Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, was not prepared to lock down the country to save people in their 80s, his former adviser Dominic Cummings has told the BBC.
Cummings said Johnson resisted the reimposition of COVID-19 restrictions because “the people who are dying are essentially all over 80.”
He sent WhatsApp messages to aides in mid-October saying “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. 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.”
“There are max 3 m in this country aged over 80” and says “it shows we don’t go for nationwide lockdown.”
The lockdown was eventually imposed a month later.
Cummings said his former boss repeatedly ignored the advice of scientific and medical advisers.
He said the prime minister clearly put his own political interests ahead of people’s lives.
He said he even had to stop Johnson going to see the Queen in person at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when staff in Number 10 were already falling ill and people were being urged to avoid contact with elderly people.
The prime minister’s office later denied the claim.
Cummings broke with Johnson in December after himself having been accused of breaking COVID-19 regulations, having travelled to Durham with his family.
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