‘Deaths could hit 6,000 a day,’ reported the newspapers on 17 December. A day later documents for the 99th meeting of Sage were released which said that, without restrictions over and above ‘Plan B’, deaths would range from 600 to 6,000 a day. A summary of Sage advice, prepared for the Cabinet, gave three models of what could happen next:
Do nothing (ie, stick with 'Plan B') and face "a minimum peak" of 3,000 hospitalisations a day and 600 to 6,000 deaths a dayImplement ‘Stage 2’ restrictions (household bubbles, etc) and cut daily deaths to a lower range: 500 to 3,000.Implement ‘Stage 1’ restrictions (stay-at-home mandates) and cut deaths even further: to a range of 200 to 2,000 a day
After a long and fractious cabinet debate, the decision was to do nothing and wait for more data.