Boris Johnson

Now he’s in intensive care.  Why on Earth was he shaking hands with coronavirus patients?




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94 Responses to Boris Johnson

  1. akarlin says:

    He was leading by example on “herd immunity”. A true leader. Chad af!

  2. Frau Katze says:

    Prince Charles, considerably older at 71, just recovered after 7 days at home. Mind you, there might be longevity genes in his family (both parents are in their 90s).

    • gothamette says:

      The Queen Mother lived to 103 or so, but Queen Elizabeth’s father died a youngish 57. Heavy smoker, I believe.

      Smoking is a horrible habit. Not surprisingly, I’ve seen defenses of it by contrarian maniacs.

      To the blogmaster:

      • Frau Katze says:

        Knew about the Queen mother. Didn’t know her father was a heavy smoker.

        Elizabeth’s sister Margaret only lived to 71. She was also a heavy smoker.

        • gothamette says:


          Oh, duh, January 23. The day they locked down Wuhan. My mind is going. I’m feeling a bit weird and I think it’s Covid-induced-anxiety.

          • Frau Katze says:

            I’m wondering what causes the different severities in general. I know about the risk factors but if you start reading the obits of various victims, you don’t always see a risk factor. Boris was somewhat overweight but not that much. Another person posting here says he never smoked.

            • gothamette says:

              Well, this is somewhat reassuring.

              “Are individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease at increased risk of COVID-19 infection?
              COVID-19 is a new virus, so we have no information on how it affects individuals with thyroid disease. However, thyroid disease is not known to be associated with increased risk of viral infections in general, nor is there an association between thyroid disease and severity of the viral infection.

              Many people are asking whether having an autoimmune thyroid disease means you are immunocompromised. We can confirm it does not. The part of the immune system that’s responsible for autoimmune thyroid conditions is separate to the immune system that’s responsible for fighting off viral infections, such as COVID-19. Patients who are classified as having a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) are typically those with conditions such as leukaemias, HIV and AIDS, or who are on medicines such as high-dose steroids, immunomodulatory drugs for rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis, cancer chemotherapy or following organ transplantation.

              Does being on medication for my thyroid disorder suppress my immune system?
              Neither levothyroxine, nor carbimazole nor propylthiouracil, are immunomodulatory therapies. i.e. they do not change nor weaken your immune system. However, some people with thyroid eye disease will be on high doses of steroid medication which can suppress the immune system (see next question below).”


            • gothamette says:

              Everyone has a weak link, but the majority of COVID deaths have several.

      • peter connor says:

        The King died of lung cancer, which his doctors hid from him as long as possible…In The Crown, he is shone smoking after his first lung removal operation.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Why do I get the impression that Greg won’t be interested in colourful masks?

        Nice variety though.

    • Hoptoad says:

      Prince Charles has always led a healthy lifestyle. Boris Johnson hasn’t. For years he’s had a flabby physique, a sedentary lifestyle, and been a smoker.

      • gothamette says:

        Yeah, it’s pretty obvious.

        I’m exercising in lock down. But I’m eating a bit too well…

      • Recusant says:

        That’s nonsense. He’s never smoked and the most common photo snap of Boris is of him being caught returning from his morning run in another horrendous outfit, Non-stop work and no sleep is what has done for him.

        Oh, and Greg, he didn’t shake the hands of patients. He shook the hands of various hospital bigwings.

    • Philip Neal says:

      It is a huge breach of protocol to touch royalty. A brief web search suggests that only three people are even alleged to have touched the Queen in public in the past thirty years (Paul Keating, John Howard and Michelle Obama).

  3. Polymath says:

    If he dies this could be a Shakespearean plot. He achieves his life’s ambition, reaches the top of the greasy pole, and is almost immediately undone by the tragic error of listening to his “experts”.

    • Ben says:

      The weird thing is that his chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, is exactly the type of guy to listen to the right kind of ‘expert,’ i.e. quantitative folk.

      Cummings is an unusual technocrat – he’s the only western technocrat of this era who has made the argument that the typical western political technocrat (high verbal, low math) is part of the problem with politics and that they should be replaced by STEM technocrats (high math).

