Boris Johnson said ‘hardly anyone under 60 goes into hospital’ six months after Covid put then-55-year-old PM in intensive care

Prime minister said NHS ‘saved my life, no question’ after he contracted coronavirus aged 55 – but later appeared unbothered about risk of death to his age group

Related video: Boris Johnson speaks after being discharged from hospital

Boris Johnson claimed that “hardly anyone under 60 goes into hospital” with coronavirus, Whatsapp messages shared by his former adviser Dominic Cummings suggest, despite the prime minister having been admitted to hospital himself last spring after catching the virus at the age of 55.

Mr Johnson was moved to intensive care when his condition “worsened” after being admitted to St Thomas' Hospital with “persistent symptoms” in April 2020.

In total, Mr Johnson spent three nights in intensive care during his week-long stay with coronavirus.

In a video message following his release from hospital, he said the NHS had “saved my life, no question” and acknowledged that “things could have gone either way”.

The Sunday Times reported at the time that aides and senior ministers believed the chances that Mr Johnson would survive were “50-50”.

Fast forward to 15 October and Whatsapp messages suggest Mr Johnson was apparently unmoved by his hospital admission.

In a leaked exchange between the prime minister and his aides six months after he was left seriously ill by the virus, Mr Johnson reportedly wrote: “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.”

His comments triggered an angry response from opposition MPs after they were revealed in Mr Cummings’ first broadcast interview, with the BBC.

“Tens of thousands had already died by this point. Boris Johnson is a total disgrace,” wrote Labour’s David Lammy.

Richard Burgon tweeted: “Yet more shocking revelations about the prime minister's appalling attitude to Covid.”

Jack Dromey said: “Dominic Cummings' claims are truly shocking. If true, they show a callous disregard for the British people and their wellbeing.”

A Number 10 spokeswoman said: ”Since the start of the pandemic, the prime minister has taken the necessary action to protect lives and livelihoods, guided by the best scientific advice.

“The government he leads has delivered the fastest vaccination rollout in Europe, saved millions of jobs through the furlough scheme and prevented the NHS from being overwhelmed through three national lockdowns.

”The government is entirely focused on emerging cautiously from the pandemic and building back better.“

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