I wrote in my last letter (October 8) that Messrs Whitty and Vallance stressed “these were not predictions, only to be taken to task for making alarming predictions.”

Yet Mr Hill (Oct 9) writes “Whitty and Vallance should have been taken to task for presenting alarming predictions ...[they] deserve a fate worse than death.”

I’m not sure what Mr Hill finds so difficult, but it seems unfair to make personal attacks on professional integrity on the basis of his false understanding.

I agree with Mr Hill’s reservation about the government’s claim to be “following the science”, but it is not true that “there is no science to follow”.

There is certainly information “out there”: nearly 60,000 people in the UK have so far died with Covid-19 on the death certificate (ONS figures); in the spring NHS hospitals were so overwhelmed with highly infectious Covid-19 patients that, in spite of the huge commitment of staff - several hundred of whom also died - nearly all other treatment was suspended with unquantified damage to large numbers of patients who missed or delayed vital treatment; and so-called “long Covid”, not yet well understood, is continuing to emerge as highly and permanently damaging to a growing number of often younger people who are not in the high-risk groups and did not necessarily suffer serious symptoms in the original infection.

And we have a few more facts now: infections are rising quickly, reminiscent of last March.

With a fortnight’s delay (roughly) hospital admissions are now also rising and, with a further time-lag, deaths are accelerating rapidly.

Hospital care will be better than in the spring, because of the experience gained then, but if infections are not controlled more effectively we risk being in the same position of the NHS being overwhelmed, with the same loss of routine care.

And the economy will also collapse. If we “carry on as so often before”, perhaps Mr Hill could provide us with another piece of information: how many otherwise avoidable deaths, and how many otherwise avoidable “long Covid” debilitated younger people would he consider an acceptable price for carrying on “as so often before”?

That is a piece of data that we really do need from him.