'Thinner and frailer' Queen, 95, is being closely monitored after catching Covid

‘Thinner and frailer’ Queen, 95, is being closely monitored after catching Covid

The Queen is being ‘carefully monitored’ by her staff as they take a ‘sensible’ approach to her positive Covid test.

Buckingham Palace is being ‘cautious’ but is not ‘alarmed’ by her ‘mild symptoms’ as she plans to continue with ‘light duties’ this week.

The 95-year-old Monarch still wants to fulfil online audiences and telephone meetings, with only one in-person event likely to be cancelled.

She felt well enough yesterday to pay tribute to Team GB’s gold medal in the curling at the Winter Olympics and ‘cheered at the tele’ as her horse won at Newbury.

But staff will keep a close eye on her as she is ‘considerably thinner and frailer’ than a year ago and last week said ‘I can’t move’ as she leaned on a walking stick.

Her Majesty will be 'carefully monitored' this week with staff taking a 'sensible' approach after the Palace yesterday said she had tested positive for coronavirus. Pictured: The queen during a virtual meeting with the Ambassador of Jordan Manar Dabbas at Buckingham Palace on Thursday

Her Majesty will be ‘carefully monitored’ this week with staff taking a ‘sensible’ approach after the Palace yesterday said she had tested positive for coronavirus. Pictured: The queen during a virtual meeting with the Ambassador of Jordan Manar Dabbas at Buckingham Palace on Thursday

A timeline of events leading up to the Queen’s Covid-19 diagnosis

  • February 11: Prince Charles tests positive for Covid-19 for a second time and begins self-isolating. The royal met with the Queen just two days before he tested positive for the virus and had spent time with her at Windsor Castle. Buckingham Palace refuses to confirm whether the 95-year-old monarch has tested positive or negative for Covid, fuelling fears for her health.
  • February 14: The Duchess of Cornwall tests positive for Covid-19. Royal sources say Camilla, 74, has been triple vaccinated, adding that Clarence House will continue to follow government guidelines and review her engagements. Buckingham Palace officials said they would ‘not be providing a running commentary’ on the Queen’s health. A Clarence House spokesman said: ‘The Duchess of Cornwall has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self-isolating. We continue to follow government guidelines.’ The diagnosis comes as doctors continue to monitor the Queen’s health after Charles was diagnosed with Covid-19 less than 48 hours after seeing his mother. 
  • February 20: Buckingham Palace announces the Queen has tested positive for Covid-19. The monarch, 95, is understood to be experiencing ‘mild cold like symptoms’, but is expected to continue with light duties at Windsor over the coming week. A number of cases have been diagnosed in the Windsor Castle team, according to reports.  

BBC reporter Daniella Ralph told the Today programme: ‘The mood from the Palace is one of caution but no alarm.’

She said: ‘There are a couple of obvious aggravating factors here. Firstly that she is 95 years old, almost 96, and that immediately puts her in the vulnerable category.

‘Also when you see the Queen now she is considerably thinner and frailer than she was a year ago and of course she will now have to be carefully monitored.’

She added it was possible Her Majesty will get some kind of anti-viral treatment but Buckingham Palace will not confirm it.

The Monarch is experiencing ‘mild cold like symptoms’ after testing positive for Covid but expects to be at her desk carrying out ‘light duties’, the Palace said.

Concerns for the Queen will be heightened given her age and recent health scare but she is determined to carry out what tasks she can despite the virus.

She holds an audience with Boris Johnson most Wednesdays, either in person or by telephone, and has recently been holding one or two diplomatic audiences a week with ambassadors by video-link, and is likely to do so this week if well enough.

She is following all Covid self-isolating guidelines after testing positive on Sunday, but her diagnosis comes as Mr Johnson prepares on Monday to bring an end to the legal duty to self-isolate from next week.

The Queen will also be working from her red boxes, sent to her every day and containing policy papers, Foreign Office telegrams, letters and other state papers from Government ministers and Commonwealth representatives that have to be read and, where necessary, approved and signed.

