Britain's nationwide lockdown is based on out-of-date death toll predictions up to four times too high, experts claim.
Boris Johnson was rushed into announcing the measures after they were leaked on Saturday.
Professor Carl Heneghan said it was "deeply concerning" that doomsday predictions were being used as grounds to force pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops to close from Thursday.
The move was based on forecasts of an average daily death toll of 4,000 published three weeks earlier by Cambridge university.
More recent data from the university which set the toll at 1,000 instead is said to have been available at the time.
Its old research also predicted we'd be at 1,000 deaths per day by now – when the figure was 260 in England last week and the most recent research forecasts 240 daily deaths for next week, and around 500 in the second half of November.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Prof Heneghan, director of Oxford University's Center for Evidence-Based Medicine, said: “Our job as scientists is to reflect the evidence and the uncertainties and to provide the latest estimates.
“I cannot understand why they have used this data, when there are far more up-to-date forecasts from Cambridge that they could have accessed, which show something very different.
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"It is a fast-changing situation, which is very different in different regions, and it concerns me that MPs who are about to go to a vote are not getting the full picture.”
The new rules, which come into affect on Thursday, ban people in England from meeting socially indoors with friends or family unless they are part of the same household or support bubble.
All non-essential retail will also be told to close, although pubs and restaurants will be allowed to continue with takeaway and delivery.Covid death stats that forced England into second lockdown 'out of date and four times too high' say scientists
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