Matt Hancock just lied about coronavirus care home deaths

Support us and go ad-free

Former health secretary Matt Hancock just lied about the government’s knowledge of the asymptomatic transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). It was in relation to 3 April 2020 – which up to this date a court has now ruled the government had acted unlawfully in allowing people back into care homes without coronavirus testing.

Unlawful actions or state-sanctioned deaths?

As Sky News reported, the government did not require care homes to test residents who were returning from a hospital until mid-April 2020. A court has now ruled that as unlawful. Sky News wrote that two judges said:

policies contained in documents released in March and early April 2020 were unlawful because they failed to take into account the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission of the virus.

They said that, despite there being “growing awareness” of the risk of asymptomatic transmission during March 2020, there was no evidence that Matt Hancock, who was health secretary at the time, addressed the issue of the risk to care home residents of such transmission.

But if you’re Hancock, then he and the government knew nothing about asymptomatic transmission.

Hancock: lying

BBC News questioned the former health secretary about this. Hancock gave the usual vacuous token apology for the “pain and the anguish” he and the government caused families. He trotted out the usual ‘lessons learned’ BS the government is so fond of. But crucially, Hancock claimed that:

We ministers were not told about the asymptomatic transmission. This was a really important scientific fact.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

This is a lie. Sky News said as much, as it reported that:

The SAGE scientific advisory group said “asymptomatic transmission cannot be ruled out” in early February.

The evidence is clear: Hancock’s a liar

On Twitter, people were pointing to vast amounts of evidence. This showed that the government would have known about asymptomatic transmission before mid-April 2020. Dr Anthony Costello from Independent SAGE put out a huge thread. It contained large amounts of research prior to April 2020 on this:

Fionna O’Leary screen-grabbed a portion of the parliamentary record from 16 March 2020. It shows that Hancock seemed to know about asymptomatic transmission:

A screengrab from Hansard of Matt Hancock speaking

Broadcaster Matthew Stadlen claimed SAGE knew of this on 28 January 2020.

So, either Hancock is a liar, he has a terrible memory, or – in light of scientific researchers producing documentary evidence of asymptomatic transmission in early 2020 – he thinks we’re all fools. It’s pretty clear which one it is.

Featured image via BBC News – screengrab 

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. The question not addressed in the article is, why, if they knew (and we know they did) did they decide to send back people to care homes without being tested where they would go on to infect staff and patients? This led to tens of thousands of deaths. This was a deliberate decision. Did they decide that they had to prioritise hospital beds to younger people? Well, if the were asymptomatic COULD they have been isolated in nursing homes by the use of barrier nursing? Would they have had better outcomes if they did? Undoubtedly. As they were asymptomatic there was no need to keep them in hospital. If infected they could have been isolated and barrier-nursed to prevent staff and other residents from catching and dying from COVID. This wasn’t about preserving beds for younger people – some kind of triage by age etc. This was about keeping the headline numbers down and looking good. They say what happened in Italy with the elderly and decided to thrown them under the bus. I have worked for politicians and know how short term they think and how they only care about winning the next vote, looking good in the House tomorrow and retaining power. This wasn’t a mistake, not an unforeseen outcome either. This was knowing and done for reasons of wishing to look like things were under control, they lied about knowing about asymptomatic spread as they ignored their advice knowing the deadly outcome. I don’t think highly of politicians and this is from personal experience of how much they lie, cheat and deceive and try to get others to do the same..

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.