For company, she has her dogs – her elderly dorgi Candy, corgi puppy Muick and another young corgi.

The monarch, if she feels well enough, is also likely to study the Racing Post.

She had a win on Sunday when her horse Kincardine won the Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Maiden Hurdle at Newbury.

She will also be given a digest of the day’s news from the early-morning radio and television bulletins, and a selection of papers, with her photo gracing most of the front pages after the announcement that she has Covid.

Royal expert Roya Nikkhah told the Today programme: ‘I think the signals that came out of Windsor Castle yesterday which I think were quite deliberate in terms of us being told she had mild symptoms, us being told she was working on that statement, that lovely message to the curling team yesterday morning, was all trying to sort of calm our fears I think.

‘And I think the mood music coming from the castle that she expects to carry on with her engagements this week, all but one person which I think she’ll cancel, is fingers crossed quite reassuring.

‘We’ve been told by royal sources that there’s been a bit of an outbreak.

‘There has been a lot of talk about this HMS Bubble around the Queen for a couple of years which has been very successful, but I think long term the Queen understood more than anyone it wasn’t tenable to continue.

‘It placed a huge demand on pressures on staff who had to isolate and be away from their families for a long time.

‘So I think she was very sanguine about that and probably inevitably accepted that she might be at risk at some point, but fingers crossed she’ll be well – she’s triple-vaxxed – and carry on.

‘It has come thick and fast for the Queen in the last few days, weeks and months. She’s had a rough old ride from her family, a lot of hassle in the year that should be celebratory but on she ploughs.

‘I was delighted to see that she would have probably had a little bit of good news yesterday with a winner at Newbury which will have perked her up no end as she ploughs on with Covid.

The Queen (pictured during an engagement earlier this month) tested positive for coronavirus

The Queen (pictured during an engagement earlier this month) tested positive for coronavirus

Pictured: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles at Balmoral Cricket Pavilion on October 1, 2021

Pictured: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles at Balmoral Cricket Pavilion on October 1, 2021

Jam-packed year as she celebrates 70 years on the throne… what are the Queen’s upcoming plans?

  • March 2: Diplomatic reception at Windsor Castle
  • March 14: Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey
  • March 29: Prince Philip remembrance service at Westminster Abbey
  • June 2: The Queen’s Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour)/Platinum Jubilee Beacons
  • June 3: Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral
  • June 4: The Derby at Epsom Downs/Platinum Party at the Palace
  • June 5: The Big Jubilee Lunch/The Platinum Jubilee Pageant

Today programme presenter Nick Robinson said: ‘We’re told she was cheering at the tele while she was watching.’

Ms Nikkhah added: ‘She’s had a rough old time of it and on she goes and I think she’s a great example to her family.’

Meanwhile royal expert Camilla Tominey told LBC: ‘Buckingham Palace is saying that she’s suffering from mild, cold-like symptoms – and their statement yesterday very much played it down, said that she would be continuing with light duties.

‘And actually a few hours after they released that statement, she sent her warm congratulations to the women and men’s curling team over in Beijing.

‘It seems as if there is this sense that it’s business as usual, and once again she epitomises this keep calm and carry on mentality that’s become her trademark.

‘They’ve always been in a form of bubble, she’s got her closest aides and they don’t really change, and they’ve been in that kind of pared-down system since March 2020, and the Duke of Edinburgh was enveloped into that.

‘So they’ll take every precaution – equally, of course, she has access to the best medical care.

‘There are some concerns about her mobility as far as her health is concerned.

‘It was only on Wednesday that she received a couple of military visitors to Windsor Castle and basically told them she couldn’t move and was quite uncomfortable on a walking stick, but again as we all have to reiterate she’s 95 and it’s easy to take that for granted, but she’s got a very busy year ahead with the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

‘She isn’t invulnerable and care needs to be taken to preserve her health and energy ahead of what is going to be a jam-packed summer.’

