Johnson during a moment of silence to honor the U.K.'s essential workers. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview with The Sun on Sunday that the rapid deterioration of his condition while suffering from the coronavirus had doctors preparing how to announce his death.

What he's saying: “It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it. They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario. I was not in particularly brilliant shape and I was aware there were contingency plans in place. The doctors had all sorts of arrangements for what to do if things went badly wrong."

  • “It was hard to believe that in just a few days my health had deteriorated to this extent. I remember feeling frustrated. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting better."
  • "But the bad moment came when it was 50-50 whether they were going to have to put a tube down my windpipe. That was when it got a bit ... they were starting to think about how to handle it presentationally."

The big picture: Johnson, the first major world leader to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, spent three days in the intensive care unit of London's St. Thomas’ Hospital last month. He only recently returned to work after recovering from his illness and after the birth of his son, whom he named after the health care workers who saved his life.

  • Johnson has celebrated the "success" of the U.K. in fighting the virus, but the reality is that the country has the third-worst death toll in the world and is on track to be the worst-hit in Europe.
  • The U.K. has reported 183,500 confirmed cases and 28,205 deaths from the coronavirus as of Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Go deeper: Boris Johnson skipped five virus briefings in early days of pandemic

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the U.S. surpassed 5 million on Sunday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden noted in an emailed statement that 5 million "is more than the entire population of Alabama — or of more than half the states in our union, for that matter," as he blamed President Trump for his handling of the pandemic.

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Why it matters: "Whether we're closer to 200,000 or closer to 300,000 depends on what we do now and how it evolves," Gottlieb warned on Sunday as the U.S. surpassed five million confirmed coronavirus cases.

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