Jeremy Hunt (Con), the health committee chair, is taking over now. They turn to herd immunity.
Cummings says the term can mean different things.
The original thinking was: the disease would spread, vaccines would not be available in 2020 …. that was wrong, says Cummings; vaccines could have been obtained earlier.
So the logic originally was: Covid would arrive, and there would be a sharp peak. Measures should be introduced to push the peak down, so the NHS could cope.
In response to questions about the Chinese lockdown strategy, the argument was: in China suppressing the virus will generate a second peak in the winter, when the NHS is already under pressure. And they argued the public would not accept a lockdown, he says.
He says the choice then became one between: a bad, single peak; or two peaks, with the second one in the winter, which would be worse.
He says no one wanted this to happen. But they thought this was inevitable, and they thought the choice was herd immunity by September after a single peak, or herd immunity in January 2021 after a second peak.
That is why people started talking about it, he says.
That was the assumption until Friday 13 March.
Q: So when Matt Hancock said on 15 March that there was a plan, and herd immunity was not part of it, was that wrong?
Cummings says that was “completely wrong”. He says no one wanted this to happen. But it was seen as an “unavoidable fact”.
He says he is “baffled” as to why No 10 is now denying this.