BRANDON J. WEICHERT | THE WEICHERT REPORT
For those of my friends on the Right who continue asserting that the COVID-19 outbreak is no different from the seasonal flu, let the experience of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson be a reminder of how wrong you are.
Last night, I had received word from two sources that the prime minister was not checking in to the National Health Service (NHS) for “preventive care” vis-a-vis his infection of COVID-19. In fact, according to these sources, he was being placed on a ventilator.
Johnson was, at that point, on day ten of his ongoing battle with the COVID-19 strain.
Most reports on the disease indicate that day ten is the make-or-break day for the infection. I resisted posting this piece last night for two reasons: I did not want to propagate that which only Russian state media was saying publicly (that Johnson was on a ventilator) and I did not want it to be true.
Clearly, though, there is an element of truth to these reports. Here is The Guardian‘s reportage on the matter from earlier today:
Derek Hill, professor of medical imaging at University College London said: “It seems clear that the prime minister went to hospital because he had difficulty breathing. It seems he was initially put on oxygen, and was conscious. But as often happens with Covid-19, his condition has now deteriorated so he has been admitted to intensive care where he is very likely to have been put on a mechanical ventilator to breathe for him.
“The ventilator could be non-invasive, in the form of a specialised mask, but in Covid-19 cases, invasive ventilation tends to be recommended,” he said.
“It isn’t yet clear whether Boris Johnson is breathing on his own – with help from the ventilator. Or whether he has been heavily sedated and paralysed and the machine is doing all the breathing for him.”
This is an extraordinary turn of events with profound implications for the United Kingdom, indeed the world. It explains the unprecedented move the Queen took last night to deliver a speech wherein she harkened back to the titanic struggle Britain waged against Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Yes, this disease is serious and the pandemic threat to us all is real.
But the Queen’s announcement was about something more: it is more than likely that the Queen was already aware of Johnson’s true medical condition. She receives up-to-the-minute briefings on the health and status of her prime ministers.
Losing a prime minister, even if only for a short time, under these dire conditions would be a terrible blow for the security, stability, and prosperity of Britons everywhere. It would shock markets in London and cause a major shift among the leadership (presently, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab is filling in for Johnson as needed to maintain continuity of government).
All of this is occurring, of course, at a time of momentous change for Great Britain. The country has officially left the European Union and reclaimed its sovereignty. Yet, there are still those in London who yearn for the days when Britain was a subjected de facto colony of the German Union–I mean, the European Union–and should Boris Johnson be removed as the leader of the “Brexit” movement, there will be dark days ahead for the Right in Britain.
Let us hope that Boris can make it through. It does sound tight, though. This is particularly true when one considers the co-morbidities involved in the mortality rate for those infected with COVID-19. As Dr. Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota has warned audiences, those who smoke and get COVID-19 have a higher mortality rate than those who do not. Further, in the West, those who are overweight have a higher mortality as much as those who smoke.
Boris Johnson, respectfully, is overweight. He’s also lived a full life in terms drinking and, probably, smoking. These factors work against his survival. What’s more, those who go on the ventilator during a COVID-19 infection have a barely 50 percent chance of surviving (to say nothing of the terrible track record of the NHS). My prayers are with Johnson and his pregnant wife as well as my British cousins. We need the UK in fighting form and losing a bulldog like Boris would be a terrible tragedy.
Frankly, I doubt anyone can push them through this crucible quite as well as he can. Let us hope that things clear up for him as time progresses. Though, I suspect that the British being British are expecting the worst (which is why Johnson’s ministers have vehemently denied the claims from Russia that Johnson is on a ventilator, even as The Guardian reports that he is, and why the Queen gave her rousing speech yesterday). Gird your loins, my fellow Red Tories, things are going to get very nasty in Britain’s political realm (far more than they have been) should Johnson be overcome by this affliction as so many have thus far been.