The Queen with Rear Admiral James Macleod (right) and Major General Eldon Millar as she met the incoming and outgoing Defence Service Secretaries in person at Windsor on Wednesday

The Queen with Rear Admiral James Macleod (right) and Major General Eldon Millar as she met the incoming and outgoing Defence Service Secretaries in person at Windsor on Wednesday

The Queen rides her horse in the grounds of Windsor Castle, three days after the death of her mother, in 2002

The Queen rides her horse in the grounds of Windsor Castle, three days after the death of her mother, in 2002

The Queen’s months of health concerns 

Prior to her positive Covid test, the Queen has been subject to months of concern from the public over her health. 

The monarch is understood to be triple vaccinated, but concern first arose in mid October when she spent the night in hospital for tests just hours after dramatically cancelling an official trip to Northern Ireland to mark the 100th anniversary of the partition of the island.

Royal doctors ordered Her Majesty, 95, to rest and advised her to miss a trip to the province, sparking speculation about the reason for the eleventh-hour cancellation.

She was not thought to have had an overnight hospital stay since March 2013, when she was treated for a stomach bug. The monarch missed the Remembrance Sunday event at the Cenotaph on November 14 last year due to a sprained back. 

Prior to that, she missed a reception for business leaders at Windsor Castle on October 19 due to ill health, instead spending a night at King Edward VII’s Hospital. That hospital stay was her first in eight years, when in 2013 she was treated at the private clinic for a bout of gastroenteritis. The sovereign was also seen using a walking stick at a Westminster Abbey service in early October, the first time she had done so at a major event. 

She is believed to have spent time with Charles on February 8, when he hosted an investiture at her Windsor Castle home, before he tested positive a few days later.

The diagnosis follows a string of Covid cases among the royal family and the Queen’s Windsor Castle team.

The Prince of Wales met the monarch the week he tested positive and the Duchess of Cornwall was also isolating after contracting the virus.

The shock announcement was made a few weeks after the nation’s longest-reigning monarch reached her historic Platinum Jubilee of 70 years on February 6.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: ‘Buckingham Palace confirm that The Queen has today tested positive for Covid.

‘Her Majesty is experiencing mild cold-like symptoms but expects to continue light duties at Windsor over the coming week.

‘She will continue to receive medical attention and will follow all the appropriate guidelines.’

The Royal Household has its own royal physicians and the Queen’s doctors will be on hand to take care of and monitor the head of state.

Professor Sir Huw Thomas, head of the Medical Household and Physician to the Queen, is expected to be in charge.

It is understood the Queen is following Covid guidelines on self-isolating after testing positive.

But Boris Johnson is expected to repeal all pandemic regulations that restrict public freedoms in England when he lays out his vision for the future on Monday.

The Queen is believed to be triple vaccinated but until recently had been on doctors’ orders to rest since mid October.

She had cancelled a run of engagements and spent a night in hospital undergoing preliminary tests.

Just a few weeks ago, the monarch had begun to resume her normal duties, hosting at Sandringham her largest reception in months, on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee anniversary, and a few days later held her first in-person audience with the Prime Minister in many weeks.

The Queen was pictured smiling as she was driven around her Sandringham Estate this month

The Queen was pictured smiling as she was driven around her Sandringham Estate this month

What is mild Covid? 

The Queen is expected to make a swift recovery after testing positive for Covid-19 because she is understood to be triple-jabbed – giving her the maximum amount of protection from the virus. 

The monarch could, though, be prescribed one or more of a number of anti-viral medications designed to protect the most vulnerable in an effort to aid her recovery.

The drugs include Ronapreve, approved in August 2021, which contains types of proteins called ‘monoclonal antibodies’, and has been shown to reduce the risk of hospital admission or death by 70 per cent in those with mild to moderate Covid-19.

Another option could be Molnupiravir, a medicine approved in November 2021, which clinical trials suggests reduces the risk of hospital admission or death by 30 per cent. 

The symptoms for Covid-19 can appear from two to 14 days after exposure to the virus, but it is understood a number of cases have also been diagnosed among the Windsor Castle team. 

