in October instead of November. It is not a crazy idea that a government should accept the advice of the people it has asked to advise it. Here are some news stories from 13th October 2020.

If they had taken that advice, where would would be now?

Let’s assume that:

  • Events would have evolved along a similar path to what actually happened one month later when we entered Lockdown#2. And that…
  • After the end of Lockdown, things continued as they actually continued.

Based on these assumptions

  • I calculate that in Mid-November 6000 fewer people would have died than had actually died at that point.

Additionally, the death rate would have still been below 100 people per day. At that low rate, there would have been an extended window in which Track Trace and Isolate might conceivably have been made to work.

What would have happened after this is harder to say. Every European country has seen a resurgence in the virus, and so I guess we would have too.

Here are two possibilities.

  • If we had managed to control the virus at low levels, then compared with the situation now, 19,000 people would be alive and we would be able to have Christmas celebrations.
  • If the virus had taken off exactly as it actually did in October – but just delayed by 6 weeks, then the number of people saved would only have been about 13,000.

If the Government had followed advice and had a lockdown in October which had the same effect as the Lockdown#2 did in November. Then to date – 20th December 2020 – somewhere between either 13,000 (red curve) or 19,000 (blue curve) fewer people would have died. Click for a larger image.

Why do I mention this?

This is not complex mathematics.

And while there are uncertainties in this calculation, the number of lives which might have been saved is on the order of 10,000 – no matter how you make the calculation.

The understanding that when a virus is in a period of exponential growth, acting earlier saves lives and livelihoods, is well-known to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of this field.

Even I recognised the trend and recommended a series of planned Lockdowns on 26th September 2020

It seems clear to me that the government must have known what was happening and yet they deliberately chose the path they did knowing full well that thousands of their own compatriots would die.

This is a despicable behaviour and ought to elicit the resignation of the Prime Minister.

Image Stolen from Red Molotov

2 Responses to “It didn’t have to be this way.”

  1. Simon Says:

    Re the new variant. I’ve heard that this “adds about 0.5 to R” and that it “increases R by about 70%” – said by, or quoting, scientists working in the field.
    I’m unconvinced that contributions to R are additive in this way. Why not just treat the variants as independent viruses. Each has their own R_0, and their own R_t, when we behave as we do. Other things being equal, won’t the most transmissible variant multiply and swamp the other variants? (This being half of what natural selection is all about anyway). I can understand the 70% comment applying to R_0.
    In Feb/Mar, lack of testing allowed the original virus to spread across the country before we became aware of it through hospital admissions. Now, the not very well controlled second wave has acted as “cover” for the new variant to spread until it began to dominate numbers in a few areas, when its more rapid growth became apparent in those areas (eg many schools in London and SE).
    I’m worried. Michael Walker (TyskySour on YouTube) expressed very similar concerns this evening.

    In all other respects – best seasonal wishes!

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:


      Good Evening. In honesty, I don’t know what to make of the ‘New Strain’. My first thought was that it was just political cover for catastrophic failure. I think quite a few people thought that too.

      Tom Chivers has a good article where he expresses the thought that despite his initial scepticism, there probably is a real thing and it probably does spread faster.

      Christian Drosten the German – go-to virologist – seems sanguine: basically saying this is normal – viruses do this.

      Like you – I think highly unlikely that the change can be expressed as a simple parameter change. But while I feel confident enough to comment on the numerology of the virus and just re-plot the same graphs over and over again, matters of fundamental virology and biological are things for which I have no feel and I do not trust my insight.

      I will stick to what I think I can do well – in the Kingdom of the innumerate – the man who can at least understand logarithms is king!

      I will check out the link you mentioned.

      Happy Coronamas – its like Christmas, but somehow different.


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