      Unfortunately, not all quantitatively minded people are like Greg. E.g. a certain string theorist who I won’t name has been consistently selling the ‘it’s just a flu’ narrative.

    • Frau Katze says:

      His 32-year old pregnant wife has it too. Or she is recovered.

  4. jbbigf says:

    It’s not too late to save his life with HCQ and zinc;

    Of course, that’s just anecdotal evidence. Clinical studies have not been done, Let huim die, what the Hell.

  5. ASR says:

    “Why on Earth was he shaking hands with coronavirus patients?”

    That’s what politicians do. we should be grateful he wasn’t kissing babies!

  6. gothamette says:

    Dr. Seheult of Medcram is running a series of videos with tips about boosting immunity. He’s a completely mainstream doctor and thus couches everything in language of “more studies are needed” but he hints strongly that you should look into hydrotherapy. I won’t link here because anyone who wants can just look up the videos.

    • Frau Katze says:

      I saw mentioned elsewhere, but in less detail. Finnish saunas.

      Finns might be genetically different, they’re one of very few European nations not to speak an Indo-European language. (Estonian is very similar to Finnish.)

      Normally, language is way too variable to connect to genetics. But it might as least explain why they alone of the Nordics use saunas. Language likely correlates with culture to some extent.

  7. Dr J Thompson says:

    This is awful news. He was very reluctant to accept that extreme measures were required early on. Also, obviously wrong to try to keep working, when sleep is what ordinary patients do, often successfully. Now its 50/50.

    • dearieme says:

      Agreed. As Dominic Lawson said of Boris on the 16th of March:

      Inexorably, pressure is increasing on the Prime Minister to follow other European nations and introduce draconian measures to beat down the likelihood of mass infection with coronavirus — even if it means a loss of liberty on an unprecedented scale.

      If there is one principle Johnson holds dear (and he does not have many) it is personal liberty. That, essentially, is why he is a Tory. Or as he put it in a 2006 newspaper column: ‘Lefties are fundamentally interested in coercion and control.’

      • Spencer Galton says:

        ‘Lefties are fundamentally interested in coercion and control.’

        Bingo. I’ve found this to be a reasonably persuasive inroad when talking to liberals. Nobody likes control freaks and even liberals can see that it’s a feature of their side.

    • Frau Katze says:

      Sort of the opposite of hypochondria? “It can’t happen to me.” – that type of guy.

      I have heard (no idea if it’s true) the Trump is a germophobe. That would be more sensible in this case.

      But even for me, actual fear crept up slowly. At home with loads of articles about the virus to read. And now this. He’s a lot younger than me, although I never smoked or was prone to pneumonia.

  8. Hoptoaf says:

    The press office have been trying to downplay the seriousness of Johnson’s condition. If he winds up in a chiller cabinet they’ll say it’s to reduce his fever.

  9. An Arab parable I ran into somewhere:

    A man was trying to take a nap in the middle of the day, but he was kept awake by children playing outside his house. He decided to make up a story to get rid of them. He went outside and said to the children, “Why are you playing here? Don’t you know they’re giving away oranges for free on the other side of the village.”

    The children ran off to get their oranges, and the man went back to bed. But he kept tossing and turning, and couldn’t get to sleep. Finally he said to himself, “What am I doing trying to sleep here, when they’re giving away oranges for free on the other side of the village?”

    Peddling selected illusions as truth (the occupation of many a preacher, pundit, and politician) is something like peddling drugs. You can turn a nice profit doing it, but you have to watch out for getting high on your own supply.

  10. LuFa says:

    Poor guy. He is practically dead as far as I know (from the statistics).
    The shock for Britian will be big, and save many lives there.

    • Gkai says:

      More like 50%, or even less, from what i have seen : about half the people in intensive care makes it. Maybe more, i guess it depends on how intensive your care needs to be.
      When intubated it is less, 1/3 chance to live, apparently. AFAIK Bojo is not in that case….

      • Lufa says:

        Thanks for your numbers. I encountered the number 15% survival rate, if you are intubated. One newspaper claimed he is intubated.