Mild symptoms for Covid-19 usually include a headache, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and loss of smell. 

However it is hoped the Queen, who is understood to be triple jabbed and is not believed to have any of the conditions which specifically increase the risk from coronavirus, will recover more quickly from Covid. 

Earlier this month a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found people who have been triple-vaccinated against Covid had an increased chance of recovery than the unjabbed. 

Symptoms of mild Covid can include:

  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of smell

If you have had a booster jab it’s likely you will have milder symptoms and recover more quickly.

How to treat mild Covid at home:

  • Take pain medication such as paracetamol
  • Stay hydrated and have warm drinks as they have a soothing effect
  • You can also drink water, diluted squash and fruit juice

To reduce the spread to others you should:

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Put tissues in the bin
  • Sneeze into the crook of your elbow if you don’t have a tissue or handkerchief

Source: NHS

She now regularly uses a stick and recently commented about her mobility issues telling two senior military officers during a Windsor Castle reception ‘well, as you can see, I can’t move,’ when asked how she was.

It is likely the Queen will be working from her red boxes, sent to her every day and containing policy papers, Foreign Office telegrams, letters and other State papers from Government ministers and Commonwealth representatives that have to be read and, where necessary, approved and signed.

Earlier the Queen sent a message of congratulations to Team GB women’s curling team who became Winter Olympic champions after the men’s team won silver, but it is not known if she had tested positive at the time the words were signed off.

She told them: ‘I know that your local communities and people throughout the United Kingdom will join me in sending our good wishes to you, your coaches and the friends and family who have supported you in your great success.’

The Queen is believed to have spent time with Charles on Tuesday February 8, when he hosted an investiture at her Windsor Castle home, and a few days later he tested positive for Covid but made a quick recovery to full health.

Camilla has also tested positive for Covid, with Clarence House confirming on Monday February 14 that the duchess was self isolating.

It is the second time the future king has caught the virus, with Charles contracting Covid in March 2020 when he had mild symptoms, lost his sense of smell and taste and isolated at Birkhall on the Balmoral estate.

The Queen, whose husband the Duke of Edinburgh died 10 months ago, spent much of the pandemic in the safety of Windsor Castle, protected in ‘HMS Bubble’, the nickname given to her reduced household of dedicated staff.

The monarch, who for almost two years avoided contracting Covid, has served as a symbol of national stability during the pandemic, delivering two rare televised addresses to the nation weeks apart.

She reassured the country that the virus would be overcome, telling those in isolation: ‘We will meet again.’

But, amid the worst public health crisis for generations, she bade a sad farewell to Philip, her companion of 73 years, who died aged 99 in April 2021.

The Queen sat alone at his funeral during Covid restrictions.

Elizabeth II is the first British monarch in history to reach her Platinum Jubilee, and plans are in motion for a host of national festivities in June to mark the occasion.

Her reign has stretched from the post-war years through a new millennium and into a radically altered 21st century.

Her time on the throne has seen 14 prime ministers from the Second World War leader, Sir Winston Churchill, to Boris Johnson.

In her twilight years, she has been setting her affairs in order, using her Jubilee message to endorse her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cornwall, once a royal mistress, to be Queen Camilla and crowned at Charles’s side when he one day becomes King.

The Queen is the latest monarch from around the world to catch Covid.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark, 82, and Spain’s King Felipe VI, 54, both tested positive for the illness on February 9.

No crisis talks… it’s just business as usual for our stoic sovereign following positive Covid test, writes ROBERT HARDMAN

Having just tested positive for a potentially life-threatening virus which she had hitherto successfully evaded for two years, the Queen did not summon her heir or senior members of her Privy Council for crisis contingency talks on what to do if things take a turn for the worse.

Rather, she decided to send a message to the British Curling Team at the Beijing Winter Olympics. The monarch does not normally send messages each time a Brit wins Olympic gold.

However, Britain hasn’t had very much to cheer about of late and this was a great team effort (by both the women, who won gold, and the men, who won silver).

