“Clearly this country has had a massive success now in reducing the numbers of those tragic deaths. We’ve got it at the moment under some measure of control. The numbers of deaths are well, well down.”

Boris Johnson, visit to North Yorkshire

July 30, 2020

Facts

Johnson was talking about the coronavirus death rate on a visit to North Yorkshire

He said: “Clearly this country has had a massive success now in reducing the numbers of those tragic deaths. We’ve got it at the moment under some measure of control. The numbers of deaths are well, well down.”

Johnson was correct to say that excess mortality had fallen very sharply since its April peak.

Nevertheless on the same day, the Office for National Statistics published data which showed that between the week ending 3 January (Week 1) and the week ending 12 June (Week 24) 2020, the UK experienced “the highest levels of excess mortality in Europe for the period as a whole.”

Verdict

The Prime Minister hailed a “massive success” in reducing the numbers of deaths. The death rate had indeed fallen sharply by the end of July, but this remark showed little awareness of the number of deaths that Britain had already endured.

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