Coronavirus: Dominic Cummings shares lockdown brainstorm with question ‘who do we not save?’

Dominic Cummings today laid out a damning timeline of the battle to convince the Government to lock down in March 2020 and take Covid seriously in his blockbuster testimony to MPs that has seen him savage the UK response.

The No10 adviser turned loose cannon today presented a sketch of the ‘Plan B’ he and other Government aides hashed together when they realised Boris Johnson’s Covid policy was going to kill hundreds of thousands of people.

It asks the chilling question ‘who do we not save?’ and was drawn up on the same day one of the UK’s most senior civil servants marched into the PM’s office and warned ‘there is no plan… we’re absolutely f****d.’

A furious Mr Cummings today slammed the Health Secretary Matt Hancock as incompetent and said everyone in Government made terrible mistakes during the pandemic, bearing some responsibility himself and admitting he was ‘incredibly frightened’ of taking responsibility for forcing the UK into lockdown early in March.

He lifted the lid on how Downing Street refused to take the crisis seriously until March, claiming senior figures were still holidaying in February, and laid out a timetable of his alleged battle to get a lockdown imposed in Britain to prevent.

Here is Cummings’s chaotic version of events: 

Mr Cummings tweeted a picture of the whiteboard before his explosive grilling from MPs over how Downing St handled the pandemic. He captioned the image: 'First sketch of Plan B, PM study, Fri 13/3 eve - shown PM Sat 14/4: NB. Plan A "our plan" breaks NHS,>4k p/day dead min.Plan B: lockdown, suppress, crash programs (tests/treatments/vaccines etc), escape 1st AND 2nd wave (squiggly line instead of 1 or 2 peaks)… details later'” class=”blkBorder img-share”></div>
<p><noscript></p>
<p><img loading=Mr Cummings tweeted a picture of the whiteboard before his explosive grilling from MPs over how Downing St handled the pandemic. He captioned the image: ‘First sketch of Plan B, PM study, Fri 13/3 eve – shown PM Sat 14/4: NB. Plan A “our plan” breaks NHS,>4k p/day dead min.Plan B: lockdown, suppress, crash programs (tests/treatments/vaccines etc), escape 1st AND 2nd wave (squiggly line instead of 1 or 2 peaks)… details later’








Mr Cummings posted another excerpt from a report suggesting that imposing a tough lockdown could merely have caused a second peak at a more dangerous time for the NHS

Mr Cummings posted another excerpt from a report suggesting that imposing a tough lockdown could merely have caused a second peak at a more dangerous time for the NHS

Mr Cummings posted another excerpt from a report suggesting that imposing a tough lockdown could merely have caused a second peak at a more dangerous time for the NHS 

Dominic Cummings posted a chart claiming that COBR documents had the 'optimal single peak strategy' showing 260,000 dead because the system was 'so confused in the chaos'

Dominic Cummings posted a chart claiming that COBR documents had the 'optimal single peak strategy' showing 260,000 dead because the system was 'so confused in the chaos'

Dominic Cummings posted a chart claiming that COBR documents had the ‘optimal single peak strategy’ showing 260,000 dead because the system was ‘so confused in the chaos’ 

Lack of pandemic plans exposed in February – Cummings scrambled to get expert advice

Mr Cummings had urged the Government to look into pandemic preparedness plans at the start of the year, he said, after not having any confidence in them after talking to Matt Hancock.

It emerged at the end of February that ‘claims about brilliant preparations and how everything was in order were basically completely hollow,’ he said. 

By the beginning of March Cummings was personally convinced and afraid that the situation was out of control and ‘was increasingly being told by people this is going wrong’. 

He spent much of the first two weeks of the month, however, ‘having meeting after meeting with people trying to figure out where we were’ instead of ‘pressing the panic button’ and forcing the PM to act.

Cummings foresaw spiralling outbreak in March but was ‘frightened’ to force Johnson to act 

In early March Cummings said he was personally convinced and afraid that the situation was out of control and ‘was increasingly being told by people this is going wrong’. 

