British Prime Minister Boris Johnson formulated a bonkers plan to prove coronavirus was a “scare story” by injecting himself with the virus on live TV, his former chief adviser said Wednesday. (Watch the video below.)
In February 2020, a month before the virus was declared a pandemic and Britain imposed its first lockdown, Johnson dismissed COVID-19 as “the new swine flu,” Dominic Cummings told lawmakers.
“The prime minister regarded this as just a scare story,” Cummings said in testimony that blasted the government’s response to the pandemic. He added that Johnson’s aides viewed the prime minister’s attitude as, “It’s swine flu, don’t worry about it. I’m gonna get (Chief Medical Officer) Chris Whitty to inject me live on TV with coronavirus ― then everyone realizes it’s nothing to be frightened of.”
“That would not help actual serious planning,” Cummings added.
It wasn’t clear whether Johnson may have made his comments in jest.
But the postscript was certainly no joke. The month after Johnson made the dismissive remarks, he contracted COVID-19 (unintentionally) and nearly died.
Some people on Twitter drew parallels to a certain other world leader who downplayed COVID-19.
A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus