Boris Johnson claimed coronavirus patients “live longer” as he resisted a second nationwide lockdown, according to bombshell text messages revealed tonight.
It is claimed the Prime Minister told officials: “I no longer buy all this nhs (sic) overwhelmed stuff”, in a WhatsApp communication apparently sent by the Premier last October.
At the time, infections were surging and No10 was under mounting pressure to order another lockdown.
But in texts to aides and shown on Tuesday night on Dominic Cummings : The Interview, BBC2, Mr Johnson says: “I must say I have been slightly rocked by some of the data on covid fatalities.
“The median age is 82 – 81 for men 85 for women. That is above life expectancy.
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“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.”
Another message says: “There are max 3 m in this country aged over 80”.
A third says: “It shows we don’t go for nation wide lockdown.”
The revelations come as the PM’s ex-chief adviser heaps further blame on his former boss for the UK’s response to the pandemic.
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Since leaving Downing Street last November, Mr Cummings, 49, has launched a series of attacks on Mr Johnson’s fitness for office.
He tells Tuesday night’s programme that as the second wave built last autumn, the PM’s “attitude at that point 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.”
He adds: “Lots of people heard the Prime Minister say that, the Prime Minister texted that to me and other people.”
The ex-aide accuses the PM of putting “his own political interests ahead of people’s lives, for sure”.
He claims Mr Johnson regretted the spring 2020 shutdown, which fuelled the premier’s reluctance to order a second lockdown, it is claimed.
“When you get to the week of around about 15th to the 19th of September, by that point the data was clear about what was happening and Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty came to Downing Street and said erm, it’s clear where this is going, we think that you should consider hitting it hard and early… the Prime Minister said no, no, no, no, no, I’m not doing it,” alleges Mr Cummings.
He accuses the PM of referring to the Daily Telegraph – where he was a £275,000-a-year columnist before entering No10 – as “my real boss”.
“After the first wave passed and after he came back to work, initially his view was essentially, thank goodness we did do that,” he says.
“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 confirms a Mirror exclusive from last month about how the PM had to be stopped from going to see the Queen at the beginning of the pandemic.
The former aide tells how he urged Mr Johnson not to go to Buckingham Palace for his weekly audience.
“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,” says the ex-official.
“And he said – he basically just hadn’t thought it through – he said, yeah, ‘holy s***, I can’t go’.”
Downing Street denied the incident.
A No10 spokesman told the BBC: “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.”