Covid-19 Update Debate

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Department: Leader of the House
Tuesday 3rd November 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Lamont of Lerwick Portrait Lord Lamont of Lerwick (Con) [V]
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My Lords, the Government have a very difficult task indeed, and I ask my question simply in a spirit of inquiry. I am puzzled by the latest graphs, to which the noble Lord, Lord Newby, referred: the four winter scenarios shown to the country by Patrick Vallance on Saturday, showing deaths totalling 4,000 a day. Is this really a realistic possible figure, considering that the previous realistic worst possible case forecast was 800 a day? The daily death rate was 1,000 in the first wave, and this figure is well above the daily death rate of a country like Brazil. Why is the second wave forecast to be so much worse than the first? Was lockdown ineffective and just temporary or is it, as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer suggested yesterday, just in the nature of the virus that the second wave would be worse? If so, why was this not predicted in previous forecasts and why did anyone ever talk about defeating the virus?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con)
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I thank my noble friend. I hope that I mentioned, in my response to the noble Lord, Lord Newby—and I should stress this—that I believe the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser are giving evidence to the Commons Select Committee at the moment to say that the case for the latest measures was not built on the analysis of deaths that the noble Lord mentions. This was not a prediction but just one of the possible worst-case scenarios. As I said, a whole series of other metrics informed the decision as well as the evidence on the ground, which, unfortunately, showed that things were going in the wrong direction. In particular, for instance, the over-60s rate was going up, which correlates with future hospitalisations, and that is still rising. As such, it was a range of measures, and those particular numbers that he mentions were not the reason on which this lockdown, or these proposed measures, have been put forward.