Comparing Pres. Trump’s COVID Diagnosis to Boris Johnson’s

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is one of the few world leaders who truly understands what President Trump faces following his COVID-19 diagnosis. Earlier this year, Johnson was rushed to intensive care due to the virus. Mark Landler of the New York Times joins the program to compare Trump’s diagnosis to Johnson’s.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So, let’s go back to reminding everybody what happened here. When he was first taken ill, how did the government run? What — who handed over to?

MARK LANDLER, LONDON BUREAU CHIEF, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, as those pictures suggest, Boris Johnson’s first goal was to look very much like he was still in charge. And so he took part in crisis meetings from isolation, from his official apartment, which sits above Number 11 Downing Street, actually not Number 10. And he took part in these meetings with — by Zoom, and Downing Street put out the occasional update on his condition, always used the same language, he had mild symptoms and he was in good spirits. Eerily, that’s almost exactly the language that Mark Meadows and other officials have used today to describe President Trump. One difference is that Boris Johnson posted video of himself in isolation. We haven’t yet seen pictures of President Trump. And it’s not clear we will. He canceled his public schedule today. And then what happened is, Boris Johnson — the symptoms got progressively worse. And he tweeted that he was having trouble shaking the symptoms. And then, with very little advanced warning, we learned that he had been transferred to St. Thomas’ Hospital. And, again, the reports from Downing Street were very sketchy and determinately upbeat and continued to say that he was in — quote — “good spirits.” And then we learned, to, I think, general alarm, that he’d actually been moved into an ICU and was receiving oxygen. And, for a couple of days, it was extremely touch and go. And I think there was a lot of concern, even at the highest levels of the government, that the prime minister might not make it. So there was a huge sigh of relief when he was discharged from the ICU, moved back into a hospital ward, and then that very dramatic video that he recorded after he was released on Easter Sunday, where he described the efforts of the nurses to supply him with oxygen throughout the most difficult evening, when he said that phrase, “Things could have gone either way.” So it was a very dramatic and serious bout with coronavirus. One wishes fervently that President Trump does not experience anything close to that. There’s no indication right now that he is. But it is a reminder that, among men of this age, COVID is extremely dangerous. And the interesting question is, what lessons did Boris Johnson learn from it? How did it inform the way he’s responded to the virus as it’s unfolded in the United Kingdom?


About This Episode EXPAND

Journalists and health experts weigh in on President Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis.