British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to the hospital for tests today, ten days after testing positive for the Wuhan coronavirus. The word from Downing Street is that Johnson was hospitalized because he hasn’t shaken the fever that typically comes with the virus.
Johnson’s case seems similar to that of a friend of mine who has this virus. For about a week, my friend experienced coughing and a persistent temperature in the 100-102 range that couldn’t be brought lower by Tylenol.
Although my friend had no problem breathing, his doctor told him to go to the hospital for tests. The staff tested him for respiratory problems. Finding none, it sent him home. Two days later, he’s feeling a little bit better but still can’t shake the fever.
Assuming that Downing Street is telling the truth, I assume Johnson is in the hospital to make sure he has no respiratory problem that threatens his life. If it’s determined that he doesn’t, he might return to Downing Street shortly.
Johnson is 57 years old (my friend is 70). Johnson is somewhat overweight (my friend isn’t). I’m optimistic in both cases, but I think it was wise to have both checked at the hospital when their fever persisted for the better part of a week.
Johnson has continued to handle his duties as PM during the ten days he’s been self-isolating. For example, he chairs meetings via video conferencing.
Johnson received criticism for initially authorizing a less draconian response to the Wuhan coronavirus than other major Western European leaders did. As of now, though, the UK has less than half the number of reported cases of France and Germany and about one-third the number of Italy and Spain. (The UK’s population is comparable in size to Italy’s and larger than Spain’s. It’s smaller than Germany’s by about 20 million.) However, the fact that the UK hasn’t been hit as hard as these countries might be due to the virus taking hold in the UK later than on the continent.
UPDATE: Johnson’s condition has worsened, and he’s been moved to the intensive care unit in case he needs to be placed on a ventilator.