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Throw your words carefully


It was unexpected yesterday to hear that Boris Johnson had first been admitted to hospital and then to an ICU ward. Having been suffering with COVID-19 for over a week, I think the general assumption was that he would be well on the road to recovery.

It must have been quite a shock for those in government too – how to keep morale up, how to keep things going and where we would be in the remote but real possibility that he doesn’t recover. I feel sympathy for both Mr Johnson and his colleagues at this sharp point of an already difficult national and international crisis.

I do wish they would be a little more careful with the hyperbole though. At the daily briefing, Dominic Raab said, “… I’m confident he’ll pull through because if there’s one thing I know about this prime minister, he’s a fighter”. My sympathy goes also to those who have recently buried other “fighters” or, worse yet, had to observe those burials at a distance. If there is one thing the Prime Minister’s present misfortune illustrates, it should be that the virus is still a real and present danger to anyone, no matter how educated, privileged or famous they might be.

More testing kits for NHS staff and other key workers please, Mr Raab, and no more rehearsing eulogies for what will, hopefully, be a redundant obituary speech.

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