Piers Morgan, 55, and Susanna Reid, 49, were rejoined by Helen Whately, 43, after the Care Minister appeared on Good Morning Britain last week and she was unable to provide an accurate number on daily tests and deaths in the health and social care sector. The host was hoping for an update, but he didn’t agree with the answers the politician was providing. Therefore, the presenter and guest ended up in a furious clash over coronavirus figures, with the interview resulting in the pair talking over the top of each other.
According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, 41, earlier this month, the number of daily tests for COVID-19 should be at 100,000 by the end of April, however, Whately admitted only 18,000 people were tested yesterday.
The hosts were displeased with this information, with Morgan stating it was highly unlikely the Government were going to hit such a target in less than a week.
Care Minister Whately tried to explain they were “ramping up” efforts on all fronts with regards to coronavirus, to which the presenter hit back they seemed to be going backwards.
Morgan also wanted to know the number of deaths which have been recorded in care homes and hospitals and with the guest telling him she would have answers next week, he slammed the politician for “waffling.”
“I’ve been quite straight with you and others I have spoken to that we know people are dying in care homes and we know more people than usual are dying in care homes,” Whately said.
As she tried to finish her explanation, Morgan interjected with figures the Financial Times has reported on the number of deaths.
“The problem is, you just keep on interrupting me,” the politician hit back, to which the presenter replied: “The problem is Minister, you don’t have any answers.
“You just waffle,” he told her, before stating the reported number of deaths was 11,000 within care home environments.
With Whately having said it was just over 1,000 earlier in the interview, Morgan hit back as he said: “The reason that matters, Minister, is if their figures are right, then the UK has the worst death toll in the world after America.”
The politician tried to explain the figures were not 100 percent accurate at the moment because they didn’t want to duplicate numbers, stating it was important to share once they knew the true fatality rate.
Morgan then brought up a question he’d asked his guest last week, asking: “Do you know how many people have died in the health care system, both in hospitals and in care homes? The workers?”
Care Minister Whately replied: “We know 61 NHS workers have very sadly died and we have a figure at the moment of 15 care home workers who have died.”
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However, Morgan wasn’t completely convinced by the figures his guest was telling him as he said: “Your numbers again are completely wrong.
“I’m going to show you on our screen here that the real figure of all the people who work in the NHS and all the people who work in care homes who have died is actually 111.
“You as a government are massively understating the scale of what is going on in terms of a death toll for our health care workers and the care home workers,” he continued.
Whately explained the Government did not want to mislead people with inaccurate figures and therefore, she could tell the hosts the total number of deaths next week once clear-cut analysis had been undertaken.
Earlier on in the interview, Morgan stated testing should have been more rigorous for front line workers in the first instance of the coronavirus outbreak.
The host slammed the target for the daily number of tests of 100,000 as a failure as fewer tests were conducted yesterday than 12 days ago.
Whately replied: “We know testing is really important and so we have been working hard to ramp up the testing capacity in the country.”
The politician assured the host the Government has “trebled” the number of tests possible since the beginning of April, which led the pair to butt heads once more.