Facts versus fiction – Boris Johnson please read before you speak today

Remember the “50,000 cases a day if we don’t lock down again” chart?
How’s that going?

Chart © Oxford University's Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine versus Sir Patrick Vallance's press conference 21 Sept 2020 © BBC

Ahead of the PM’s speech today, we show what Oxford University’s medical evidence experts say

On Monday 21 September 2020, the Government’s Chief Medical Adviser and Chief Scientific Adviser held a press conference where they co-presented a chart showing the possible growth of COVID-19 ‘cases’ (positive test results). Whilst they carefully stated that the chart was not a prediction, merely a projection, the message was clear.

Here was the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser on national television, three weeks ago

“At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days.

“If, and that's quite a big if, but if that continues unabated, and this grows, doubling every seven days... if that continued you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.”

- Sir Patrick Vallance, UK Chief Scientific Adviser, 21 Sep 2020

Major lockdowns to be announced by Boris Johnson today

It has been widely trailed in all media that today the Prime Minister will announce a major intensification of lockdowns around the country, particularly in the north.

Ahead of this, we present the latest findings from experts at the Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM).

© Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine

© Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine - click to enlarge

Legal notice regarding the originators of this chart: Carl Heneghan is Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and Director of Studies for the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme. Daniel Howdon is a Researcher, Health Economics, LIHS UCU Department Representative, Academic Unit of Health Economics, University of Leeds. Jason Oke is a Senior Statistician at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and Module Coordinator for Statistical Computing with R and Stata (EBHC Med Stats), and Introduction to Statistics for Health Care Research (EBHC), as part of the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme.

Disclaimer by the originators: the chart has not been peer-reviewed; it should not replace individual clinical judgement, and the sources cited should be checked.

Week-on-week official figures

The data on the above chart was updated by the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine yesterday, Sunday 11 October. The number of ‘cases’ (positive test results) yesterday was 12,872. The previous Sunday it was 11,776. That’s an increase of 9.3%.

In the ‘example scenario’ presented by Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty, 49,000 ‘cases’ per day were projected by tomorrow, 13 October 2020.


As the world’s most prolific researchers and publishers of Brexit facts since before the EU Referendum, we can perhaps claim some expertise on the subject of the EU and Brexit.

We have no such expertise in medicine. We can, however, recognise a ‘dodgy dossier’ when we see one.

And we believe in facts informing debate, which is why we thought that readers might want to see an update on the actual numbers, ahead of whatever is announced today.

For the avoidance of doubt, any views expressed or implied are not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Tomorrow we will be publishing an important article about Brexit and the trade opportunities which await a free, independent, and sovereign United Kingdom.

[ Sources: Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine | BBC ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Mon 12 Oct 2020

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