At the latest government Covid-19 press briefing, the heath secretary Matt Hancock was forced to deal with a barrage of questions concerning Dominic Cummings.
Mr Hancock focused on falling infections rates, deaths and a possible Covid-19 treatment but was forced to deal with a series of questions either directly or indirectly related to Dominic Cummings.
Mr Hancock announced that for the first time since March 24 there have been no new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. He also cited data from the Office of National Statistics that in the last 24 hours the UK has seen the lowest number of deaths from Covid-19 in six weeks.
In fact, there were 134 confirmed deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours, which is of course 134 too high with each death a tragedy. To date there have been 37,048 deaths, but the declining death rate in clearly an encouraging development.
Mr Hancock also discussed a new trial for an anti-viral drug called Remdesivir, developed by US company Gilead Sciences. The drug has been trialed elsewhere, with mixed results on its effectiveness. A report from the New England Journal of Medicine has suggested the drug can reduce the time it takes to recover from Covid-19 by four days. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2007764. Unfortunately, according to a another study, published in the Lancet, there was no statistically significant results.
The NHS test is important. As Mr Hancock pointed out, because of the universal nature of the NHS, it has access to data which may prove invaluable in testing the drug.
Despite these positive announcements, the questions from both press and public which followed the prepared statements had a distinct Dominic Cummings emphasis.
One question from a Martin from Brighton, asked if the government would review all penalty fines imposed on families travelling for child-care purposes during lockdown. To which Mr Hancock said that he would talk to his Treasury colleagues and write to Martin with a response.
And so it continued in this vogue, with questions either directly referring to Mr Cummings or simply by implication.
Later Mr Hancock was asked whether he could ask people with Covid-19 symptoms to isolate themselves for two weeks, if the people who designed the orders are not following them? Mr Hancock said that it is incredibly important that people play their part. And that “we all need to come together.”