Last week, Americans witnessed the result of President Donald Trump not following his own experts’ COVID-19 prevention guidance – a positive test.
Trump was not careful enough.
The president took to Twitter in the early hours of Oct. 2 to announce he and his wife Melania tested positive for the virus.
After witnessing the last several months of Trump’s presidency and his failure to acknowledge the severity of the virus, we were not surprised by his diagnosis.
Trump put himself at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 because he frequently refused to wear a mask. This goes against the advice of the CDC, which is that mask-wearing individuals protect both those around them, and themselves, from the disease.
Anti-masking is a dangerous trend, and Trump supports this unsafe practice through social media and his own behavior.
We believe wearing a mask is a sign of respect toward other people. Wearing a mask does not embarrass yourself or anyone else – all it does is show empathy toward those around you.
Even more concerning is when Trump’s diagnosis was announced – just after midnight Oct. 2.
White House physician Sean Conley said the president was “72 hours” into a COVID-19 diagnosis at a press conference Oct. 3. Conley’s statement means Trump first tested positive sometime Sept. 30 – less than a day after his debate with Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Conley later corrected his statement, and said he meant to say “three days” into a diagnosis.
Either way, the public was informed of Trump’s COVID-19 case later than they should have been.
This lack of information is especially important because the president was in close proximity to several groups of people the week prior to his announcement and subsequent hospitalization.
The New York Times published an article which contact-traced who was with Trump during those critical days.
The Times revealed the president potentially spread COVID-19 to thousands of people: from close aides and White House staff, to attendees at several rallies across the country, and to guests at the Rose Garden nomination ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett – Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice.
Although many tested negative, several political figures and White House staffers on that list tested positive around the time Trump announced his diagnosis.
It is also important to note that it can take up to two weeks to receive a positive test result, according to the CDC. As of today, we have only known about Trump’s diagnosis for a week, and other positives may start rolling in during the days to come.
After testing positive for the virus, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted on Oct. 5, “No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House medical unit.”
Since that tweet, several White House correspondents as well as McEnany have tested positive.
When he should have been setting an example by following proper practices to prevent spreading the virus, our president instead demonstrated exactly what not to do.
His unmasked behavior and insistence on participating in large gatherings resulted in his creation of a super-spreader event.
It exemplifies how quickly the SARS-CoV-2 virus can spread when CDC guidelines are not followed, and reveals how long people with COVID-19 can carry the virus before displaying symptoms, if they have any at all.
It is not possible to make a definitive statement about how long Trump could have been contagious with COVID-19 because information was not provided confirming when he first tested positive.
Despite being moved to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center over the weekend,
two Secret Service agents drove Trump around for him to wave at supporters Oct. 4. This placed two more people at risk of contracting COVID-19 from a known carrier.
It might not be possible for the president’s actions to become any more careless, but Trump seems to defy the impossible.
The biggest takeaway from the past week is that nobody is safe – especially those who ignore the safety recommendations laid out in front of us – including the president.
COVID-19 does not discriminate – whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, white or Black, a middle class citizen or yes, even the president – the COVID-19 pandemic is a danger to us all and we must all treat it as such.