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Thursday, Oct 22, 2020

Americans, Our Leader Got COVID-19 Too. Here's What Happened.

Americans, Our Leader Got COVID-19 Too. Here's What Happened.

We have no answers. Just experience.

Hi there, Americans, from the UK.

We heard President Donald Trump has tested positive for COVID-19. We experienced this moment ourselves when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson got COVID-19.

Here’s how things went down, and where we are now.

March 3: Boris Johnson details his hospital visits and handshaking.


The story of our leader getting COVID-19 arguably starts on March 3.

While there's no confirmation as to how he contracted the virus, his remarks at this press conference suggested that Johnson didn't quite understand the full extent or seriousness of it.

During his address to the nation, Johnson confidently told a room full of press about his visit to a hospital, where he happily shook hands with everybody, including patients who had tested for COVID-19.

“I was at a hospital the other night, where I think there were actually a few coronavirus patients, and I shook hands with everybody, you’d be pleased to know. And I continue to shake hands," he said.

March 27: The prime minister tests positive for COVID-19 and is showing “mild symptoms.”


It feels like a lifetime ago, but the announcement that Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 came on March 27, with the prime minister reported to have been experiencing “mild symptoms.” Sound familiar?


Like Trump, Johnson addressed the nation on Twitter to assure the British public that all was well, and he shared his plans to self-isolate while still running the country.

"But be in no doubt that I can continue, thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team, to lead the national fightback against coronavirus," he said. "And I want to thank everybody who's involved. I want to thank, of course, above all, our amazing NHS staff."


April 2: Boris Johnson claps for the NHS on the doorsteps of Downing Street while in isolation.


Not long after the announcement, Johnson made a brief appearance on the doorsteps of Downing Street, looking awful. He stepped out to take part in a ceremonial clapping moment to honor the workers of the National Health Service.

Yes, every Thursday at 8 p.m., we’d come outside of our homes to applaud, bang on pots and pans, and cheer on our frontline medical workers — because if there’s one thing we Brits love, it’s symbolic gestures.

We’ve stopped that now.

April 5: Boris Johnson goes to the hospital.


Ten days after testing positive for the virus, Johnson, who was said to only have “mild symptoms,” was now headed to the hospital on advice from medical professionals.

Johnson remained in charge of the government and was in contact with ministers and officials, according to Downing Street.

At this moment, concerns about his health began to intensify.

April 6: Boris Johnson goes to intensive care.


The news that Johnson was moved to intensive care was pretty sobering for the nation. Yes, people had their fair share of criticisms for the prime minister, who had boasted about shaking hands with patients, but his declining health brought home the reality of how high the stakes were.

To add, his fiancé, Carrie Symonds, was pregnant with the couple’s first child together and was also experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Johnson was given a standard oxygen treatment in intensive care and was not put on a ventilator.

His worsening condition prompted an outpouring of support, including from opposition leader Keir Starmer, who tweeted his best wishes for him. The public mood also called for prayers and messages wishing him a speedy recovery.


 


With Johnson out of commission, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, was deputized in his place as the government faced criticisms over the lack of testing.


Raab told the nation that the news of Johnson's admission to intensive care "comes as a shock to all of us."

"He’s not just the prime minister. For all of us in cabinet, he’s not just our boss; he’s also our colleague, and he's also our friend," he said.

"I'm confident he will pull through - because if there's one thing I know about this prime minister, he's a fighter and he'll be back at the helm leading us through this crisis in short order."

April 9: Boris Johnson came out of intensive care, but the moment created further conversation around glaring inequalities.


On April 9, the prime minister was released from the intensive care unit.

“The Prime Minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery,” Downing Street said in a statement.

“He is in extremely good spirits,” the spokesperson added.

On this same night, Emily Maitlis of BBC's Newsnight did an introduction to the show and called the language around the coronavirus misleading.

“You do not survive the illness through fortitude and strength of character, whatever the prime minister’s colleagues will tell us,” she said.

The moment went viral as millions found addressing the inequality of the way the coronavirus affects different people as powerful.

April 12: Boris Johnson is discharged from the hospital.


Three days later, Johnson was discharged from the hospital. Not only did he thank the NHS for saving his life, he thanked the nurses who took care of him by name.

The nurses were from New Zealand and Portugal, which made a lot of the public think back to Brexit. The sympathy for Johnson started to dwindle.

Although he was out of the hospital, the prime minister didn’t return to work right away. A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The PM has been discharged from hospital to continue his recovery, at Chequers.

“On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work. He wishes to thank everybody at St Thomas’ for the brilliant care he has received. All of his thoughts are with those affected by this illness.”

A critical care nurse who cared for Johnson later described how he stood by the prime minister's bedside for three nights.


On April, 23, one of the nurses that took care of Johnson spoke out in a press release. Luis Pitarma — who lives in west London and came to the UK from Portugal to be a nurse — said he asked the prime minister how he should be addressed.

"He said to call him Boris," he said. "That made me feel less nervous because he took away any formality. He just wanted to be looked after like anyone else.”

Nurse Jenny McGee from New Zealand also spoke of her "shock" at being publicly thanked by the prime minister.

Speaking to Television New Zealand, she said she was not "fazed" by treating Johnson, saying it was "just another day at the office."

"We take it very seriously who comes into intensive care," she added. "These patients who come in to us, it's a very scary thing for them. So we don't take it lightly. He absolutely needed to be there."

April 27: #BorisIsBack trended on Twitter to mark Johnson’s return to work.


A month after initially testing positive for COVID-19, the prime minister returned to Number 10 and gave a speech to the public outside Downing Street.

Speaking from personal experience, Johnson said: "If this virus were a physical assailant, an unexpected and invisible mugger, which I can tell you from personal experience it is, then this is the moment when we have begun together to wrestle it to the floor."

April 29: Johnson and his fiancé Symonds welcomed their son into an unusual world.


About a week later, on May 2, the prime minister told the Sun on Sunday that they named their son after the doctors who took care of him while he was hospitalized.

In an Instagram caption, Symonds, 32, wrote: "Introducing Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson born on 29.04.20 at 9am. Wilfred after Boris’ grandfather, Lawrie after my grandfather, Nicholas after Dr Nick Price and Dr Nick Hart — the two doctors that saved Boris’ life last month."

Fast-forward to June 28. Eager to show that he had survived the virus, Johnson put on a show of strength for a British newspaper by volunteering to do pushups “to show you how fit I am” during an interview.


The moment made for a front-page story and was met with mixed reactions — mostly cringes.

So here we are. And I guess we can say he made a full recovery? Unlike support for the government — which surged four days before his diagnosis and has now fallen to below 30%, contrary to some reports on Twitter.


Right now, cases are on the rise again after we had a couple of months of "eat out to help out," which was to encourage people to go outside and eat in restaurants.

There are lockdowns in some parts of the UK, and the rest have a 10 p.m. curfew for the hospitality industry. People found that very funny — because it’s not like the virus only comes out at 10 p.m.


Anyway, it’s all chaos. And we’re probably going to have another countrywide lockdown soon.

Despite the number of daily confirmed cases remaining at a high, Johnson has said the government was doing "everything in our power" to prevent another nationwide lockdown, calling the potential financial consequences “disastrous.”

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