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LBC’s Theo Usherwood reveals how Long Covid has wreaked havoc on his body

LBC’s Theo Usherwood, who was left ‘gasping for air’ due to Covid urges young people to get the vaccine and says he’d ‘give every material possession’ to avoid virus after it wrecked his long-term fitness

  • Broadcaster contracted the virus in March 2020 and was treated at Royal London Hospital for pneumonia after Covid ‘slowly crept up’ on him  
  • In his 30s, Usherwood, who has a young son, had run a marathon but says long-term health impact means he has ‘no options’ to do similar physical challenges
  • Urged young people to get the vaccine, saying ‘it’s not the complete silver bullet, but it’s so close to being that. Why risk it?’


LBC‘s Political Editor says Covid has wreaked such havoc on his health that he now no longer has ‘the option’ to pursue the big physical challenges – including running a marathon – that he enjoyed prior to falling ill. 

Theo Usherwood, believed to be 40, told the radio station that he would ‘give every material possession’ he owned to not have contracted the virus. 

In March last year, Usherwood battled pneumonia at the Royal London Hospital and told host James O’Brien yesterday that he’d had a ‘sticky few days’ where his health had deteriorated so badly he was left ‘gasping for air’. 

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The broadcaster interviewing London Mayor Sadiq Khan, left, before falling ill with Covid in March last year. 16 months on, Usherwood told LBC that he had been robbed by the virus of being able to take on the kind of big physical challenges - including running a marathon - that he had done in his thirties

The broadcaster interviewing London Mayor Sadiq Khan, left, before falling ill with Covid in March last year. 16 months on, Usherwood told LBC that he had been robbed by the virus of being able to take on the kind of big physical challenges – including running a marathon – that he had done in his thirties

More than a year on, Usherwood, who is married to wife Romella, with whom he shares a son, Kofi, told the station that he’s fascinated by people who say think they won’t be affected by the virus because they’re in good health. 

He said: ‘I’m always fascinated by people who say: because I’m healthy, I don’t need to get the vaccine.’

Detailing how he’d undertaken a marathon and a cycling challenge in his 30s, Usherwood, who had no underlying health conditions, said he was now left with no possibility of doing such strenuous activity because of the long-term impact the virus has had on his health. 

‘I’ve been very fortunate to have run marathons, I did a great cycling trip, I got this job at LBC. I’ve got no option of doing these things in my forties.’

Political Editor for LBC, Theo Usherwood, who contracted Covid in March 2020 told the station in an emotional interview that he would 'give every material possession' he owned to not have contracted the virus

Political Editor for LBC, Theo Usherwood, who contracted Covid in March 2020 told the station in an emotional interview that he would ‘give every material possession’ he owned to not have contracted the virus

Usherwood told host James O'Brien he was 'fascinated by people who say: because I'm healthy, I don't need to get the vaccine' as he urged young people to take the jab

Usherwood told host James O’Brien he was ‘fascinated by people who say: because I’m healthy, I don’t need to get the vaccine’ as he urged young people to take the jab

Writing in The Times shortly after his release from hospital last year, he said his ordeal had started slowly and left him 'gasping for air' two weeks later

Writing in The Times shortly after his release from hospital last year, he said his ordeal had started slowly and left him ‘gasping for air’ two weeks later

He urged healthy young people to get the vaccine, saying he would have avoided being admitted to hospital and the long-term effects the virus has had on his health if he’d been able to access the jab. 

‘I wouldn’t have ended up in hospital, I wouldn’t have ended up with pneumonia. You guys – people don’t realise how lucky we are to have it. It’s incredible. 

‘It won’t completely take it away and there’ll still be people who get it, it’s not the complete silver bullet, but it’s so close to being that. 

“I just think ‘why risk it?’ – just get it!”‘ 

Writing in The Times shortly after his release from hospital last year, he said his ordeal had started slowly and left him ‘gasping for air’ two weeks later. 

‘It had crept up on me over the course of 11 days, slowly squeezing the air from my lungs until I was almost unable to breathe. 

‘What had started as all the symptoms of flu — aching limbs, headache, extreme fatigue — had slowly worsened. I had a severe cough, which felt as if a clamp was being applied to my chest, and painful stomach cramps.’ 

Last week, the Government’s advisory panel ruled older teenagers should be given their first dose. Ministers plan to invite them before they head back to schools and colleges in September.

Older teenagers seriously ill with Covid-19 ‘led to jabs rollout extension’ 

The number of 16 and 17-year-olds becoming ‘seriously ill’ with coronavirus informed the extension of the vaccination rollout to that age group, a member of the committee advising on jabs said.

Professor Adam Finn, who sits on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and is a professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol, said there had been ‘a couple’ of 17-year-olds in that area who needed intensive care in hospital in recent weeks.

He said while most young people will only have the virus in a mild form, the vaccines will be effective at preventing serious cases.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘We’re going cautiously down through the ages now into childhood and it was clear that the number of cases and the number of young people in the age group – 16, 17 – that were getting seriously ill merited going forward with giving them just a first dose.’

He said the JCVI would advise ‘when and what’ the second dose for that age group would be after assessing more data.

He added: ‘Most young people who get this virus get it mildly or even without any symptoms at all.

‘But we are seeing cases in hospital even into this age group – we’ve had a couple of 17-year-olds here in Bristol admitted and needing intensive care over the course of the last four to six weeks – and so we are beginning to see a small number of serious cases.

‘What we know for sure is that these vaccines are very effective at preventing those kind of serious cases from occurring.’

NHS England said nearly 16,000 people in the 16 to 17-year-old age group have already received their vaccine over the weekend, just days after JVCI guidance was updated.

Extending the jabs rollout further down to the 12 to 15-year-old age group has not been ruled out.

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said he thinks doing so would be ‘a good thing’.

He told Times Radio the more unvaccinated people there are, the more lungs there are ‘for virus to percolate in, therefore it’s got to be a good thing to be vaccinating more children down through the age range’.

He said children who have the virus but do not have symptoms are ‘as dangerous to the spread as anybody else’.

He said: ‘From a medical scientific point of view, I’d say there’s nothing special about the virus in their lungs that can’t transmit through to their families, through to their schoolteachers, through to their colleagues.’

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