Covid-19 inquiry: How many people died in Merseyside during coronavirus pandemic

The Covid-19 inquiry has exposed the Government’s poor preparedness and ill decision-making, with ministers labelled “useless f***pigs, morons” by Boris Johnson’s former top adviser Dominic Cummings.

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As senior civil servants and key aides to Boris Johnson are questioned by the Covid-19 inquiry, we reveal how many people have died of the coronavirus since the pandemic erupted in 2020.

The inquiry is in the second module, which looks at political governance and aims to learn lessons for the future.

Dominic Cummings, who was Mr Johnson’s top adviser, and Lee Cain, the former director of communications for No. 10, were questioned on Tuesday, while Helen MacNamara, who served as deputy cabinet secretary and ethics chief, and Professor David Halpern, who headed up the Behavioural Insights Team, provided evidence on Wednesday.

Each exposed the Government's poor preparedness and ill decision-making in dealing with the pandemic, leading to more deaths than necessary. As of October 13, 228,448 people across the UK had died with Covid-19 on their death certificate by date registered.

Total number of Covid-19 deaths in Merseyside:

  • There were 1,927 Covid-19 deaths recorded in Liverpool.
  • It means 385 per 100,000 people in the area have died due to Covid-19.
  • There were 631 Covid-19 deaths recorded in Knowsley.
  • It means 414 per 100,000 people in the area have died due to Covid-19.
  • There were 1,233 Covid-19 deaths recorded in Sefton.
  • It means 447 per 100,000 people in the area have died due to Covid-19.
  • There were 810 Covid-19 deaths recorded in St Helens.
  • It means 447 per 100,000 people in the area have died due to Covid-19.
  • There were 1,431 Covid-19 deaths recorded in Wirral.
  • It means 441 per 100,000 people in the area have died due to Covid-19.
  • The total number of Covid-19 deaths recorded in Merseyside’s five boroughs is 6,032.

On Wednesday, Ms MacNamara slammed the Government's "toxic" and "macho" culture. She said women were "ignored and excluded", and criticised Mr Cummings calling her a "c***" in a WhatsApp message to Mr Johnson.

She also criticised then Health Secretary Matt Hancock, saying his record with the truth was questionable and had "nuclear levels" of overconfidence.

Staff wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as they work at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in April 2020. Image: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty ImagesStaff wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as they work at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in April 2020. Image: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images
Staff wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as they work at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in April 2020. Image: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

She shared an anecdote about Mr Hancock, saying he adopted a cricket batsman’s position after trying to comfort him in April 2020. She said he told her, "they bowl them at me, I knock them away".

"Hundreds of civil servants and potentially ministers" broke lockdown rules, Ms MacNamara said, recalling there likely wasn't a single day when the regulations were followed properly.

Later that day, Professor Halpern said he believed Mr Cummings breached Covid-19 lockdown rules, and his actions were "atrocious" and blew a hole in public confidence.

He said rule-based approaches are "brittle", and breaches of the regulations lead to disobedience in the general public.

In a meeting in March 2020, Professor Halpern also wrote a note saying "We are not ready" in capital letters, as he realised the Government's unpreparedness to deal with the pandemic. A colleague leaned over his shoulder and crossed out "not ready", replacing it with "f*****", the inquiry heard.

On Tuesday, Mr Cummings took aim at much of the Government's handling of the pandemic, which he said was "fatalistic".

He said vulnerable and older people were neglected, and he labelled ministers as "useless f***pigs, morons, c****", but said his language understated their competence. He also described the Cabinet Office as a "bomb site" and a "dumpster fire".

Mr Cain repeatedly cited Mr Johnson’s tendency to "oscillate" between decisions as delaying the response, questioning Mr Johnson's skill set to handle the pandemic.

The inquiry also saw diary entries from former chief scientist Sir Patrick Vallance, showing Mr Johnson suggested he believed the pandemic was "nature’s way of dealing with old people" as he resisted lockdowns.

In October 2020, Mr Johnson told Cain via WhatsApp: "Jeeez. 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."

Mr Johnson suggested the data shows "we don't go for nationwide lockdown".