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Oct 5 2020 | By - Amit

What testing positive for COVID-19 means for Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump, who did not take novel Coronavirus seriously and often mocked the pandemic, was diagnosed with COVID-19, along with his wife First Lady Melania Trump, on 2 October 2020.

 

The unprecedented development comes hours after one of Trump’s top advisors, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the virus.  

 

Hicks, who is close to the Trump family and handles the President's election campaign these days, is at present holding the position of strategic communications post in White House. This comes at a time when the US presidential election campaign is at its peak and both President and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden are taking the campaign to different approaches. Biden is emphasising on local health, while Trump seems more aggressive against the restrictions.  


Trump’s mockery of Coronavirus

Donald Trump has been mocking Coronavirus since the pandemic arrived in the US in mid-January. His latest mockery on Coronavirus came during the first presidential debate when he made a joke on Joe Biden’s mask-wearing habits.

 

Trump said: “I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.” Trump has been blaming China for the spread of Coronavirus even after his own failure in handling the pandemic that killed more than 200,000 Americans and more than 1 million people across the globe. The US President has repeatedly called the virus “China virus” and “Chinese plague” on several occasions. 

 

The Republican frontrunner, who has now softened his tone on wearing masks, shocked everyone during a press conference at the White House, when he asked a reporter to remove a mask, while asking a question, saying: “If you don’t take it off, you’re very muffled.” In February, during a White House meeting, Trump had said: “The virus is going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

 

Trump and his team not only ignored masks and social-distancing measures but also shut their eyes on science’s advice on pandemic. At many occasions, Trump has also contradicted or criticized top White House advisors over precautionary measures and COVID-19 vaccine. 


White House cluster

Hours after US President Donald Trump tested positive for Coronavirus, at least 14 people, who were close to Trump and his administration, also tested positive. Some of them are:

 

  • Hope Hicks is the White House staffer to catch Coronavirus after he came into contact with one of Trump’s supporters during an election rally. 
  • Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and close to Trump, also tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Kellyanne Conway, a former advisor for Trump, also announced that she has been diagnosed with Covid-19. 
  • Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager and a New Jersey native, who ran both of Christie’s successful campaigns for governor, tested for Coronavius on 2 October.
  • US Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah
  • US Senator Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina
  • A White House press staffer
  • Three journalists from the White House press corps tested positive

Impact on US Elections

This came at a time when Donald Trump was continuously patting his government’s back over the handling of virus in the run up to the November presidential elections. More than affecting his health, the virus has affected his campaign for the upcoming polls — by putting in limbo the schedule, narrative and the agenda of his election rallies. His campaign team has already announced that all his addresses are going to be either postponed or go virtual.

Trump’s disease has also given his rival Joe Biden, a witty speaker, a chance to take jabs at him and strongly push his narrative of taking the virus seriously a boost.