What they did not do was take questions on their alarming thesis or indicate how it should affect government policy. They based their argument on two countries, Spain and France, both with “case surges” far worse than the UK, without mentioning Italy, Germany, Sweden or elsewhere – evidence that might point in the opposite direction.We know the graph that appears each evening on the BBC showing UK cases rising ever nearer the 5,000 registered at the virus’s peak in April. Everyone familiar with this graph knows it to be misleading. The figure to which most epidemiologists attach significance, that of “excess deaths” over the seasonal norm, which soared in April, now remains close to normal. Citing a potential “exponential rise” in deaths as Vallance did is to deploy the same threat as was used by Imperial College’s Neil Ferguson with his forecast of half a million deaths back in March. Respectable scientists outside the Downing Street clique plead almost daily for the nation to get used to living with this illness through the winter, shielding the vulnerable and ensuring that hospitals can cope with a winter upsurge. Whitehall rumours abound of deep divisions between the “bubble” of scientists round Boris Johnson and other ministers wrestling to keep the economy and normal life in some sort of order.
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