Boris Johnson was put into intensive care due to persistent coronavirus symptoms yesterday, more than a week after he contracted COVID-19. Reports suggest the Prime Minister is still working during his hospital bed, but under intense observation from doctors.
Is Boris Johnson on oxygen?
COVID-19 is a respiratory infection which primarily affects the lungs but causes just mild symptoms in most instances.
In severe cases – roughly one in six according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) – people develop pneumonia, meaning they may require breathing assistance via a ventilator.
The Prime Minister is now amongst those suffering from severe coronavirus symptoms, and Downing Street confirmed he has been receiving oxygen treatment.
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However, some experts believe he is on a ventilator as part of his intensive care.
Speaking to Sky News, Derek Hill, a professor of medical imaging at University College London (UCL) said it is “very likely” the Prime Minister is on a ventilator.
He said: “It seems clear that the Prime Minister went to hospital because he had difficulty breathing.
“It seems he was initially put on oxygen and was conscious.”
“But as often happens with COVID-19, his condition has now deteriorated so he has been admitted to intensive care where he is very likely to have been put on a mechanical ventilator to breathe for him.”
Ventilating requires patients to undergo sedation before doctors insert a tube into their throat.
The tube provides oxygen and “breathes” for the patient, allowing their lungs to recover.
Downing Street denied the Prime Minister was on ventilation when questioned, adding they would relay any changes to his condition to the public.
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Number 10 changed its description of his symptoms from “mild” to “persistent”.
Ventilation is just one of several measures doctors will take to aid the Prime Minister.
According to Rupert Beale, head of the Francis Crick Institute’s cell biology of infection laboratory in London, Mr Johnson would receive several other tests.
He said doctors would be paying close attention to his immune response to COVID-19 and vital activity.
Doctor Beale said: “Doctors will be monitoring important vital signs such as oxygen saturations.”
“They will also check blood tests to see what the immune response to the virus looks like and to assess liver and kidney function.
“They will perform an electrocardiogram to check the heart.
“More sophisticated tests may include a CT scan of the chest to get an accurate picture of the lungs.”
Should the Prime Minister’s condition deteriorate, Dominic Raab, the first secretary of state, will take charge.
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