  11. Polynices says:

    Funny, I was just teaching my 13-year-old son about Gustavus Adolphus and his death in battle at Lützen because he didn’t think he needed armor and didn’t think a king should avoid the front line even well into the gunpowder era. But sometimes leaders do dumb things and die.

    Not saying Boris holds a candle to Gustavus of course.

  12. meagain says:

    I hope he sticked to his New Year resolution of losing weight

  13. Frau Katze says:

    Does he have any co-morbidities? (Like diabetes).

  14. meagain says:

    “Data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) showed that of 165 patients treated in critical care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since the end of February, 79 died, while 86 survived and were discharged. The figures were taken from an audit of 775 people who have been or are in critical care with the disease, across 285 intensive care units. The remaining 610 patients continue to receive intensive care.”

  15. Ben says:

    I really hope BoJo makes a complete recovery. Even if he makes it out alive, there’s a chance there could be complications (e.g. hypoxic brain damage) that will put him out of politics. The UK was finally moving forward after Brexit, if BoJo goes the situation might become precarious again.

    • saintonge235 says:

      Very little chance of hypoxic brain damage. Even if his lungs degenerate to the point that the ventilator doesn’t help, something highly unlikely, there are external respiration devices, the equivalent of the lung section of a heart/lung machine.

      We shall see what occurs, but his survival will be a high priority. I’m betting he makes it.

  16. jrdougan says:

    Why on Earth was he shaking hands with coronavirus patients?

    Why did King George VI and the royal family stay in London during the Blitz?

    • gcochran9 says:

      That’s a stupid comparison, but I will let my readers explain why.

    • archandsuperior says:

      One is an authority figure standing firm and resolute, regardless of fear so that others might do likewise (after the kids had been evacuated, of course). The other is an authority figure doing something stupid an inadvisable, regardless of reason in the hopes that someone would make a vacuous comparison such as yours and actually convince themselves of it.

    • random observer says:

      I’m assuming your odds of getting killed by a bomb even in London during the blitz were actually pretty low, perhaps even lower than your chance of catching corona from any 50 random handshakes in an infected major city. Probably lower than your chance of catching it from any ten handshakes with medical personnel in a hospital treating corona.

      I’d actually be curious if there are comparable stats on that.

    • Jacob says:

      If you’re a leader, you set an example. Ordinary people didn’t have the option to move wherever they wanted to avoid getting bombed, so the royals stuck it out in solidarity.

      BoJo set a bad example by exposing himself to risks that ordinary people can and should avoid.

  17. Markjava says:

    There are a lot of stupid corana conspiracy theories out there. One is that drug companies are going to make huge profits off a vaccine. I was going foreplay that’s stupid any government would void the patent for any drug company that tried to make windfall profits from a vacccine. But it got me thinking is there any profit in making a vaccine. More important are their for profit drug companies not working on this because they know they will never be allowed to profit from a vaccine. If all the wealthy countries pitched into a 300 billion prize for the first vaccine would it get anymore companies working on it?

    • reziac says:

      Vaccine is not very profitable; most drug companies have gotten out of the vaccine business as far as they can. But in this case they can probably count on the gov’t buying NNN-million doses, plus goosing along R&D with funding as may be required.

    • j says:

      Everyone and their lab rats are working on the vaccine. Fame and the Nobel Prize is waiting out there.

    • Frau Katze says:

      Drug companies make a good profit on drugs that must be taken daily for long periods of time. The least profitable are vaccines, that require one or two doses over a lifetime. Antibiotics, taken for a week or so, aren’t much of an improvement.

      Some other benefit must be found. Government benefits (based on all the wealthy countries making a donation) as you describe might work. The companies also have to be exempt from lawsuits based on mistakes. Search for “Cutter incident” to see why.

      Free markets just don’t work for vaccines.

  18. BB753 says:

    Boris Johnson had a bad plan (herd immunity) and he’s going to pay dearly for his mistake. Even if he recovers from the virus, his organs will take a heavy toll and he’ll die an early death. Perhaps there’s a moral lesson to be learned here?

  19. Brás Cubas says:

    Every health official and some politicians as well (e.g. Merkel) are saying that nearly everyone will get infected. If there is any chance of having a shortage of hospital beds in the future, Johnson did the most rational thing by getting infected as early as possible.

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