Is this our modern day ‘Darkest Hour’ – to borrow a phrase coined by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during WW2? If only we had leaders of his ilk today in positions to make the decisions needed, Dr Joe Pajak writes.


First published in December 2020.


The message today is the same as yesterday’s, with today’s stark figures more must be done to prevent the accelerating spread of the Covid-19 virus.

36,804 new cases of Covid-19 reported in one 24 hour period, the highest daily figure, for new infections, at any time during the pandemic.  

While 3,400 deaths in the last 7 days is a very concerning figure too.

Is this our modern day ‘Darkest Hour’ – to borrow a phrase coined by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War 2? If only we had leaders of his ilk today in positions to make the decisions needed.

As Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GP and Chair of the BMA Council, indicated this afternoon on Sky News, after being asked if a full lockdown was needed, “There is no doubt that the priority now must be to bring the infection rate down, through measures that reduce mixing, and to do all that is necessary “to ensure adherence to the rules.” Adding that among key actions that should be included in this, is the acceleration of the vaccination of health care workers.

With the ever accelerating transmission, and concerns about the spread of the new strain of Covid-19 virus, now it really is time to follow the science, and act swiftly, as Scotland has.  

Today’s data in focus

Today’s 14-day trendline chart is provided below. The data presented is based on the latest figures provided today – using 7-day rolling averages on this occasion because of the fast-moving pace of change.

Today’s data indicate the sad fact that a further 691 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 6,274.  

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 360,075 new cases reported in the past 14 days, around 69% more than the 14-day figures reported a week ago   on 15 December.

UK Covid-19 headline data, reported on 22 December 2020:

  • 36,804 further positive tests
  • 691 further deaths in the last 24 hours
  • 1,875 further hospital admissions (reported as of 18/12)
  • 18,943 hospital in-patients in total (reported as of 18/12)
  • 1,364 patients on ventilation beds (reported as of 18/12)

327 days after the first case was reported in the UK, 2,110,314 cases have been reported, together with 68,307 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: 79,349 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, 11 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.