Covid-19 vs Christmas-20

Published 19 December 2020


Nationally the numbers of people testing positive for Covid-19 and hospital admissions for people with Covid-19 are around the levels seen just before the second lockdown in November. The current rate of spread, partly due to a new Covid-19 variant, is more than enough to be concerned, but there was the added concern of rules being relaxed for Christmas.


The traditional celebration is the definition of a super spreading event - grandparents mixing with grandchildren back from university, singing carols after a boozy Christmas lunch, followed by a long game of Monopoly. For some, it would have been the first time they would have been together in over nine months.


The un-relaxation of the rules for Christmas was sadly inevitable.


Our modelling for the Telegraph (read here), which is based on our Covid-19 tracking research (read more here), looked at a range of possible scenarios for January:

  • National lockdown from Monday (21st), and

  • Increased spread of Covid (Rt) during the Christmas week by 10%, 20%, and 30% followed by a lockdown from next Monday (28th)

The impact of these scenarios is shown below for cases (chart 1), hospitalisations (chart 2), and deaths (chart 3). Chart 1 - weekly case numbers


Chart 2 - weekly hospitalisations


Chart 3 - weekly deaths