He keeps insisting he's O.K., but U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's hospitalization for "persistent" COVID-19 symptoms is worrisome.
According to Sky News:
Boris Johnson is in "good spirits" after spending a "comfortable" night in hospital and remains there under observation, Downing Street has said.
The prime minister's official spokesman said he continues to lead the government and has been working on official papers from his hospital bed.
The PM wrote on Twitter: "Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I'm still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I'm in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe."
If it's all true, well, good.
He's still tweeting as I write this:
Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) April 6, 2020
But things that looked a little amusing yesterday don't look all that amusing today. He's still everyman, but not in a good way, in the way of the frightening turns of everyday life.
He's now in the hospital, supposedly for tests. But most of us know that when this illness gets to hospital level, it's not generally for a just a cold.
He's a national leader of a very important country. He's sick, and it's a disease that kills people, and he might be in that high risk group it does, given that he smokes and is overweight.
He's gone out into the cold without his coat. In isolation he has walk over to another apartment unit and open a door to pick up his meals - he ought to have them delivered to him in bed, by someone in a hazmat suit.
He insists on running the country, even though the public pictures of him suggest he looks haggard. Imagine running a country with a disease that might kill you tomorrow, and what the stress level of that must be like.
Those factors all still might be nothingburgers, given Boris's tremendous energy, but all the same, when the disease hits hard in the lungs, it doesn't take long for it to progress extremely quickly to the point of no return. That's the most worrisome thing. And with socialized health care in the U.K., as well as the usual derangement-syndrome among much of the London elites in any government operation, there's also residual worry he might not be getting the best care.
Is he really doing O.K.? It's hard not to feel apprehensive.
Madeleine Kearns at National Review notes that nations do need their leaders during big events such as this one, which might explain why Johnson is so determined to stay visibly leading. It's also got to be demoralizing for the Brits to know that even the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, who is elderly, is also down from the coronavirus pandemic as well as Johnson, a double blow for sure.
As the optimistic reporting and Boris tweets go on, the leftist Guardian balefully reports that the medics might keep him in the hospital a second night, and hasn't disclosed if he's been on oxygen treatment, which if it did happen, is probably a sign of the virus's progression. Update: He has been treated with oxygen. This being the Guardian it might be their own media bias looking for bad news in action, but just as likely it's cause for worry.
Johnson's been fairly transparent about things, he has no big record of deception, hiding things. If Boris was the Chicom leader instead, there'd just be speculation as to why he's missing. He's been honest about his ailments. That's a good thing.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a kind and encouraging statement, adds that Boris "knows the state of his condition" better than anyone, so that's encouraging, too. Blair cited his own experience with heart surgery while prime minister to commiserate.
Johnson's still tweeting and running the government, but the conditions are unprecedented. There's a razor's edge here, a terrible possibility he might not make it, which would be an immeasurabe loss, given his stellar leadership. One can only hope for the best in this, praying Boris gets everything he needs.
Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of image by Annika Haas, EU2017EE Estonian Presidency, via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY SA 2.0