US President Donald Trump is not the only leader on the world stage to have contracted coronavirus.
His positive test, announced in the early hours of Friday, puts him in the company of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
Of those, Johnson fell the most gravely ill after he tested positive for the virus at the end of March. He spent a week in hospital, with three nights in intensive care and, on being discharged admitted “things could have gone either way” for him. Even after leaving the hospital, he had to spend time recuperating at his official country residence, Chequers.
Johnson’s illness, at the height of Britain’s first wave of infections, complicated the government’s response, not least because the virus spread through the government’s ranks in Westminster.
Trump and his wife Melania, who has also tested positive for the virus, may be asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms, as was the case with Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock.
At 74 years old and overweight, Trump — who has spent months playing down the severity of the pandemic as US deaths have surpassed 207,000 — falls into the highest risk category for serious complications from the disease. But the first lady, age 50, is likely to be at a lower risk of serious illness.
Johnson tweeted his best wishes to Trump and the first lady, saying he hoped “they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus.”
The US President and first lady can expect to receive the best care the country can offer. But some fear that the full picture is not being given.
Even when the British Prime Minister was in hospital, daily briefings from Downing Street breezily proclaimed he was in “good spirits” when in fact — by Johnson’s own account later — the situation was significantly more serious.