Yesterday’s terse statement, confirming that the monarch has tested positive for Covid, will only have been issued through gritted teeth. Her Majesty is pictured above on Wednesday

Yesterday’s terse statement, confirming that the monarch has tested positive for Covid, will only have been issued through gritted teeth. Her Majesty is pictured above on Wednesday

It will not have escaped Her Majesty’s notice, either, that this all-Scottish success was a triumph for the whole UK at a time when the Union is as vulnerable as it has been in her lifetime. The gesture will have been warmly received North of the Border.

In other words, the Queen was getting on with business as usual. It is equally telling that none of this week’s online engagements – another round of meetings with incoming ambassadors and an audience with the Prime Minister – have, thus far, been cancelled.

Yesterday’s terse statement, confirming that the monarch has tested positive for Covid, will only have been issued through gritted teeth. 

The Queen hates discussions about her health, so much so that her last visit to hospital, four months ago, only came to light via the press, rather than the Palace.

The official position is that royal medical bulletins are only issued in the event of bona fide hospital procedures or the cancellation of engagements. 

The Palace did not put out a statement about that last hospital visit because it involved ‘preliminary investigations’ rather than an operation, though there was widespread media criticism of the royal obfuscation involved.

Given that, on this occasion, the Queen is neither in hospital nor even confined to bed – she is up and about in her private corner of Windsor Castle – her current condition would not normally be deemed worthy of comment, let alone a statement.

However, Covid is self-evidently in a category of its own.

After Prince Charles’s last diagnosis, ten days ago, there was concern that he had met the Queen two days before that. However, the fact that several members of staff either have had or now have the virus means that Covid has managed to outwit whatever ‘track and trace’ precautions were in place

After Prince Charles’s last diagnosis, ten days ago, there was concern that he had met the Queen two days before that. However, the fact that several members of staff either have had or now have the virus means that Covid has managed to outwit whatever ‘track and trace’ precautions were in place

The public, quite reasonably, expect to be informed that the head of state has contracted a virus which has dominated all our lives for two years and (for now, at least) imposes specific restrictions on those who catch it. 

In those dark days at the start of the pandemic, we were told that the Prince of Wales had contracted the coronavirus and, this month, we were informed after he caught it again. 

When the virus swept through the Government, in the spring of 2020, we had every right to know that the Prime Minister was, initially, laid low, and then desperately ill.

On the other hand, there was criticism of the Duke of Cambridge when he kept his Covid diagnosis secret for seven months, all through 2020, because he ‘didn’t want to worry anyone’.

It was left to the Sun newspaper to announce that news.

The Queen and her staff certainly don’t want to ‘worry anyone’ but, equally, accept that this is not something that could or should be concealed. The virus, I understand, is now circulating inside Windsor Castle and word of a localised outbreak was never going to remain secret for long.

On the other hand, there was criticism of the Duke of Cambridge when he kept his Covid diagnosis secret for seven months, all through 2020, because he ‘didn’t want to worry anyone’. It was left to the Sun newspaper to announce that news

On the other hand, there was criticism of the Duke of Cambridge when he kept his Covid diagnosis secret for seven months, all through 2020, because he ‘didn’t want to worry anyone’. It was left to the Sun newspaper to announce that news

Who is the Queen’s top royal doctor? Imperial College London professor will spearhead Monarch’s recovery

The Queen’s health has come into focus over the past few months following a stay in hospital, a strained back and now testing positive for coronavirus.

The man in charge of looking after her is Professor Sir Huw Thomas, Head of the Medical Household and Physician to the Queen.

Prof Sir Huw has been Head of the Medical Household since 2014 and was last year knighted after being invested with the Insignia of a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.

It is likely the Queen wanted to thank Prof Sir Huw personally for his care of her and the royal family.

Prof Sir Huw, who is also professor of gastrointestinal genetics at Imperial College London’s department of surgery and cancer, has previously spoken of how grateful he was to be recognised for his service.

