As Matt Hancock released yet another set of future targets for testing and ventilator acquisitions, there was a growing belief in Whitehall that, with each new batch of promised numbers, the chance of one them coming true grows exponentially.
Simon Williams, the lead statistician for Number 10, said that although the chances were still very small of a minister knowingly giving an accurate estimate on what the government will achieve, the sheer mass of promises means one of them will eventually come to pass.
“Each day we come up with a new target for tests. 5,000 a day. 100,000 by April. 20,000 a week. So far they were all embarrassingly wrong and we basically have the same testing capacity as a small provincial town in South Korea.
“And the same goes for ventilators. So far we’ve confused what we’ve ordered, what we estimate we need, and what we actually have already. We have had to backtrack so often our interns can’t delete the tweets fast enough. And yes, the measly thirty new ventilators we did get into hospitals seem paltry compared to whatever bullshit number of 10,000 Boris Johnson came up with to make people forget he basically told them his plan was to let us all get sick.
“But as sheer embarrassment forces ministers to bring their numbers down, and desperate hospitals resort to getting the engineering departments of local unis to jury-rig ventilators, one day the bullshit and the reality will match.”
Mr Williams explained that, if the current trends continue, a British minister will give a vaguely honest number relating to COVID 19 sometime around February 2021.