Trump tested positive for COVID-19, and was hospitalized for a few days. Over the next days, some of his political associates also tested positive, some were hospitalized or self-quarantined. This included many who had recently attended a reception for his Supreme Court nominee, with no social distancing and few masks. Others had been with him in the White House preparing for the debate – also probably with no social distancing and no masks.
Even after he had first exhibited symptoms, Trump continued his meetings, exposing more people. His supporters and some of his staff followed his lead. After they had been exposed, they didn’t quarantine, including VP Pence. Instead, many continued to work, usually unmasked, like press secretary Kayleigh McEnany who, when she knew that she had tested positive, met with reporters, only later announcing the fact. While in the hospital, Trump ordered that he be driven around the hospital so he could wave to his supporters, exposing hospital staff and secret service members. Upon his early release from the hospital, he walked up the steps to the White House, waved and took off his mask.
This was to be expected, since Trump has shown a total disregard for basic scientific evidence about this virus. He has made his anti-scientific, anti-mask attitude a supposed “show of strength” and a political line in the sand. He has refused to wear a mask or social-distance, holding large rallies with thousands of people and even large indoor meetings.
He has prevented the CDC’s (the Center for Disease Control) from carrying out its normal reporting of information and issuing scientifically-based recommendations. As as result, there have been confusing and often inaccurate recommendations from government officials, leaving people without a clear view of the nature and symptoms of the virus or what they should do.
The impact of his views and his administration’s policies or lack of policies have had deadly, tragic, and unnecessary consequences. In addition to the more than 210,000 deaths, nearly 7,500,000 people in the U.S. have reported to have been infected. Many of them are reporting long-lasting negative effects of the illness. And the impact of the virus on the economy has left millions unemployed, without sufficient food and fearing evictions.
Trump’s denial of the impact of the virus and claims of “fake news” have been aimed at turning the anger of people who have been laid off, had their small businesses closed and are in a situation where they cannot work because their children are home and not in school, against these who want to impose health restrictions to save lives. Meanwhile those he really represents, the billionaires, have been raking in their profits.
Trump and others connected to him have encouraged people not to wear a mask as a stand for freedom and individual rights. Risking infecting people is a matter of personal choice for them. This is a denial of everything known about containing infectious diseases. But when Mr. “no-mask” Trump got sick, he got the best care available, a staff of how many doctors and nurses and other hospital staff? In addition, he was treated with the most advanced therapeutics available – Remdesivir, Dexamethasone and the experimental REGN-COV2, which are not available to most people. Trump continues to say that people “should not be afraid of covid.” The families and friends of the more than 1,000,000 who have died worldwide do not agree.
There is one reality for Trump and another for his supporters. One gets healthcare and another doesn’t. One has been supported through the economic crisis and the other faces unemployment. One makes the decisions while the other does the work. And who benefits? Certainly not Trump’s supporters. The combination of this virus and Trump’s horrific performance have exposed the sick and deadly functioning of this capitalist system.