Speaking at Imperial at the time of his knighthood, he said: ‘It’s been a busy couple of years in this role, so I feel very grateful to have been recognised for my service to date.’

He added: ‘You very much become part of that organisation and become the personal doctor to the principal people in it, who are patients just like other patients.

‘With the pandemic, the key priority of the Medical Household is trying to make sure that the people under its care are kept safe.’

It is likely to have been Prof Sir Huw who advised the head of state to take things easy after she underwent preliminary tests in King Edward VII’s Hospital on October 20, 2021.

The Queen subsequently suffered a back problem causing her to miss the 2021 Remembrance Sunday service.

Despite testing positive and experiencing ‘mild cold-like symptoms’, Buckingham Palace said the Queen expects to continue carrying out ‘light duties’.

The Queen has received coronavirus vaccinations and was cared for at Windsor in ‘HMS Bubble’ – the nickname for their reduced household of loyal staff – during lockdown alongside her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh before his death in April 2021.

Professor Sir Huw has also been involved in delivering some of the younger members of the Royal Family.

He was part of the team who looked after the Duchess of Cambridge when she gave birth to daughter Charlotte in 2015 and youngest son Louis in 2018 at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, alongside Guy Thorpe-Beeston, surgeon gynaecologist to the royal household, and consultant gynaecologist Alan Farthing, surgeon gynaecologist to the Queen.

Mr Farthing works as a consultant at St Mary’s Hospital and Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in Shepherd’s Bush and replaced Sir Marcus Setchell in the role when the latter retired in 2013.

Mr Farthing was also engaged to Jill Dando at the time of her murder in April 1999 and helped found the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science at University College London following her death. 

However, having told us that a) the Queen is infected and b) that she is suffering ‘mild cold-like symptoms’, we will not be told any more unless there is a drastic change in Her Majesty’s condition.

We are not going to learn which variant the Queen is suffering from any more than we will be told which vaccine she has received.

Do not expect to hear any letters from the Greek alphabet emanating from the Palace press office any time soon. ‘We are not going to get into a running commentary,’ says a spokesman.

‘If there is something to say, then we’ll tell you.’ Having spent her life adhering to the philosophy of ‘show not tell’, the Queen sees no reason why she should tell us how she is feeling today or tomorrow or the next day.

However, as and when we see the next images of a smiling Sovereign receiving the credentials of a new diplomatic head of mission via video link, we will be left to draw our own conclusions about the state of her health. At the start of the pandemic, the Master of the Household, the resourceful Vice Admiral Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt, created a human shield around the monarch, with a closely-monitored skeleton crew of personal staff whom the Falklands veteran nicknamed ‘HMS Bubble’.

It was a strategy which worked extremely well in the early phase of the pandemic but was later relaxed. The mood inside what now passes for ‘HMS Bubble’, I gather, was one of calm stoicism last night. There is no panic in the private wing of the castle’s Upper Ward, no witch hunt.

After Prince Charles’s last diagnosis, ten days ago, there was concern that he had met the Queen two days before that.

However, the fact that several members of staff either have had or now have the virus means that Covid has managed to outwit whatever ‘track and trace’ precautions were in place. No one will be held to blame for that. 

‘Covid is no respecter of rank or bubbles and this is just being regarded as one of those things,’ says a well-placed source. It is worth saying that no one at Windsor Castle has (as yet) required any sort of hospital treatment. Moreover, there is no member of the Royal Medical Household – the Queen’s medical team – in residence. 

The castle does have a resident staff nurse (primarily for the workforce rather than the Royal Family) but there is no round-the-clock doctor in situ, as there would be if things were serious. On the other hand, no one is taking this lightly. 

The Queen and her staff are acutely aware that, for many people – including those with a full set of jabs – this virus can still turn into something extremely unpleasant and dangerous.

No one is taking anything for granted, especially in the case of a recently-bereaved widow who will shortly be marking her 96th birthday. It also serves as a reminder, however, that the Queen has had a very ‘good war’.

