Why is Derek Draper so ill with Covid and will Kate's husband ever recover?

Those tuning into the documentary might be wanting to understand why Derek Draper is so ill with Covid and what his chances of recovery look like.

Kate Garraway's new documentary Caring for Derek premieres on ITV tonight and fans are looking forward to hearing the next update on Kate Garraway’s husband and his altered health. The 54-year-old first contracted Covid in March 2020. And it's fair to say that life has changed completely for Kate and her family, as they've rallied around in the aftermath of the virus and the devastating effects it's taken on Derek and his body.

Tonight's viewing follows the successful and eye-opening Finding Derek documentarywhich debuted in March 2021. A BAFTA winning feature film, it chronicled his first 13 months in hospital, before being allowed home in April 2021. Now Kate has let the cameras back into her life to show his continued recovery and to shine a light on the everyday realities of being a carer.

Why is Derek Draper so ill with Covid?

Kate’s husband Derek became ill from Covid-19 in March 2020 and spent 13 months in hospital battling the effects of the virus – which at times proved near-fatal. During the last two years, Derek has suffered from brain inflammation, multiple organ-failure and damage to the lungs, kidneys, heart and liver. He is still continuing his recovery today.

54-year-old Kate, their two children and their family have been by his side throughout the fight, which hasn’t always been easy. Derek has  experienced subsequent weight loss in addition to his other complications. And there was even a devastating moment where Kate was told he might die.

a close up of Derek Draper in new Kate Garraway documentary

Thankfully, Derek was deemed fit enough to return home after a year in hospital in April 2021. And he was later taken off all support machines and breathing apparatus. Despite this, the 54-year-old still receives 24-hour care and has faced a few set-backs in his recovery.

In December 2021, Kate Garraway shared her husband’s Christmas health scare that almost saw him return to hospital. Thankfully a nurse and carer were able to attend to him. And Derek remained home for his family’s first Christmas back together.

During the same month, the TV presenter opened up on the full extent of Derek’s situation:

"It’s devastated him," she told Piers Morgan in an heartfelt interview. "From the top of his head to the tip of his toe. His digestive system, his liver, his kidneys, his heart, his nervous system. We’re pretty sure that the inflammation did pass through the brain.

"He still can’t communicate, he still has issues with mobility. Fundamentally, he’s in a terrible state. Look, he’s alive, Piers."

On what this has meant for their relationship, Kate admits that she’s not sure they’d ever fallen out of love. And that instead “a new path is emerging, a new way to be in love”.

"He puts huge trust in me," she told You Magazine in February. "He just says, ‘Whatever you think’, which is wonderful, but I do get quite tearful about it. I think, ‘God, I hope I’m worthy of that trust'".

Will Derek Draper recover?

Yes, according to Kate Garraway "doctors believe that there will be a trajectory". But that his recovery will be "very slow". The mum-of-two remains hopeful and has shared that the family feel "lucky" to still have Derek here. He is continuing his recovery at the couple’s North London home.

"Most of all we’re lucky that we have the chance, because of a lot of people passed away," Kate said, giving an update on her husband’s condition on Good Morning Britain in December.

She admitted that "it’s not been easy" and that Derek still sleeps for "20 hours a day".

"Although there are these extraordinary little moments that keep you going, it’s not as though there is something every day taking us forward," she added.

Kate has kept fans abreast of these hopeful moments, sharing the ways her kids are making Derek smile again. Plus Derek’s first words to son Billy after waking from his coma in May 2021.

In terms of the future, Kate recently admitted that she’d give anything to hear Derek sing again.

What's next for Derek Draper and his treatment?

Derek will return to a specialist clinic in Monterrey, Mexico in March this year for further tests and checks. It is hoped that if all looks good, he will be entered into a ground-breaking medical trial that deals with long Covid.

Kate told the Sun that Derek's previous visit lasted 28 days and involved doctors monitoring his brain, liver and lung function.

"It took weeks and weeks of planning, and when I told Derek about this place he was excited. He is just so desperate to get better - he will do anything he can to make that happen," she told the paper. "I think actually there’s a huge amount of hope for him to improve. And I think the treatment could be positive.

"I want to be slightly careful about saying too much, because I’m aware everybody will go, ‘What is the trial?’. And I don’t want to start something, offering up false hope to others who might be in a similar position. But I’m just so desperate to be able to give a happy ending — for Derek mainly, but also for everybody who asks me every day how he’s getting on."

A photo posted by on

News of the clinical trial reached Kate after Finding Derek aired in 2021. A world-renowned surgeon saw Derek Draper was so ill with Covid via the documentary and got in touch with details.

Kate added: "It’s hard to say how the treatment went so far, as it’s very early in the treatment programme and he will need much more. We are also still waiting for final analysis of all the scans, but I like there were a lot of positives.”

Video of the Week:

Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.