Thunderclap in the United States. After being tested positive for COVID-19, President Donald Trump received experimental treatment and then was hospitalized. Yet another twist in this presidential campaign which took an epic turn in the middle of the night on Friday when Donald Trump announced that he, like his wife, has COVID-19. An illness he trivialized, then taunted, but which caught up with him a month before the vote plunging both his campaign and the entire country in uncertainty.
The 74-year-old, head of the world’s largest power, “continues to suffer from fatigue, but is in high spirits,” his doctor Sean Conley said Friday afternoon. Due to his advanced age and overly prominent waistline, the billionaire, who does not pay taxes, is at risk of developing complications.
“As a measure of extreme caution,” the president was hospitalized “for a few days,” spokesman Kayleigh McEnany said, assuring that Donald Trump would continue to serve as president from the hospital. In early Friday evening, the president flew from the White House aboard the Marine One helicopter to the Walter Reed Military Hospital in suburban Washington. Just before his departure, Donald Trump transmitted a short video in which he mentions, in a standing position, “I think I’m doing very well”.
A little earlier in the day, the 45e President of the United States received an experimental treatment, an injection of a cocktail of synthetic antibodies developed by biotechnology company Regeneron. A treatment crowned with encouraging results, although very preliminary, which would reduce the viral load in infected patients.
Wear the mask or not
It is this man, who leads the most bereaved country in the world with 207,000 deaths linked to COVID, who endlessly minimized the pandemic, who laughed at those wearing a mask and who multiplied the partisan rallies simply because it seemed to have decided so, no matter what scientists think.
An irony that was sweet to emphasize on Friday for his opponent, Democrat Joe Biden. After testing negative for COVID in the morning, the former vice president under Barack Obama continued his planned campaign trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan. After mentioning that he “prayed” for the “speedy and full recovery” of the presidential couple, the 77-year-old said under his surgical mask: “This is not about playing hard. It’s about taking part in the collective effort. […] This is not a question of politics. “A snub, coated with a bit of morality, in reference to the president’s repeatedly repeated choice not to wear a mask and to ignore public health recommendations.
The two, who are leading a campaign to say the least acrimonious and childish, crossed paths on Tuesday evening during the first presidential debate on November 3. Several Republican figures have since received a positive diagnosis for COVID. This is particularly the case of Party President Ronna McDaniel and Senator Mike Lee. Then Thursday night, we learned that Hope Hicks, one of Donald Trump’s closest advisers, who travels with him, had contracted COVID-19.
Several of the infected Republican figures were at the White House on Saturday for the presentation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, appointed to the Supreme Court by Donald Trump. The ceremony was held in the open air, but the guests did not wear masks and did not observe the rules of physical distancing.
For the next few days, Trump’s advisers did not wear masks during working sessions for the debate, one of the group members, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie confirmed. During the oratorical contest, members of the Trump family, including Melania, removed their masks. Jill Biden, the Democratic candidate’s wife, had kept hers.
When shut down for a minimum of 14 days, the Republican president will no longer be able to campaign and the next debate on October 15 between the two presidential candidates is very uncertain. Donald Trump’s vice president and running mate Mike Pence, who tested negative for COVID, will take over from the Republican campaign on the ground.
Sympathy and taunts
News of the real estate mogul’s positive diagnosis ignited social media on Friday, where sympathetic comments and taunts abounded throughout the day full of twists and turns.
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“I find it horrible to see so many Democratic voters wishing for his death on social media. It disgusts me, ”said Catherine, 62, met by The duty in Bloomfield, a suburb of Detroit. “Donald Trump is as strong as a horse. He will fight and he will come out of it stronger than ever. He’ll be able to say to everyone, ‘I got it, I didn’t die, you will be the same,’ “said Jerry Lintz, 58.
Several Republican activists gathered in Bloomfield on Friday for a speech by John James, Michigan’s only black Republican candidate running for senatorial post. “I don’t think wearing a mask would have protected him from the virus. It’s proven that masks are useless. Trump is in good health, I have no fear, ”said John Unruh, 70.
Further east, in New York, Democratic supporters said they were not surprised at the president’s positive diagnosis. “He didn’t take the virus seriously […] You can’t play with this virus, you have to wear the mask, ”Alex Flores, 24, told AFP. “He’s a human being anyway, I wish him the best,” but “I hope people will understand that [l’épidémie] is serious and that the mask is really necessary, ”said Christian Persaud, 19.
On the diplomatic scene, messages of support for President Trump have poured in from all corners of the globe. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is confident that his counterpart’s “optimism” and “vitality” will help him defeat the virus. “Stay strong,” French President Emmanuel Macron said. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said “he sincerely hopes he will recover as soon as possible”, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished his “friend” Donald Trump and his wife “A speedy recovery and good health”. Former President Barack Obama also sent his “best wishes” for recovery to his successor. In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also joined the ball in wishing Donald Trump and his wife “a speedy recovery. […] as they did for Sophie several months ago when she was diagnosed with COVID-19. “
The next few hours and days will now be crucial for the man in command of the most powerful country on the planet.
With Agence France-Presse