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The brutal reality of a national leader like Boris Johnson falling ill with coronavirus can be felt by millions

John Downing


History has taught us that politicians should be open about sickness

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Monitored: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being kept in intensive care as he battles Covid-19. Photo: REUTERS

Monitored: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being kept in intensive care as he battles Covid-19. Photo: REUTERS

REUTERS

Monitored: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being kept in intensive care as he battles Covid-19. Photo: REUTERS

PJ Mara liked to recall how he "ran" a young reporter who asked about the health of Presidential candidate Brian Lenihan Snr, back in 1990.

"How's your own health? Health is private, personal - for everyone," Charlie Haughey's long-time press spokesman gloried in recalling.

Well, even three decades ago, the serious health problems of a national political leader were, at best, "quasi-private" because they raise a host of questions about implications for good decision-making.