Christmas is going to be very different this year. Sadly, it needs to be so that many more of us can enjoy next Christmas with our families and friends, and all the Christmases beyond, Dr Joe Pajak writes.


First published in December 2020.


The UK passed a dreadful milestone today as government data indicates that over TWO MILLION positive Covid-19 cases   have now been reported since the first case was reported in January 2020.

Meanwhile, significantly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced this afternoon at the latest media conference from Number 10 that the planned ‘relaxation’ of coronavirus restrictions at Christmas will be limited to just one day in England. In large parts of the South East and in London it will be scrapped entirely.  

As reported by the Evening Standard, “The new Tier 4 rules come despite Boris Johnson (previously) saying it would be “inhuman” to cancel Christmas.” Areas currently in Tier 3 in South-East England, including London, will enter Tier 4 from tomorrow morning. Boris Johnson says that Tier 4 “will be broadly equivalent” to November’s lockdown.  

Boris Johnson. | Flickr - Number 10

LBC quotes Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty’s answer to a question about someone who has perhaps already packed ready to travel, “Please, unpack your bags,” urging people in London and the South-East to cancel plans to leave the area.  

Some may question whether the ‘new strain’, while a genuine concern, was also a convenient excuse for yet another U-turn; others might point to previous decisions that were taken too late. Perhaps those of a more generous disposition, will look to pleas made by the government’s SAGE scientific advisers, and others, to act more decisively in relation to Christmas ‘rules’. Alternatively, perhaps the PM had taken on board the article in The Times on 16 December by David Aaronovitch, where in essence he writes:

“It still isn’t too late. Let me get down on my venerable if metaphorical knees and beg the powers-that-be. Restrict household mixing from three to two, cut the days from five to two — Christmas Day and Boxing Day.”

Whatever the reason, we needed Mr Johnson to take tough action, ‘to be the Christmas Grinch’. At last, finally, it looks as if Boris Johnson and his ministers found the courage to restrict family gatherings, and in doing so, to prevent the possibility of thousands more people becoming infected, and worse, because of Christmas.   Such a shame it was done so late, the impact will disappoint so many who had made plans based on the PM’s original guidance.

Today’s data in focus

Today’s data indicates the sad fact that a further 534 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 6,078.

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 298,251 new cases reported in the past 14 days, around 32% more than the 14-day figures reported a week ago on 12 December.

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

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

  • 27,052 further positive tests (see note below)
  • 534 further deaths in the last 24 hours
  • 1,907 further hospital admissions (reported as of 15/12)
  • 18,771 hospital in-patients in total (reported as of 17/12)
  • 1,364 patients on ventilation beds (reported as of 18/12)

324 days after the first case was reported in the UK, 2,004,219 cases have been reported, together with 67,075 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: 76,287 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, 4 December 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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[This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 19 December 2020. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]