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Oxford scientists demand chance to correct Cummings’s evidence on pandemic

PIC: Jonathan Brady / PA WIRE

They say they were wrongly criticised by the former prime ministerial aide over their pandemic advice.

Oxford professors Carl Heneghan and Sunetra Gupta were mentioned in Mr Cummings’ damning account to Parliament in May of the Government’s handling of the pandemic.

Boris Johnson’s former chief aide told a select committee hearing the two scientific advisers to the Government had talked Prime Minister Boris Johnson out of a lockdown last autumn by saying it was not required because herd immunity had been reached.

Prof Heneghan has told the Sunday Express this account – given to the joint inquiry of the Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee – was “extraordinary and incorrect”.

He and Prof Gupta have categorically denied they had said herd immunity had been achieved, and that they had in fact called for better planning to handle Covid-19 in winter and greater protection for those most at risk.

“The Government record is important and what was stated in the record must be correct,” Prof Heneghan told the paper.

“What we now have on public record is not correct.

“We did not say there would be no second wave. We were trying to show how to plan and prepare for winter by introducing some subtle mitigation strategies such as having a longer Christmas break. We needed to do this last year and we still need to do this now.”

Prof Heneghan further clarified that he had said the virus was endemic and the country needed “to learn to live with Covid”, the paper said.

The Sunday Express reported the two scientists had written to the select committee inquiry saying they would “welcome the opportunity to correct the record of the evidence, as reported in Hansard on the 26 May, 2021”

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