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Saturday, October 24, 2020

US Election Wrap, October 6: Trump’s health condition continues to dominate news cycles

Early morning on October 5, after hours of staying away from Twitter, Trump began publishing a series of tweets, with no coherence or clarity, where he appeared to praise his own administration and urged people to vote, but presumably for him.

By: Express Web Desk | Kolkata | Updated: October 6, 2020 9:51:01 pm
US elections 2020 LIVE updates: Second presidential debate officially cancelled; Trump to resume campaigningThe second presidential debate was formally canceled late Friday after President Donald Trump refused to participate in a virtual event, the latest sign of the upheaval that the coronavirus has wrought on the 2020 campaign. (Reuters)

In less than a month, the United States will decide on whom they want as their next president, but it is Donald Trump’s health condition that has dominated news cycles since this past weekend after the White House acknowledged that Trump had tested positive for Covid-19.

Early morning on October 5, after hours of staying away from Twitter, Trump began publishing a series of tweets, with no coherence or clarity, where he appeared to praise his own administration and urged people to vote, but presumably for him.

Later, Trump took to Twitter to address the criticism that he had garnered for stepping out of Walter Reed Hospital to greet his supporters while infected with coronavirus, exposing others to the infection, particularly Secret Service agents seated inside the vehicle with him. The New York Times has more on this story: https://nyti.ms/33zXSXV

Trump later announced that he would be leaving the hospital and that he was “feeling good”, telling his audience: “Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!” His decision to leave the hospital and then to remove his face mask during an announcement at the White House was criticized and branded “irresponsible” but analysts in the United States. A CNN analysis said that the president appeared to be |strongly medicated” and called his return to the White House “bizarre” and his announcement that there was “nothing to fear from Covid-19” a “reckless” step.

Reports had suggested that advisors had recommended that Trump stay on for a few more days in the hospital, to which the president did not pay any heed. The CNN analysis can be read here: https://cnn.it/34uE8UH

Trump left the hospital after only a four-day stay, which coincided with observers claiming that his condition was more serious than the White House was letting on. On the sidelines, Minnesota officials have been trying to contact trace people who had attended Trump’s campaign events there last week. Bloomberg suggested that despite Trump’s diagnosis, the president is still moving ahead with his plans to engage in a debate with Joe Biden in the run-up to the election in November.

After reaching the White House on Monday evening, Trump removed his face mask and addressed TV cameras. Some social media users who analysed broadcast videos from the White House said that Trump looked unwell, and in visible discomfort, indicating that he perhaps wasn’t out of the woods and may have been experiencing difficulties in breathing, a side-effect of coronavirus. In a tweet on the same day, Trump claimed that he was feeling “better than (he) did 20 years ago”, but it may have just been him presenting false bravado.

The New York Times reported that Trump’s attempts to downplay the severity of coronavirus had left public health experts outraged; the United States is among the countries worst affected by Covid-19 infections. According to the Times, medical professionals have called the president’s remarks “dangerous” and “utterly irresponsible. The report also quoted Americans who had experienced difficulties in getting tested and treated for the infections, to put the difficulties of ordinary citizens into perspective. Read the New York Times story here: https://nyti.ms/34vlnAE

More White House staff and those who have come in close contact with Trump’s circle are slowly discovering that they have been infected with coronavirus. For months, the White House had been criticised for violating public health protocols and Covid-19 safety measures. Most recently, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany announced she was positive. In her statement, McEnany said her results were positive “after testing negatively”, in what critics say was an attempt to evade responsibility for her failure to wear a mask despite Trump’s diagnosis and having been in proximity to him and his other staff members. The Guardian has more: https://bit.ly/3iBYYGS

Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak in the White House may affect him during the elections, the CNN believes. “Among likely voters, 57% say they back Biden and 41% Trump in the poll that was conducted entirely after the first debate and mostly after the President’s coronavirus infection was made public,” CNN reported. The poll analysis can be read here: https://cnn.it/34wj5B8

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