He admitted to being ‘incredibly frightened’ of taking an executive decision to tell the Prime Minister the plan needed to change because he claimed many others were not taking the threat as seriously as he was. 

At this point, SAGE recommended shielding elderly and vulnerable people, but not more drastic action.

March 11: Cummings changes stance and piles pressure on Johnson for a lockdown 

It wasn’t until March 11 that Cummings finally took the plunge and worked to convince the Prime Minister to put the country in a lockdown. He warned that the ‘mitigation’ policy being pursued by No10 would kill thousands.

In today’s meeting he revealed that, at this point, he was planning to threaten to resign if Mr Johnson didn’t do something more drastic, and said he would have quit the job and held a press conference to reveal that the official plan could kill hundreds of thousands of people.

Over the following week Cummings rammed home the message that things needed to change in No10. 

March 12: ‘Surreal day’ forcing PM’s attention to Covid as it emerges there are ‘no plans’

He described the following day, March 12, as a ‘completely surreal day’ and said he sent a message to the PM saying: ‘We’ve got big problems coming. The Cabinet Office is terrifyingly s***. No plans, totally behind the pace, we must announce today, not next week. We must force the pace. We’re looking at 100,000 to 500,000 deaths between optimistic and pessimistic scenarios.’

Mr Johnson was reportedly distracted that day because he was being pushed and pulled over Covid, Donald Trump wanted him to join a bombing campaign in the Middle East, and his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, was angry about a story in the media about the couple’s dog, Dilyn. 

March 13: Cummings realises threat to NHS and civil servant warns: ‘We’re f****d’ 

Whiteboard ‘Plan B’ was drawn up and shows Cummings realised hospitals wouldn’t be able to cope with the surge in people infected with Covid. The penny dropped that lockdown would be necessary to control the outbreak and he wrote the chilling question: ‘Who do we not save?’

That evening, he said, the second most senior civil servant at the Cabinet Office, Helen MacNamara, walked into Mr Johnson’s office and allegedly said: ‘I think we are absolutely f*****’, and warned that ‘thousands’ of people could die. 

Ms MacNamara had, Cummings said, been told by the director general at the Cabinet Office: ‘I have been told for years that there is a plan for this, there is no plan, we are in huge trouble’.

There was no plan for what to do with all the bodies of people who would die if there was a massive spike in fatalities, he said. 

March 14: Realisation dawned on need for lockdown but it needed planning on the hoof 

Cummings showed the March 13 whiteboard to the Prime Minister the following day, on March 14, he said, and suggested to Mr Johnson that at a minimum social contact would have to be limited and pubs closed, for example.

He said it had become clear by this point that a lockdown was necessary because the virus was already out of control but that there was no plan or blueprint they could use and it had not been seriously considered until shortly before. 

March 16: Still no proper data or concrete plans, but Boris calls for country to stay home 

Cummings and other officials were ramping up the pressure after realising the UK was headed for disaster, but there was still no reliable data to work out how bad the situation already was.

He said Sir Simon Stevens, the chief of NHS England, was relying on intensive care data, which is known to come around three weeks later than changes in infection rates and people generally don’t start getting admitted until there are thousands of cases per day. 

Cummings said he was working out epidemic growth and possible numbers of cases and deaths using the calculator on his phone and writing on a whiteboard.

Cummings finds out that the Cabinet Office is not responsible for controlling or scrutinising pandemic response plans, after believing it was for over six weeks, he said.

That day, the Prime Minister did a TV press conference and told the public to stop ‘non-essential contact’ with other people and to ‘stop all unnecessary travel’ – one week before he called the full ‘stay at home’ lockdown.

March 19: Still no shielding plan and Government didn’t want a helpline for vulnerable

Cummings said the Government still did not have a proper plan by March 19 for the shielding programme, even though SAGE had recommended that elderly and vulnerable people should protect themselves at home.

He said: ‘The shielding plan was literally hacked together in two all-nighters after the 19th, I think, Thursday the 19th.’

