It was the Christmas gift that kept on giving - but not in the way that any of us had hoped.
The scientists wanted the mid-December 'circuit-breaker' extended to take in the week leading up to the big day.
No politician, however, wanted to be the grinch that stole Christmas, so the advice was ignored, the big festive crowds hit the streets - and then the panic set in. This is microcosmic of what's been going on over the last 10 months of belated lockdowns, premature easing of restrictions and foolhardy schemes; in short, an unholy mess.
It was always going to be this way when politicians insist they're following the science, then whisper the caveat "when it suits us".
'Eat Out to Help Out', which was introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, very well intentioned, supported by Stormont, and welcomed by both the beleaguered hospitality industry and the public, went against everything doctors and scientists were saying.
The happy, half price guzzling just preceded the start of the so-called second wave of Covid-19; coincidence?
The first, highly stringent lockdown in March was extremely effective - and lengthy - and brought Northern Ireland down to zero daily deaths.
So why, with the second wave so much nastier than the first, have subsequent lockdowns been so much more elastic?
Manufacturing and construction, most of which virtually shut down first time round, are comparatively unaffected this time. The long queues outside shops and supermarkets, so symptomatic of the summer months, have gone.
What hasn't disappeared, however, is the exasperation of pub and restaurant owners, and smaller businesses, at having to bear the brunt of every lockdown and circuit breaker while the big supermarkets and other multi-national companies report record profits.
And while Downing Street had the Dominic Cummings affair - short-sighted in more ways than one - we trumped that with the Bobby Storey funeral which led to our First and deputy First Ministers not speaking to each other publicly for months.
The hospitality industry, surely the biggest financial casualty of all this, are still reeling from fiascos such as last October when they were told with just 48 hours notice that they'd be shutting down for at least four weeks.
Now, the word on the street is that the current lockdown - introduced as soon after Christmas Day as was humanly possible - could go on until May.
At least that's what the medics and scientists will be looking for, and they'll be listened to. If it suits.