Trump Tests Positive for Coronavirus


Erin Schaff/The New York Times

With less than a month until Election Day, Trump’s positive test result poses significant challenges to his campaign.

Sarah Bryden, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The nation was thrown into turmoil overnight as President Trump announced that both he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning turn of events which throws America’s future—already upended by the pandemic—into even greater uncertainty.

This afternoon, Trump was transported to the Walter Reed National Medical Military Center, where he will be hospitalized “for the next for days.” There, he is receiving Regeneron’s experimental antibody cocktail and is “fatigued but in good spirits,” according to White House physician Sean Conley.

Trump’s diagnosis carries with it a deep sense of irony: for months, he has downplayed the virus and scorned the advice of scientists. On Thursday night, just hours before releasing the news via tweet, Trump claimed that “the end of the pandemic is in sight,” and on Tuesday’s debate, he mocked Biden for wearing a mask, proudly saying,  “I don’t wear masks like him.”

As early as March, the president said “I wanted to always play it down… I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Yet as of October, the virus has claimed more than 207,000 Americans, and many resent Trump’s cavalier attitude. Junior Charlotte Andrews explained that “over the past few months, Trump and his administration have been very passive about effectively controlling the virus, and although it is terrible that more people have gotten sick, maybe now that the pandemic has directly affected him and his loved ones, it will prompt him to take more action and treat the pandemic more seriously.”

Despite Trump’s disregard for the danger of the virus, research indicates that his health is in serious jeopardy. The president is 74 years old, which makes him fives times more likely to be hospitalized and 90 times more likely to die than a younger adult, according to the CDC. Additionally, Trump may be officially obese, which places him in another high-risk category.

At 50, Melania Trump is at a lower risk of hospitalization or death than her husband, and according to Conley she “remains well with only a mild cough and headache.”

It is unclear how the president’s diagnosis will affect his 2020 campaign, but with only 32 days until the November 3rd election, even with a swift recovery, he will lose much campaign time; he has already withdrawn from the campaign trail for the foreseeable future. If his condition worsens, it will raise questions about whether he should be included on the ballot at all.

Should President Trump become medically incapacitated, the 25th Amendment allows him the option of temporarily transferring power to Vice President Pence, then reclaiming it when he deems himself fit for duty. Since its 1967 ratification, presidents have invoked the amendment three times: in 1985, 2002, and 2007, the respective incumbents turned over power to their vice presidents after undergoing colonoscopies.  

Ultimately, says senior Catie Manning, “this news reinforces the necessity of both wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines. No one is immune and no one is above the rules, whether on a national level or here at HHS.”

These sentiments were echoed today by Joe Biden, who tested negative for the virus this morning and wished the Trumps a swift recovery: “Wearing a mask is not only going to protect you, but it also protects those around you. Your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, husband, wife, neighbor, co-worker. Don’t just do it for yourself. Do it for the people you love, the people you work with.”