Despite his bravado, coronavirus dominates Trump’s election campaign

“He’s still infectious, and it will take around two weeks for him to clear the virus naturally,” Dr Ali Fattom, a prominent vaccine research expert, after President Donald Trump posed on a White House balcony on Tuesday, Oct. 6, removed his mask and declared he had overcome the coronavirus – “and you can too.”

While he is no longer in hospital, his doctor has said he “may not entirely be out of the woods yet.” The World Health Organization says it is too early to know if people who have recovered from Covid-19 are protected from a second infection, and if so, how long this protection might last. The president’s own medical team does not consider him recovered.

Although discharged from a three-night stay in hospital, Trump, declaring he was better and “may even be immune,” will need to continue treatment. He is still undergoing a five-day course of the intravenous antiviral drug remdesivir and will have to isolate himself for a time. Doctors have been treating him also with a steroid, dexamethasone, that is normally used only in the most severe cases.

Back from hospital, Trump urged the nation, after coronavirus killed more than 210,00 Americans, not to fear the virus or let it dominate their lives. This week, however, his press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, along with two assistants and three White House journalists were the latest to test positive. So did three Republican senators in the past week. Notwithstanding Trump’s show of bravado, the political spotlight remains firmly on the pandemic. With the presidential election less than a month away, its outcome will certainly be impacted – if not dominated – by his administration’s response to the covid plague – even though his main rival, the Democratic nominee Joe Biden, refrained from exploiting Trump’s infection and performance for an all-out offensive.

Biden simply chided Trump for downplaying the severity of coronavirus, saying there is “a lot to be concerned about.” The president should be communicating the “right lessons” on masks and social distancing, he said.

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