Her broadcasts to the nation in the early days of Covid were perfectly judged, most notably her ‘we will meet again’ reprise of Dame Vera Lynn but also her subsequent messages marking Easter and the 75th anniversary of VE Day. 

We have seen her embracing video conferencing technology with gusto. She has remained at the forefront of national life, whether knighting Captain Sir Tom Moore on her lawn or throwing a party for world leaders at the G7 summit.

The ‘war’ analogy is entirely appropriate, for that is how she herself really does view this pandemic. This time last year, she made a particularly striking public intervention when she urged everyone to get jabbed.

For, when it comes to ‘vax’ versus ‘anti-vax’, the Queen is perfectly happy to abandon her customary position of rigid neutrality – since she clearly regards vaccination not as a political issue but as a national imperative rooted in science.

‘Once you’ve had the vaccine you have a feeling you’re protected, which is I think very important,’ she told a panel of senior NHS executives during yet another virtual audience. It’s obviously difficult for people if they’ve never had a vaccine…but they ought to think about other people rather than themselves.’

Reflecting on the ‘strange battle’ in which the world now found itself, she added: ‘Having lived in the war, it’s very much like that.’

And just like the Royal Family, all through the war, the determination, for the moment, will be to ‘keep calm and carry on’.

The rest of us are still entitled to be very worried about her.

However, we can draw some comfort from one more bit of news from within. ‘The red boxes are still going up,’ an aide tells me. Which is certainly good news for her subjects, if not for the Queen herself.

Medical gains plus mild symptoms are cause for optimism in Queen’s Covid battle, writes DR MARTIN SCURR

On the face of it, the news that the Queen has tested positive for Covid might seem ominous. At 95, the monarch falls into the highest-risk category for the effects of this virus.

When it comes to the chance of developing severe illness, other important factors such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension are all less important than advancing years – even from the more benign Omicron variant that is currently responsible for most cases in Britain today.

Nevertheless, we know – sadly – that coronavirus still remains a threat to the elderly and vulnerable.

I would imagine the Queen has been prescribed baricitinib, a powerful drug that has shown a highly encouraging ability to disable the potentially tissue-damaging inflammation the virus can cause

I would imagine the Queen has been prescribed baricitinib, a powerful drug that has shown a highly encouraging ability to disable the potentially tissue-damaging inflammation the virus can cause

Adding to these concerns, the sovereign’s normally robust health has appeared to waver of late. In October, she was admitted to hospital for two days for undisclosed investigations. A month later she sprained her back.

Photographed last week during an official engagement, she looked frail and told guests: ‘I can’t move.’

The Palace has confirmed Her Majesty is triple-vaccinated. Yet it is also true that vaccines are less effective in the elderly, who have weaker immune systems

The Palace has confirmed Her Majesty is triple-vaccinated. Yet it is also true that vaccines are less effective in the elderly, who have weaker immune systems

The Palace has confirmed Her Majesty is triple-vaccinated. 

Yet it is also true that vaccines are less effective in the elderly, who have weaker immune systems.

All this is some cause for concern, and if I were the Queen’s GP, I would be listening to her chest twice a day to ensure she was not developing pneumonia. 

Balanced against these rather gloomy tidings, however, are assurances from the Palace that Her Majesty is currently experiencing only mild symptoms – enabling her to continue with light duties.

Furthermore, there have been many welcome advances in treatment. 

I would imagine the Queen has been prescribed baricitinib, a powerful drug that has shown a highly encouraging ability to disable the potentially tissue-damaging inflammation the virus can cause.

The Queen’s diagnosis also comes only a week after a study was published on the anti-viral drug molnupiravir. 

This showed that if taken from the moment of diagnosis, it can lessen the chance of severe illness by as much as 50 per cent.

Timing is everything, though – if taken after symptoms worsen, it is far less effective. Rapid treatment will be vital. These are all reasons for optimism.

Despite her recent travails, the Queen has been blessed with good health over her long life. Now she is in the best of hands – and we all wish her a speedy recovery.

Martin Scurr is a GP and Good Health columnist.

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