Is it surprising that a growing number of councils, and secondary schools, in Tier 3 areas, are making the difficult decision to close early for the Christmas break? Dr Joe Pajak asks today.

First published in December 2020.

Infection on the rise

Data from the Office for National Statistics show that infection rates continue to be highest among secondary school-age children.

Sky News science and medical correspondent Thomas Moore writes that “there seems little doubt that transmission [of the Covid-19 virus] is occurring at school, or through social interaction’ before or after school.”

The UK government has confirmed that infection rates are rising exponentially in some areas. Little surprise, therefore, it announced today that Greater London, South and West Essex, and South Hertfordshire, will all move into Tier 3 of the Covid-19 restrictions from 00:01 on Wednesday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock set out the changes in an address to the House of Commons this afternoon:

It looks like the government has recognised the need for quick and decisive action, and that clear messaging is essential – in what will become a fast-moving and worrying scenario for us all. The question remains, what is the plan for Christmas?

Today’s data in focus

Today’s data indicates the sad fact that a further 232 people have lost their lives in the last 24 hours in the UK, while the number of deaths in the last 14 days is at 5,970.

Note: The data for deaths attributed to Covid-19, each following a reported positive test result for Covid-19 within 28 days of their death.

Today’s Government data indicate that there have been 240,014 new cases reported in the past 14 days, around 13% more than the 14-day figures reported a week ago on 7 December.

Today’s trendline chart, and headline UK Covid-19 data, are provided below:

UK Covid-19 headline data, reported on 14 December 2020:

  • 20,263 further positive tests
  • 232 further deaths in the last 24 hours
  • 1,693 further hospital admissions (reported as of 10/12)
  • 16,531 hospital in-patients in total (reported as of 10/12)
  • 1,275 patients on ventilation beds (reported as of 11/12)

319 days after the first case was reported in the UK, 1,869,666 cases have been reported, together with 64,402 deaths. However, these data include only those who have died within 28 days of testing positive; other measures suggest the number of deaths is higher: 73,125 being reported as “the total number of deaths of people whose death certificate mentioned Covid-19 as one of the causes, registered up to Friday, 27 November 2020.”🔷

Data source:

Dr Joe Pajak, Professional experience applied scientific research and development, then director of a national children’s charity, trustee of a disability charity, and governor of NHS foundation trust hospitals.


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🗳️ Matt Hancock

[This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 14 December 2020. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]