Cummings: Boris Johnson Regretted Imposing First Lockdown Because Covid-19 Victims Are Over 80

Cummings: Boris Johnson Regretted Imposing First Lockdown Because Covid-19 Victims Are Over 80

By Ben Kerrigan-

Boris Johnson Regretted imposing the first lockdown in March 2020, according to his former adviser, Dominic Cummings.

The Uk has had three lockdowns since the first lockdown, all under the advice of scientific members of Sage.

WhatsApp chats, passed to the BBC by former No.10 chief of staff Dominic Cummings, reveals Boris Johnson’s skepticism against the lockdown, one he gave into under pressure from his advisers. According to Cummings, the prime minister felt the average age of those dying being in their 80’s was above the life expectancy age, which can be interpreted to mean their lives were not as worthy as those of younger age.

Most anti-lockdown members of the public share the prime minister’s reasoning, but Cummings revelation confirms the prime minister took a decision based on reasons he did not truly share at the time. It could be viewed as a sign that he yielded to advice, but  the views Cummings exposes Johnson had, were shared by anti-lockdown groups.

The messages also show the prime minister saying he did not “buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff” months before deaths soared to over 1,000 a day.

“He [Boris Johnson] said we should never have done the first lockdown, he said that repeatedly in meetings in Number 10,” Mr Cummings, who quit in acrimony last year, told the BBC.

“After the first wave passed and after he came back to work, initially his view was essentially, thank goodness we did do that, but very quickly, as the Telegraph and various parts of the media and Tory Party started screaming, he then basically reverted and said, actually the whole thing was a disaster, we should never have done it, I was right in February, we should basically just ignore it and just let the thing wash through the country and not destroy the economy and move on.”

Mr Cummings also claimed that Mr Johnson referred to the Telegraph newspaper, which backed his leadership campaign and previously payed him £250,000 a year on top of his politicians’ salary to write a column, as “my real boss”.

The former aide said the prime minister rejected the advice of chief scientific advisor and medical officer Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty when they told him to lock down hard and early.

Messages apparently datine WhatsApp chats, passed to the BBC by former No.10 chief of staff Dominic Cummings, also show the prime minister saying he did not “buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff” months before deaths soared to over 1,000 a day.

Mr Cummings claimed that Mr Johnson referred to the Telegraph newspaper, which backed his leadership campaign and previously payed him £250,000 a year on top of his politicians’ salary to write a column, as “my real boss”.

Though public and scientific support for strong anti-Covid measures has remained high throughout the pandemic, a section of the Conservative-supporting press and some Tory MPs have pushed back against restrictions at every opportunity.

The former aide said the prime minister rejected the advice of chief scientific advisor and medical officer Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty when they told him to lock down hard and early.Dominic Cummings

Jonathan Cummings:                                            Image: (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Messages apparently dating from 15 October – two weeks before the prime minister ordered another lockdown – appear to show Mr Johnson unperturbed by the mounting death toll.

“I must say I have been slightly rocked by some of the data on covid fatalities,” the messages appear to show the prime minister saying.

“The median age is 82 – 81 for men 85 for women. That is above life expectancy. So get Covid and live longer.

“Hardly anyone under 60 goes into hospital (4 per cent) and of those virtually all survive. And I no longer buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff. Folks I think we may need to recalibrate.”

Mr Cumming told the broadcaster: “…his [Boris Johnson’s] attitude at that point [autumn 2020] was a weird mix of, er, partly it’s all nonsense and lockdowns don’t work anyway and partly well this is terrible but the people who are dying are essentially all over 80 and we can’t kill the economy just because of people dying over 80.”

“Lots of people heard the Prime Minister say that, the Prime Minister texted that to me and other people.”

“He put his own political interests ahead of people’s lives for sure.”

It has previously been reported that Mr Johnson said he would rather the “bodies pile high in their thousands” than order another lockdown – a claim which has not been denied by No.10.

Recounting Mr Johnson’s alleged attempt to visit the Queen when he may have been exposed to Covid-19, Mr Cummings said: “I said, what are you doing, and he said, I’m going to see the Queen and I said, what on earth are you talking about, of course you can’t go and see the Queen. He said, ah, that’s what I do every Wednesday, sod this, I’m gonna go and see her.”

“I said to him [Boris Johnson], there’s people in this office who are isolating, you might have coronavirus, I might have coronavirus, you can’t go and see the Queen. What if you go and see her and give the Queen coronavirus?

“You obviously can’t go… I just said if you, if you give her coronavirus and she dies what, what are you gonna, you can’t do that, you can’t risk that, that’s completely insane. And he said, he basically just hadn’t thought it through, he said, yeah, ‘holy s***, I can’t go.’”

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “Since the start of the pandemic, the Prime Minister has taken the necessary action to protect lives and livelihoods, guided by the best scientific advice,” the spokesperson said.

“The government he leads has delivered the fastest vaccination rollout in Europe, saved millions of jobs through the furlough scheme and prevented the NHS from being overwhelmed through three national lockdowns.

“The government is entirely focused on emerging cautiously from the pandemic and building back better.”g from 15 October – two weeks before the prime minister ordered another lockdown – appear to show Mr Johnson unperturbed by the mounting death toll.

“I must say I have been slightly rocked by some of the data on covid fatalities,” the messages appear to show the prime minister saying.

“The median age is 82 – 81 for men 85 for women. That is above life expectancy. So get Covid and live longer.

“Hardly anyone under 60 goes into hospital (4 per cent) and of those virtually all survive. And I no longer buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff. Folks I think we may need to recalibrate.”

Mr Cumming told the BBC: “…his [Boris Johnson’s] attitude at that point [autumn 2020] was a weird mix of, er, partly it’s all nonsense and lockdowns don’t work anyway and partly well this is terrible but the people who are dying are essentially all over 80 and we can’t kill the economy just because of people dying over 80.”

“Lots of people heard the Prime Minister say that, the Prime Minister texted that to me and other people.”

“He put his own political interests ahead of people’s lives for sure.”

Cummings later said that Mr Johnson’s alleged attempt to visit the Queen when he may have been exposed to Covid-19, Mr Cummings said: “I said, what are you doing, and he said, I’m going to see the Queen and I said, what on earth are you talking about, of course you can’t go and see the Queen. He said, ah, that’s what I do every Wednesday, sod this, I’m gonna go and see her.”

“I said to him [Boris Johnson], there’s people in this office who are isolating, you might have coronavirus, I might have coronavirus, you can’t go and see the Queen. What if you go and see her and give the Queen coronavirus?

“You obviously can’t go… I just said if you, if you give her coronavirus and she dies what, what are you gonna, you can’t do that, you can’t risk that, that’s completely insane. And he said, he basically just hadn’t thought it through, he said, yeah, ‘holy s***, I can’t go.’”

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “Since the start of the pandemic, the Prime Minister has taken the necessary action to protect lives and livelihoods, guided by the best scientific advice,” the spokesperson said.

“The government he leads has delivered the fastest vaccination rollout in Europe, saved millions of jobs through the furlough scheme and prevented the NHS from being overwhelmed through three national lockdowns.

“The government is entirely focused on emerging cautiously from the pandemic and building back better.”

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