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Trump, Melania test positive for COVID-19

October 2, 2020 at 1:15 pm

US President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump (R) in Washington, DC on 20 September 2019 [Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency]

US President Donald Trump has announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19 and that both are now self-isolating.

The diagnosis comes hours after a top White House aide, Hope Hicks, was diagnosed with the virus yesterday. There is speculation that the virus has already spread among Trump’s inner circle.

Trump and many of his entourage have refused to wear a mask in public, doing so on only a few occasions. Trump and Hicks have travelled together on Air Force One several times over the last week, before testing positive, Hicks was also seen without a face mask as she boarded Marine One on Wednesday.

During Tuesday’s debate with Democrat nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Melania was spotted wearing a white mask, but no other member of the Trump family in attendance was taking the same measure.

There have been varied reactions as the news proliferated on social media, ranging from sympathy and prayers to criticism and mocking over Trump’s open sceptic attitude to the virus.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered his well wishes to Trump, having recovered from the virus in April.

READ: Biden to Trump: ‘Inshallah’ we’ll see your tax returns 

Others were less sympathetic and reminded Trump of his earlier dismissive views that COVID-19 was a “hoax” or that it could potentially be treated using disinfectants.

There have also been duplicate messages of “support” offered to the Trumps by bots.

Others think it is a political ploy or “fake news” as Trump says, to gain sympathy or to avoid further debates.

The hashtag #TrumpHasCovid has also been trending on Twitter with an array of reactions.

There were even references to Joe Biden’s use of the Arabic phrase Inshallah (God Willing) during the first presidential debate.

According to CDC statistics, patients aged between 65 and 74 are five times more likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19 than someone aged 18 to 29. However, Professor Christine Jenkins, head of the respiratory group at the George Institute for Global Health, said it was difficult to predict what Trump’s chances of being admitted to intensive care or surviving the virus were.

“Early on we thought if you had COVID, were admitted to intensive care and over 70, you had only a 40-to-50% chance of survival,” Jenkins said. “Today, those figures are not that bad, and we have had study results come out with promising findings about treatments for people who do become severely unwell, such as the drug dexamethasone.”

READ: Twitter removes Iran-linked accounts during US debate