Whitehall had said they didn’t want to have a phone helpline for people on the shielding list because the Government didn’t have the capacity to cope with it. There were more than three million people on the list at its peak at the end of the 2021 lockdown.

Mr Cummings said: ‘Not only was there not a plan, lots of people in the Cabinet Office said we shouldn’t have a plan, we shouldn’t put out a helpline for people to call because it will all just be swamped and we don’t have a system.’

When DID Cummings raise alarm bells about Covid and what did he say?

According to Dominic Cummings’s testimony in Parliamentary committee today, this is a timeline of his actions behind closed doors at No.10:

January 25

Advised No.10 to ‘look at pandemic planning and soon’ after lacking confidence in the UK’s preparations following a talk with Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Cummings said he himself stopped talking to journalists. 

February

Cummings said he ‘wrote a note’ to Boris Johnson about Covid in February but the outbreak was not at the top of the Government’s agenda, even after the World Health Organization had warned it was an ‘international concern’. 

He was working on reforming government procurement processes and ‘dealing with other things like HS2, national security issues and the [Cabinet] reshuffle’. He and the Prime Minister did not regularly attend COBRA meetings.

Cummings and Mr Johnson realised at the end of the month that ‘claims about brilliant preparations and how everything was in order were basically completely hollow’. 

March 5

Was personally convinced and afraid that the situation was out of control and ‘was increasingly being told by people this is going wrong’. He admitted to being ‘incredibly frightened’ of taking the executive decision to tell the Prime Minister the plan needed to change. At this point SAGE recommended shielding elderly and vulnerable people.

March 11

Told the Prime Minister to change the policy because the country’s direction at the time – ‘mitigation’ – would lead to disaster. Stricter measures were needed to stop the outbreak from overwhelming the NHS, he warned.

March 12

Cummings rammed home the message that things needed to change. Cummings warned the Prime Minister there were ‘big problems coming’ if the Government didn’t immediately tell people that they must self-isolate and cut themselves off from others if they felt ill.

He described it as a ‘completely surreal day’ and said he sent a message to the PM saying: ‘We’ve got big problems coming. The Cabinet Office is terrifyingly s***. No plans, totally behind the pace, we must announce today, not next week. We must force the pace. We’re looking at 100,000 to 500,000 deaths between optimistic and pessimistic scenarios.’

Mr Johnson was reportedly distracted because Donald Trump wanted him to join a bombing campaign in the Middle East and his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, was angry about a story in the media about the couple’s dog, Dilyn.

March 13

Whiteboard ‘Plan B’ was drawn up and shows Cummings realised hospitals wouldn’t be able to cope with the surge in people infected with Covid. The penny dropped that lockdown would be necessary to control the outbreak and he wrote the chilling question: ‘Who do we not save?’

That evening, he said, the second most senior civil servant at the Cabinet Office, Helen MacNamara, walked into Mr Johnson’s office and allegedly said: ‘I think we are absolutely f*****’, and warned that ‘thousands’ of people could die. Ms MacNamara had, Cummings said, been told by the director general at the Cabinet Office: ‘I have been told for years that there is a plan for this, there is no plan, we are in huge trouble’.

There was no plan for what to do with all the bodies of people who would die if there was a massive spike in fatalities, he said. 

March 14

Cummings showed the whiteboard to the Prime Minister, he said, and suggested to Mr Johnson that social contact would have to be limited and pubs closed.

March 16

Cummings and other officials were ramping up the pressure after realising the UK was headed for disaster, but there was still no reliable data to work out how bad the situation already was. He said Sir Simon Stevens, the chief of NHS England, was relying on intensive care data, which is known to come around three weeks later than changes in infection rates and people generally don’t start getting admitted until there are thousands of cases per day. Cummings said he was working out epidemic growth and possible numbers of cases and deaths using the calculator on his phone and writing on a whiteboard.

Cummings finds out that the Cabinet Office is not responsible for controlling or scrutinising pandemic response plans, after believing it was for over six weeks, he said.  

Advertisement

link

(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply