“I’m finding that I have to wear spectacles for the first time in years – because I think of the likely effects of this thing … I think that’s very, very plausible that eyesight can be a problem associated with coronavirus”

Boris Johnson, Coronavirus Press Briefing

May 25, 2020

Facts

At the Coronavirus Press Briefing on May 25th 2020, Johnson said: “I’m finding that I have to wear spectacles for the first time in years – because I think of the likely effects of this thing … I think that’s very, very plausible that eyesight can be a problem associated with coronavirus”

Boris Johnson was defending Cummings’ excuse for leaving his house and driving to Barnard Castle as a way of testing his eyesight. This manoeuvre was supposed to determine whether Cummings was fit to drive from Durham to London. 

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Moorfields Eye Hospital responded to the Johnson’s claim with a statement saying: “At present, there is very little evidence to suggest that Covid-19 can affect eyesight.”

Many were also quick to point out an interview with the Daily Mail from 2014 when Johnson, then Mayor of London, said he needed glasses to see anything around the house. “I’m now so short-sighted. I’m blind!”

Verdict

Johnson propagated an unsubstantiated theory about a link between Covid-19 and eyesight and produced a colourful claim about his own need for spectacles to protect his then Senior Adviser, Dominic Cummings.

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