BRITAIN’S ex-science chief has claimed the UK death toll could have been just 10,000 if the Government had lockdowned one week earlier.
Sir David King accused the government of aiming for “herd immunity” to keep the economy going and ignoring the risk to human life.
The former Government adviser also suggested modelling expert Neil Ferguson had underestimated the casualties from the delay when he suggested the figures could have been halved.
He told Good Morning Britain: “If we were doubling every three to four days in the disease spreading, that means in a week we would be quadrupling.
“It was more than 50 per cent we would have saved – I believe we could have emerged at this point with no more than 10,000 deaths by just going into lockdown earlier.”
With the UK death toll at more than 50,000 this would have seen nearly 30,000 lives saved.
The UK shut down on March 23 to limit the spread of the killer bug.
Yet, early in the outbreak, experts had estimated that the number of coronavirus deaths would be unlikely to exceed 20,000.
His comments came a day after the infamous bonking boffin – who advised Boris Johnson on the shut down to stop the rampant spread of Covid-19 – told the Science and Technology Committee “we underestimated how far into the epidemic this country was”.
A key government adviser during the early stages of the pandemic before he quit, Ferguson’s research helped bring in the lockdown nearly 12 weeks ago.
He told the committee: “The epidemic was doubling every three to four days before lockdown interventions were introduced.
“So, had we introduced lockdown measures a week earlier, we would have reduced the final death toll by at least a half.”
Speaking today, Sir David also accused the Government of starting off with the wrong policy.
He said: “Once the PM made a speech about how we would ride through lockdown while other countries were going into lockdown, our economy would grow and we would emerge like Superman.
“What he was referring to was a policy of herd immunity.
“I do believe that the government was favouring this idea that we should allow the disease to spread but no more than the NHS could manage to cope with the cases.”
Around that time he says Britain should have gone into lockdown, the Cheltenham Festival went ahead, fuelling the bug’s spread.
About 250,000 people attended – despite the coronavirus outbreak forcing many other sporting events to cancel just days earlier.
This was despite other countries like Italy already being in lockdown.