More importantly, what the Cummings SAGE story reveals is that Downing St believes the sewage is beginning to splash the Prime Minister's feet. As I explained on the @bunker_pod two weeks ago, Johnson currently has four (or five) rings of accountability protection around him: 1/6
They are (in order of sacrificial preference):

Public Health England
Whitty and Vallance
Matt Hancock
Dominic Cummings
(Raab or Gove, at a pinch)

Johnson, with his long convalescence, is giving himself time to decide which firing(s) would sanitise him from his mess. 2/6
It is likely ALL of the above (except Raab who is clueless) are actively briefing against each other, to save their careers. The early briefing in the papers was all about failures, generally. Then they started to zero in on Public Health England. 3/6
But PHE didn't take it lying down and responded it had done everything right. It actively brought Whitty and Vallance into the fray. The story about UK refusing to join EU procurement scheme for political reasons, is likely no coincidence, either. It draws ministers in. 4/6
But Hancock, Whitty and Vallance are also refusing to go quietly. A few days ago lobby was awash with rumours they were "taking independent advice" - the political equivalent of "lawyering up". Suddenly, they fight back and the story shifts to being all about Cummings. 5/6
This matters because it reveals how bad they all expect criticism to get and, sadly, how much worse issues on the front line and real numbers of dead are. Because, when have political operatives ever sought to distance themselves from decisions they believe turned out well? 6/7
In the next few days (first shots probably fired in Sunday papers), watch out for what Johnson's team briefs and in which direction Cummings decides to punch: Back down at PHE, Whitty Vallance, Hancock? Across at Raab or Gove (notionally in charge atm)? Or even up at Johnson? 7/7
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