“It seems like the levels are working but slowly, and it doesn’t really seem like enough to get R well below 1 and, most importantly, to bring down the number of people who actually got it.
“If it’s going to go down, it’s going to go down very slowly unless some dramatic action is taken, which has been done.
“The point is that we get about 20 to 25,000 positive tests per day, which translates to about 1,500 hospitalizations per day, about 250 to 300 deaths per day and these are broadly stable but increasing a bit – deaths in hospitals and hospitalizations are slowly rising – and we are entering winter.
“These types of levels, even though they stay very stable and below the first peak of the virus, unless they start to drop, we get stuck with these for months and it seems to me, as well as others that it will not be sustainable in terms of what the health service can deal with. ”
Reflecting on the presentation of the data at last weekend’s press conference in which the Prime Minister announced the new lockdown, Sir David said: ‘It has been a mess, it really is.
“All those charts that were presented at the press conference last Saturday, the projections weren’t up to date then, they’re definitely out of date now.
“That one (the 4000 dead slide) was really horrible – which was obsolete when we showed it. It was never meant to be part of an official document, it was leaked early and then it was part of the briefing to MPs. ”
Sir David said the projections had some “validity” but should be “taken with extreme caution” as they could often be out of date by the time they are posted.