What is the impact of Donald Trump being infected with coronavirus in the elections – US and Canada – International


The “October surprise” is a term used in the US to describe a last-minute, high-impact event that can alter the course of a presidential campaign.

And although the month still has many days to go, there is no doubt that the positive diagnosis for covid-19 that both Donald Trump and his wife, Melania received on Friday, meets, and to spare, all the requirements that frame this particular concept of American politics.(Also read: ‘I feel much better’: Trump, after being transferred to a hospital).

The reasons are obvious. With only four weeks to go before the elections, the fact that one of the two candidates for the White House has contracted a dangerous disease, which can be fatal, is quite a bomb even for a race that was already extraordinary and whose outcome continues more than uncertain.

For now the whole country is focused on the health of the president, who is in the Walter Reed military hospital (Bethesda, Maryland), where he was admitted for “precaution” on Friday, according to the White House.

Even his fiercest rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden, immediately sympathized with Trump and his family, wishing them a speedy recovery.

(See also: Messages from Kim Jong-un and other leaders to Trump after getting infected).

And, most likely, Trump’s illness will translate into a kind of truce between the campaigns while the situation is resolved.

At least from Biden’s perspective, it would be a strategic mistake to attack a president who is in poor health and so it is anticipated that he will change his tone going forward as the president comes out of this impasse.

Of course, the course of this race will depend a lot on the evolution of Trump’s medical team. If the president ends up suffering from a mild version of COVID-19, as it happens in 99 percent of cases, in two weeks it will be an issue and the campaign could quickly return to its natural course.(See: In the middle of the campaign, Trump dispatches from a hospital).

But if the picture gets complicated – and it’s a probability given Trump’s age of 74 – its political ramifications could be entirely different.

It is clear, from the outset, that the disease will have concrete effects in the short term. Trump, for example, already had to cancel all campaign events scheduled for the next few daysas it must remain in quarantine for at least two weeks.

Likewise, the next presidential debate with Biden, which was scheduled for October 15, was on the air, unless it is done virtually. Something that is not unreasonable in times of the coronavirus, but that would pose a huge challenge for the organizers.

And it remains to be seen how many more people in Trump’s circle also contracted the disease. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly tested negative, as did Vice President Mike Pence.(Read: The effect of Trump’s contagion on world stock markets).

But at least five other people in her environment are known to have tested positive. And it could be many more because the president, probably already carrying the coronavirus, traveled on Thursday in his plane to New Jersey with almost 100 people and was in contact with dozens more.

Biden’s situation is also uncertain. The former vice president had planned a series of face-to-face events starting this Monday with the idea of ​​injecting a little emotion into a campaign that has suffered from the strict social distancing that it has maintained compared to that of a Trump who has ignored the recommendations of doctors and scientists.

But the president’s diagnosis could upset those plans. It would not be well seen, for example, that Biden ends up doing the same thing that he criticized so much and whose consequences are already evident.

Be that as it may, there are two narratives that could emerge from this new crisis.
The first is that the coronavirus will once again be the axis of this electoral campaign at least in the short term. And that, on paper, is not something that suits Trump.(See also: This is what is known about Donald Trump’s covid-19 contagion.)

Since the virus broke into the United States in February this year, the president has tried to minimize its effect, despite the fact that there are already more than 200,000 deaths in the country and 7 million infected. An issue that became more relevant a few weeks ago, when journalist Bob Woodward published an interview with the president in which he acknowledges that the virus spreads easily and is five times more lethal than influenza.

Trump has also disparaged the use of masks and social distancing to the point of mocking Biden for wearing masks almost permanently. And many of his followers have taken his words as a challenge to the recommendations of experts who insist that masks and distance remain the best antidote to the disease.

(We recommend: Strong shock in the dollar due to Trump’s covid contagion).

That the president of the United States himself contracted the virus despite all the security protocols that exist around him to protect him shows that no one is safe, that his attitude could have put hundreds of thousands of people at risk and that the virus is more alive than ever.

Especially if more infections continue to be confirmed in the White House, where the policy is not to wear masks, and from people who were in contact with the president this week. Further, Trump’s contagion occurs when the numbers of those infected by coronavirus have begun to grow again throughout the country and there is already talk of a “second wave”.

That despite the fact that the president himself said Thursday that the end of the pandemic was just around the corner hours before he learned that he himself suffered from the disease.

“No one should wish Trump or his family ill, but his illness should not excuse his irresponsibility. His actions make it clear that he is only interested in his well-being, and very little that of others, ”Jennifer Rubin, a columnist for The Washington Post and critic of Trump, said Friday.

(You may be interested: Who is Hope Hicks, Trump’s adviser who was infected with covid-19?).

The other idea is that the president could even emerge stronger from his impasse. If you recover quickly and without major consequences, your aura of invulnerability and the thesis that covid-19 is not as serious as it is painted could grow.

Furthermore, some say, it would benefit from the public’s tendency to surround its president in times of crisis. As happened with the cases of President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil or Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom, where his popularity soared after the diagnosis of covid-19.

But in the United States, that remains to be seen given the extreme polarization environment. In fact,

Nobody knows. The only thing clear for now is that the United States and its presidential campaign entered an unknown dimension where anything, even the most insane, seems possible.

Remdesivir therapy

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, began this Friday night a therapy with the antiviral remdesivir against the covid-19 after being admitted to a military hospital, the White House reported. “The president is very well. It does not require additional oxygen, but in consultation with specialists we have chosen to start therapy with remdesivir. He has completed his first dose, ”explained Presidential Physician Sean Conley. Trump received remdesivir after he was given an eight-gram dose of the experimental antibody cocktail from drugmaker Regeneron earlier that day at the White House. According to local media, the president experienced a mild fever and fatigue.

EL TIEMPO correspondent
En Twitter: @ sergom68

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