When the pandemic hit Britain last year, the government's response was so chaotic that is "seemed like an out-of-control movie," Prime Minister Boris Johnson's former chief aide testified Wednesday. Dominic Cummings, who resigned in December, launched a blistering attack on the government's response—which he was a part of—saying it led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, the Washington Post reports. "The truth is that senior ministers, senior officials, senior advisers like me, fell disastrously short of the standards that the public has a right to expect of its government in a crisis like this," Cummings said at a televised hearing, per the AP. "People did not get the treatment they deserved. Many people were left to die in horrific circumstances."
Cummings described Johnson as "unfit for the job" and said the prime minister had initially dismissed COVID-19 as a "scare story"—and even speculated about being injected with the virus to show it was not a threat. He also said rumors that Johnson had said he would rather see "bodies pile high" than bring in another lockdown as COVID variants spread were true, the Guardian reports. Cummings apologized for not doing more to change government policy. He said Johnson—who was hospitalized with COVID-19 in April last year—even expressed regret about ordering the country's first lockdown, saying, "I should have been the mayor in Jaws and kept the beaches open." (Last year, Cummings was widely criticized for breaching lockdown regulations.)