The Covid-19 virus was never planning to take a break at Christmas, so why was the government ever proposing to relax the Covid-19 restrictions for those 5 days? Dr Joe Pajak asks.

First published in December 2020.

Christmas and the new COVID variant

Thank goodness, the government at last appears to have listened to ‘the science’, albeit many will think, several weeks late again – having changed its assessment and advice regarding the Christmas period.

Yesterday, Saturday 19 December, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the introduction tougher restrictions for London and parts of England with a new Tier 4: “Stay at Home” Alert Level, reportedly “in response to the new COVID variant.”

The announcement of this decision “followed a rapid rise in infections attributed to the rapid spread of a new variant of COVID-19.”

The government website confirming that, “based on preliminary modelling data, the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) now consider that the new strain can spread significantly more quickly and could increase R by 0.4 or more. It was confirmed that new and existing data would “continue to be analysed as we learn more about the variant.”

On Saturday, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock wrote on Twitter: This data is worrying and shows why we must act now. Without this action, infections would soar, our NHS would become overwhelmed and many more would lose their lives. We cannot let this happen. Thank you to everyone stepping forward in the national effort at this difficult time.”

In a fast moving, and somewhat confusing, situation, Dr Susan Hopkins, of Public Health England told Sky News that “the new COVID-19 variant has been detected in every region of England, but there are no signals it causes higher mortality rate.

Meanwhile today, BBC presenter, Andrew Marr, asked the Health Secretary, “Is the coronavirus under control?” to which, Matt Hancock replied: “No. It’s not. The new variant is out of control.”

The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has responded to the situation by accusing Boris Johnson of “gross negligence” and of being “caught behind the curve” in failing to act earlier to a new strain of COVID-19.

All in all, it is a mess that could have, should have, and would have, been avoided if only the government had followed ‘the science’.  

Today’s data in focus

Today’s data indicate the dreadful fact that a further 326 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 6,173.

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.

The data also indicate that there have been 316,907 new cases reported in the past 14 days, around 37% more than the 14-day figures reported a week ago on 13 December.

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

7-day trend lines
14-day trend lines

UK Covid-19 headline data, reported on 20 December 2020:

  • 35,928 further positive tests (see note below)
  • 326 further deaths in the last 24 hours
  • 2,034 further hospital admissions (reported as of 16/12)
  • 18,771 hospital in-patients in total (reported as of 17/12)
  • 1,364 patients on ventilation beds (reported as of 18/12)

325 days after the first case was reported in the UK, 2,040,147 cases have been reported, together with 67,401 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.


Check their Voting Record:

🗳️ Boris Johnson

🗳️ Matt Hancock

🗳️ Keir Starmer

[This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 20 December 2020. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]