The New Yorker:
On Friday morning, Boris Johnson announced that he had contracted the coronavirus. The news came in the form of a video, apparently filmed by Johnson on his phone, of the British Prime Minister sitting on a leather chair in front of a fireplace in Downing Street. Johnson, who is fifty-five, was dressed in a suit and looked only slightly under the weather. “Hi, folks, I want to bring you up to date with something that’s happening today, which is that I have developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus,” he said. Johnson reported a fever and a persistent cough, and he had been tested on the advice of Britain’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, an epidemiologist. “That has come out positive,” Johnson said.
Johnson is one of life’s optimists, with some justification. He said that he would continue to lead Britain’s response to the outbreak. A spokesperson said that the Prime Minister was working from his apartment and that meals were being left outside his door. The news immediately emphasized how small, intimate, and inexperienced Johnson’s government is. Within minutes, Matt Hancock, the country’s forty-one-year-old Health Secretary, who is in charge of the National Health Service, reported that he had tested positive for the coronavirus as well. Later in the afternoon, Whitty, who has been in his post for a matter of months, reported that he was self-isolating with symptoms, too. In recent days, Johnson; Hancock; Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary; and Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, have been the only four senior politicians attending cabinet meetings in person. If Johnson is incapacitated by the virus, Raab will take over running of the country.
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