Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis allows the spread of more misinformation about the virus

By Lexi Meola

Elm Staff Writer

On Oct. 2, President Donald Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. This came during ongoing accusations from many Americans that Trump and his administration had been downplaying the virus since March.

ABC News reported that aside from the president and the first lady, 34 White House staffers and allies of Trump have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Oct. 7. This includes Trump’s youngest son, Barron Trump, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and others who attended a nomination ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in the White House rose garden where almost no one in attendance wore masks.

While much of the world sent their condolences to those in the White House affected by COVID-19, many were not shocked by the news that Trump contracted the virus, especially considering how reckless he had been before his diagnosis. One of those who was unsurprised by Trump’s diagnosis was Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation…no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask,” Dr. Fauci said on CBS’s 60 Minutes. 

Even after contracting the virus, Trump has continued to hold massive rallies across the United States as COVID-19 cases continue to spike. These rallies often do not follow the White House’s health guidelines for COVID-19 prevention. CNN reports that these events do not require masks or social distancing and have little to no contact tracing. 

Trump’s diagnosis forced him to suspend his campaigning one month prior to the election — not an ideal challenge for any campaign to face, least of all during a presidential election. The campaign made up for lost time by scheduling back-to-back rallies to take place throughout the upcoming weeks. Trump’s diagnosis also caused the second presidential debate to be cancelled.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is near. We are rounding the turn,” Trump said to supporters on Oct. 16 at an event in Fort Myers, Fla. “Don’t listen to the cynics and angry partisans and pessimists.”

The medical and scientific communities have denied this claim, as the Center for Disease Control reported the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. to have broken eight million. 

On the other hand, the Biden campaign has worked on keeping their campaign programs safe, following all CDC guidelines. On multiple occasions, Biden has emphasized that the country is not flattening the curve due to Trump’s inept leadership.

These two opposing thoughts on COVID-19 containment will lead to an interesting third and final presidential debate, which will be held on Oct. 22 and will be moderated by NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker. 

Featured Photo caption: Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci has criticized President Donald Trump’s lack of caution surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Courtesy of Flickr.

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