An official prediction that coronavirus deaths would soon pass those registered in the first wave has been quietly corrected by the government, it emerged last night, because they were too high.
They claimed that England would see up to 1,500 deaths a day by early December, far higher than the peaks of deaths recorded in the first wave.
However, the figures, which caused alarm across the country, have now been amended 'after an error was found'.
The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December 8 – a similar figure to that seen in April.
Predictions for hospital admissions were also revised from 9,000 by early December to 6,190.
The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December 8
The slides now contain a note which says: ‘Plots on slides four and five have been amended after an error was found’
According to the Daily Telegraph, the slides now contain a note which says: ‘Plots on slides four and five have been amended after an error was found’.
The shocking new revelation comes just days after the government was savaged by critics for a separate worst case scenario claim that deaths could hit 4,000 a day by next month.
Professor Whitty conceded that the 4,000 daily deaths prediction was unlikely to come true because the modelling was a worst-case scenario based on a situation where no extra measures were brought in.
And former PM Theresa May delivered a damning assessment of Mr Johnson's handling of the situation, saying the controversial claim was 'wrong before it was even used'.
Pressure will now continue to pile up on the government with the latest revelation.
Ministers were last night warned not to present virus data in a ‘confusing’ way. The statistics watchdog said issuing figures without ‘appropriate explanations of context and sources’ risked harming public confidence.
But Boris Johnson, looking even more unkempt than usual despite his pre-lockdown haircut, insisted: ‘We try to make things as clear as we possibly can.’
Britain's coronavirus cases remained flat at 24,141 today, a decline of four percent - or 1,036 cases - on yesterday's infections
Another 378 deaths were announced on Thursday, a 23 percent drop in fatalities compared to yesterday
The UK Statistics Authority said the Government and devolved administrations must make clear the source of data used in public briefings and the full figures behind it. It added: ‘The use of data has not consistently been supported by transparent information being provided in a timely manner.
‘As a result, there is potential to confuse the public and undermine confidence in the statistics.
‘It is important that data are shared in a way that promotes transparency and clarity. It should be published in a clear and accessible form with appropriate explanations of context and sources. It should be made available to all at the time the information is referenced publicly.’
The watchdog added: ‘It is clear that those working on the pandemic face significant pressures. But full transparency is vital to public understanding and public confidence in statistics and those who use them.’
The warning comes after former prime minister Theresa May accused Mr Johnson of choosing data to fit his virus policies and tore into predictions said to have informed his decision to impose a second national lockdown.
At a Downing Street press conference officially welcoming the nation into its second national lockdown, the Prime Minister (left) and NHS England chief Sir Simon Stevens (right) pointed to the graph as evidence to justify the month-long intervention
Boris Johnson tonight unveiled a chart claiming to show how NHS England's hospitals could be overwhelmed with Covid-19 in weeks - but experts say the health service is still no busier than it normally is during winter. The chart showed how there are more than 11,000 people with Covid-19 being treated in hospitals in England now compared to just 500 at the start of September. But what the graphic didn't show was that those 11,000 patients represent fewer than 10 per cent of the health service's overall capacity
Yesterday Mr Johnson – whose hair appeared to be rebelling after he had it trimmed on Monday – said at a press conference: ‘The projections vary widely – some scientists take very different views from other scientists. That’s why you’ve also got to add the political judgment that’s necessary about the economic consequences.’
Professor Yvonne Doyle, director of health protection at Public Health England, defended the models used to justify the measures. Asked if the worst numbers had been chosen to back up the lockdown policy, she told the BBC: ‘I don’t think that is the case at all. That’s not why these models are presented – they are presented to aid planning.’
Last night, a Government spokesman said of the latest revised graph: ‘The main consensus projection remains unaltered.
‘The data still clearly shows, and the consensus remains, that without intervention we are likely to breach the first wave of hospital admissions and deaths in a matter of weeks.’
There was increase of just 4.7 percent on last Thursday's infections and a drop of 1,063 cases on yesterday's figure of 25,177.
Earlier the Prime Minister and NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens used to a graph of rising Covid-19 inpatients to justify England's second lockdown.
The chart showed there are more than 11,000 people with Covid-19 being treated in hospitals in England now compared to just 500 at the start of September.
However, Sir Simon also spelled out the roughly week-long lag between infection and hospitalisation for those who become seriously ill, with death or discharge occurring an average 9 to 19 days later.
Another 378 deaths were also announced yesterday , an increase of 35 percent on this time last week.
Top experts earlier fumed that No10 has only hit the lockdown panic button because it was backed into a corner by its 'gloomster' scientific advisers, who don't want to deal with the same scrutiny that was hurled their way during the first wave.
The Government's own statistics show coronavirus cases have plateaued thanks to the localised three-tiered approach introduced in mid-October. It suggests that hospital admissions would not continue to spiral as quickly as Downing St or its advisers claim.
In a thinly-veiled swipe at Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty, Sir Simon said he chose to bring just one Covid-19 graph with him to convey his point about hospitals. No10's top scientists have been accused of scaremongering and confusing the public with their barrage of doomsday charts based on projections, assumptions and forecasts — but rarely actual concrete, real-time data.
Speaking into the camera, Sir Simon said: 'Like you – I'm sure the Prime Minister won't mind me saying so – I have watched these press briefings and sometimes the charts can be a bit hard to keep up with, so I have just got one chart today that indisputably sets out what we in the health service are seeing.
'What it shows is the number of patients that are being looked after in hospitals across England. At the beginning of September that was under 500 patients. By the beginning of October that had become 2,000 coronavirus in- patients, and, now, at the beginning of November that is over 11,000. That's the equivalent of 22 of our hospitals across England full of coronavirus patients – those are facts, those are not projections, forecasts, speculations, those are the patients in the hospital today.'