President Trump and First Lady Melania Contract Coronavirus
By: Margaret Pham
On the evening of October 1st, President Trump tweeted from Washington “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Shortly after one of his top advisors Hope Hicks, who had been travelling with Trump recently tested positive as well, the President and First Lady confirmed testing positive.
Their contracting of COVID comes after weeks of campaigning around the country where face mask-wearing was not mandated. Particularly, one week ago, at the official nomination of Amy Coney Barret to the U.S. Supreme Court, more than 100 people gathered at the White House Rose Garden, and less than half of the attendees decided to forgo their masks. At the initial outdoor gathering, social distancing was not practiced as guests mingled close together, hugging and embracing each other jovially. Shortly after, guests continued the celebration indoors.
Since then, at least 8 people who attended have tested positive for COVID: senators, advisors, managers, and even clergy. Namely, Kellyanne Conway, former senior advisor of the president and a member of the preparation team for the presidential debates a few nights ago tested positive. News of which was announced by her daughter, Claudia Conway, the 15 year old media sensation on the widely popular app, TikTok. Next to announce positive was GOP Senator Mike Lee of Utah, seen hugging and kissing guests at the Rose Garden event, also without a mask. His announcement over Twitter, “Like so many Utahns, I will now spend part of 2020 working from home… I will remain isolated for the next 10 days.” Per the CDC recommendations online, those who have tested positive should isolate for “at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication”. Senator Tom Tillis (R-N.C.) has also tested positive despite wearing a mask during the ceremony, further exemplifying the effectiveness of mask-wearing and the importance of all parties to maintain the safety of all. Currently proceeding with the confirmation of Barrett, if there continues to be more COVID diagnoses from the Judiciary Committee, like Lee and Tillis, there is no doubt it could delay or at least impact the already tight timeline of Barrett’s confirmation as the nation moves closer to the election. As of this morning, both New Jersey and Governor Chris Christie and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson have also tested positive, both present at the Rose Garden last week.
Among other officials that attended the gathering at the Rose Garden was Reverend John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame University, where the campus has faced multiple difficulties combatting off campus parties and nearly a thousand positive cases on campus. His statement includes that he “regrets his error in judgement” to forgo a mask while attending. Friday night, subsequent positive tests followed: Trump’s campaign managers, Bill Stepien and Kimberly Guilfoyle as well as the National Security advisor, Robert O’ Brien.
The President is currently residing at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center while First Lady Melania convalesce and quarantines back at home. Barron Trump, their son, had tested negative for COVID. At a press conference given by White House physician Dr. Sean Conley, President Trump has maintained normal vitals, has not needed any supplemental oxygen, no longer has a fever, and his liver and cardiac functions are performing normally. He expects the president to “continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering” in the Presidential wing of the Walter Reed Medical Center. With the nation’s top pulmonary physicians behind him, the Walter Reed Medical Center continues to assure the nation the President is under the best care and doing well despite mild symptoms.
While Vice President Mike Pence and his wife have tested negative, they wish the POTUS a safe and speedy recovery. Unfortunately, the president has faced very sharp criticism for his handling of the pandemic since the beginning. From denying the scale and danger and refusing to wear a mask until recently to even sparring with skepticism towards national health experts, many critics are not expressing much remorse. In fact, during these past few weeks, President Trump has continued travelling for his campaign rallies where mask-wearing is not mandated and even rare. Most notably, in the first Presidential debate on Tuesday, he even criticized Joe Biden for wearing masks, “He could be speaking 200 feet away from it, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen”. Joe and Jill Biden have since tested negative, per his tweet last night as well as using this to “serve as a reminder: wear a mask, keep a social distance, and wash your hands”, a reminder to treat COVID as the serious infectious disease that it is.
Surmounting with the recent American milestone reaching 1 million cases of COVID and over 200,000 dead across the nation, seeing world leaders contract the Corona Virus throughout the year is very much sobering. Earlier this year, leaders like Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Boris Johnson, President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro also tested positive. Shortly afterwards, the Presidents of Bolivia, Honduras, Guatemala, and Prime Ministers of Armenia and Russia tested positive. Many of these leaders have had to fight for their lives, like Boris Johnson, where he spent three nights in the ICU. As these leaders continue to contract the virus, the world is called to a more sobering tone and it is emblematic of just how this relentless virus does not even exempt the most powerful world leaders. Perhaps as those who have denied the severity of COVID continue to test positive, it will continue reminding everyone to practice safe social distancing and mask wearing. Proving that these methods are the most effective way to avoid contracting this highly infectious disease that leaves no exceptions.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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