Britain has announced another 164 coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to 36,839, ahead of the official figure later today.
NHS England revealed another 147 new deaths from people who tested positive for COVID-19 in English hospitals.
Scotland revealed nine more, Wales seven and Northern Ireland only one.
Despite the promising number, the government’s scientific advisers said on Friday that the R number in the UK is still between 0.7 and 1 – above 1, the coronavirus will get out of hand.
It comes as speculation that Boris Johnson’s top assistant Dominic Cummings is about to quit when he was spotted downing Street this afternoon.
He arrived in Westminster at lunchtime when the first cracks appeared in Tory’s unit after revealing he traveled twice 270 miles from London to Durham, while the public was told to stay home for closure.
The prime minister resolutely defended his controversial lieutenant and said to allies, “It’s not like he was visiting a lover.”
And high ministers gathered around the Machiavellian figure, insisting that he acted like a concerned parent and had not broken any rules, despite allegedly leaving the house for day trips on one of the visits, meaning he committed three offenses.
But just as the Prime Minister decided to remain with his right hand, Downing Street’s advisor was startled by new claims that he ignored the strict national guidelines of two more witnesses, making him even more frenzy to get fired.
Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister and a senior hardline Brexiteer like Mr. Cummings, broke cover to demand that the prime minister take control of events back out of his grasp.
Mr. Baker told Sky News that Mr. Cummings’ career has always “caused a tremendous amount of collateral damage,” including the Brexit campaign, and added, “He’s not always right and he’s certainly not indispensable.”
“If he doesn’t quit, we’ll just keep burning Boris’s political capital at a rate we can’t afford during this crisis,” he said.
It is very clear that Dominic was traveling when everyone else understood Dominic’s slogans as “staying home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.”
“And I think moms and dads who care deeply about their kids and who have given up their extended family’s daycare will wonder why he was allowed to do this.
“I really just don’t see how when we get to the liaison committee (which appears) on Wednesday we will disappear if Dominic doesn’t go.”
In other developments today:
- Two new witness statements rekindled calls for dismissal from Dominic Cummings;
- The first claimed to have seen Mister Cummings in a town 30 miles from his parents’ farm in Durham, where he isolated himself with his wife and child;
- A second witness then said that they had seen Mr Cummings in Durham on April 19, five days after he returned to work in Westminster;
- Boris Johnson defended a determined defense from Mr. Cummings, telling allies, “It’s not like he was visiting a lover”;
- Travel agencies have been found to be planning to exploit a loophole by flying holidaymakers to Dublin via the UK during the 14-day quarantine period (which is exempt from new isolation rules);
- Union leader Keir Starmer revealed that his children went to school during the coronavirus crisis, calling for resumption of classes “as soon as possible”;
- Employers have been told to pay 25 percent of severed workers’ wages as of August, raising fears of a wave of layoffs;
- Boris Johnson will drop the ‘track’ in his ‘test, track and trace’ system designed to unlock Britain from the lockout because the NHSX app will not be ready for weeks.
Today a Nobel laureate scientist claimed that blocking the coronavirus could have caused more deaths than it had saved.
Michael Levitt, a professor at Stanford University who correctly predicted the initial magnitude of the pandemic, suggested that the decision to keep people in was motivated by “panic” rather than the best science.
Professor Levitt also said that the modeling that prompted the government to introduce the shutdown – done by Professor Neil Ferguson – overestimated the death toll by “10 or 12 times.”
His claims echo those in a JP Morgan report that said lockdowns did not change the course of the pandemic, but instead “destroyed millions of livelihoods.”
Author Marko Kolanovic, a trained physicist and strategist for JP Morgan, said governments were “ startled by ‘flawed scientific articles’ to impose closures that were ‘inefficient or late’ and had little effect.
He said declining infection rates since the removal of lockdowns suggest that the virus “probably has its own dynamics” that are “not related to often inconsistent lockdown measures.”
Prof Levitt told The Telegraph, “I don’t think lockdown saved lives. I think it took lives. It has saved a number of lives from road accidents, things like that, but the social damage – domestic violence, divorces, alcoholism – has been extreme.
“And then you have those who have not been treated for other conditions.”
Deaths that were not caused by the coronavirus – but other problems such as a lack of health care – have increased during the pandemic.
An analysis today revealed that the number of excess deaths in London nearly doubled between March 6 and May 8.
The Office for National Statistics figures, viewed by The Sunday Telegraph, show three regions that have registered more than 50 percent more deaths since early March.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics, viewed by The Sunday Telegraph, show three regions that have registered more than 50 percent more deaths since early March – London, the Northwest, and the West Midlands. Exaggerated deaths include those that would not be expected, including those directly and indirectly caused by the pandemic
London is hardest hit with more than 9,000 additional deaths from March 6 to May 8 – a 92 percent increase from what would be expected otherwise.
About 1,600 of these were not directly caused by COVID-19.
The northwest is closest behind, with nearly 7,360 additional deaths between March and now, 52 percent higher than expected. Nearly 1,700 of the excess deaths were unrelated to COVID-19.
The West Midlands had an additional 6,193 deaths, 58 percent higher than expected for that time of year. About 1,730 are unexplained and not caused by COVID-19.
The high death toll includes deaths from lack of access to healthcare, as doctors have warned that the public is avoiding A&E to protect the NHS.
Conditions such as stroke and heart attack require immediate medical treatment, but there are indications that people are delaying presentation in hospitals.
It also includes suicides, which are feared to increase as a domino effect of people’s mental health deterioration during the lockdown, or as a result of financial worries.
Boris Johnson is keen to ease the lock so that life can return to some form of normality, with market stalls, garden parties and car dealerships under the next wave of green light activities.
A selection of open-air companies and events are scheduled for next month, with a return for National Trust parks also on the agenda, as long as indoor attractions remain closed.
The proposals will be unveiled when the Prime Minister hosts the Downing Street press conference on Thursday, after meeting ministers at a cabinet meeting earlier this week on Tuesday.
Despite these concerns, some non-essential stores could get the green light to reopen, too The sunwhile the prime minister is trying to save something for families to enjoy this summer.