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.
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
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.
Like millions of Israelis, Sara and I are thinking of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish our friends a full and speedy recovery. https://t.co/UcxQpsxBLE
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) October 2, 2020
My husband Abraham and I offer our best wishes and aloha to President @realDonaldTrump and the First Lady @FLOTUS and praying for their speedy recovery. We also send our best wishes to Ivanka, Tiffany, Donald Trump Jr., Eric, and Barron during this difficult time. #TrumpHasCovid
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) October 2, 2020
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered his well wishes to Trump, having recovered from the virus in April.
My best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady. Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) October 2, 2020
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.
That damn hoax.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) October 2, 2020
There have also been duplicate messages of “support” offered to the Trumps by bots.
— rebelpaws #blm 🇵🇸 (@rebelpaws) October 2, 2020
Others think it is a political ploy or “fake news” as Trump says, to gain sympathy or to avoid further debates.
How much you want to bet Trump fakes catching covid-19 and then fake cures himself with hydroxychloroquine?
— Secret Agent Number Six (@DesignationSix) October 2, 2020
The hashtag #TrumpHasCovid has also been trending on Twitter with an array of reactions.
This you, mocking masks and social distancing for months? pic.twitter.com/SDaYuwY0Yf
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly 🌸 (@AynRandPaulRyan) October 2, 2020
— Serge (@SergeTheSerb) October 2, 2020
— DFG🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@1972DFG) October 2, 2020
There were even references to Joe Biden’s use of the Arabic phrase Inshallah (God Willing) during the first presidential debate.
Fun Fact: 48 hours after Biden said “Inshallah” in front of 100 million Americans, Trump got the virus.
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) October 2, 2020
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.”