Trump hits the campaign trial under two weeks since COVID-19 diagnosis
Early on the 2nd October, USA President Donald Trump announced that he and Melania Trump were diagnosed with COVID-19, just over a month before the 3rd November Presidential Election. Two days before, one of his closest advisers, Hope Hicks, tested positive after displaying symptoms, and yet the first presidential debate still took place.
Over that weekend, he was taken to Walter Reed Medical Centre in Maryland for monitoring, and treated with supplemental oxygen, REGN-COV2 (an antibody cocktail), and Remdesivir, an Ebola drug which is currently being tested for its capability to treat COVID-19. Dr Sean Conley held a press conference to announce that he had made “substantial progress” on Sunday, though Trump remained under supervision to check if there was any damage to his lungs.
Despite being still contagious, Trump took a car ride outside the medical facility to wave at supporters in an airtight vehicle, designed to withstand gas attacks. This was widely criticised as it endangered the lives of the drivers and staff.
Trump left hospital on the 5th October, saying “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid.” The White House still hasn't announced whether he has had a negative test, though that hasn’t stopped him holding rallies from the White House, and now in Florida, one of the major swing states he and Biden are still fighting in. Biden leads in the overall polls by 10 points, though his lead in key states is significantly narrower, as in Florida where Biden is only 3.7 points ahead.
Trump’s disregard for the virus that has killed over 200,000 Americans has continued through his own diagnosis, announcing at his non-socially-distanced rallies; “I’ll walk in there (the audience), I’ll kiss everyone in that audience”. Masks are few and far between, and many people supported Trump’s push for stopping lockdowns. In reality, Trump received much better healthcare than most Americans, allowing a fast recovery, though his actions are still risky to himself and many others, as seen by the White House case numbers, which are currently higher than in all of New Zealand.
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