British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resisted imposing an autumn lockdown because he believed only the old were dying of COVID.
That's according to his former top advisor Dominic Cummings who made the explosive claim in an interview aired on Monday (July 19).
Cummings said Johnson also denied that the National Health Service would be overwhelmed.
"His attitude at that point was a weird mix of partly: 'It's all nonsense and lockdowns don't work anyway', and partly: 'Well, this is terrible but the people who are dying are essentially all over 80 and we can't kill the economy just because of people dying over 80'."
The former advisor shared a series of messages from October that are allegedly from Johnson to aides.
In one message, Cummings said Johnson joked that the elderly could "get COVID and live longer" because most people dying were past the average age of life expectancy.
Cummings alleges Johnson messaged him to say: "And I no longer buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff. Folks, I think we may need to recalibrate."
Cummings said he also had to persuade the Prime Minister not to continue visiting the Queen when there were signs COVID was spreading in his office.
"He said, 'That's just what I do every Wednesday. Sod this, I'm going to go and see her. So I said to him: 'There's people in this office who are isolating. You might have coronavirus, I might have coronavirus. You can't go and see the queen, what if you give... What if you go and see her and then give the queen coronavirus? You obviously can't go.'"
This was Cummings' first TV interview since leaving his job last year.
The former aide has repeatedly accused the government of being responsible for thousands of avoidable COVID deaths.
A spokesperson for Johnson said the prime minister had "taken the necessary action to protect lives and livelihoods, guided by the best scientific advice."