Image courtesy of Patrick Semansy, AP.
By: Alyssa Walrad
The first presidential debate of 2020 came and went, and millions of Americans nationwide were left wondering what to make of the candidates. Yet despite the chaos, the talk of the town is all about the latest presidential development: President Donald Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Trump was admitted to Walter Reed medical center on Oct. 2 after testing positive for COVID-19, just days after the Rose Garden gathering where he publicly nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As of Oct. 5, 11 of 18 administrative personnel have also tested positive, all of whom were infected at the assembly on Sept. 26.
Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s personal physician, has addressed reporters daily since the president’s arrival. On multiple occasions, when addressed, Conley stated the president had “not been on supplemental oxygen.” Trump had received oxygen twice since his admittance, according to Conley, who dodged questions in order to “maintain the upbeat attitude the team, the president, had. I didn’t want to give any information that may steer the course of illness in another direction,” Conley said.
The statement was reminiscent of Trump’s national response, or lack thereof, to COVID-19. American journalist Bob Woodward leaked recordings from interviews conducted back in February with Trump, in which Trump stated he “wanted to always play it down,” referring to the pandemic, to avoid creating “a panic.”
Trump returned to the White House Monday evening and will continue to receive “world class medical care 24/7,” Dr. Conley said. Upon returning, Trump had a much needed photo-op to maintain his “strong” image, in which he removed his mask in front of reporters.
He had tweeted that he was “looking forward to the debate on the evening of Thursday, October 15th in Miami” against former Vice President Joe Biden, despite warnings from medical experts. But The Commission on Presidential Debates subsequently announced that the event would be conducted virtually “for the health and safety of all involved,” and Trump responded by declaring he would not attend. As a result, there will be no debate on Oct. 15; the final presidential debate is scheduled to occur on Oct. 22, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.
To date, over 210,000 Americans have died from COVID-related complications and over 50,000 have been diagnosed. Trump’s ability to receive a variety of treatments that no other citizen would be able to, coupled with his lack of empathy over the last eight months to the hundreds of thousands that have passed, has aroused a care-free attitude from the president, stating Americans should “not be afraid of COVID” and to “not let it dominate your life,” resulting in serious backlash from survivors of the pandemic and the thousands of others mourning those who they have lost.