In recent weeks, the White House has seen several positive COVID-19 cases that have impacted President Donald Trump and other government officials.
According to an ABC News report, 34 White House officials have been infected with COVID-19.
“It just seems like total chaos,” said William Myers, assistant professor of political science at The University of Tampa. “They’ve just been living in some kind of fantasyland and now the bubble has popped and no one knows what to do.”
A week after testing positive for the coronavirus disease, the White House physician, Sean Conley, cleared Donald Trump to resume in-person events.
The second presidential debate was set to take place in-person on Thursday, Oct. 15, but due to concerns that Trump might still be contagious around that time, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced that the debate would be held virtually.
Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate, and the debate has been cancelled.
In regard to the state of Trump’s health, the White House has not yet disclosed if Trump has returned a negative COVID-19 test since being released from the hospital, so whether or not Trump is still contagious is undetermined.
“From what other experts keep saying, it’s way too early to know whether or not he’s going to be okay,” said Myers.
After being released from the hospital and returning to the White House on Monday, Oct. 5, Trump removed his mask as he stood on the balcony, an action that raised concern among some.
“It’s so conflicting because he’s sending out tweets and videos on Twitter saying that now he gets it and he understands how serious it is,” said Myers. “Then as soon as he gets in front of people, he takes the mask off and he’s still contagious. It’s beyond reckless and scary.”
Some also feel that the removal of his mask may have conveyed the wrong message to the United States of America.
“Trump removing his mask was such an inappropriate response in my opinion,” said Avery Costa, senior English major. “This tells Americans that wearing masks means nothing and devalues all the hard work and research health professionals have done so far to enforce masks to prevent COVID-19.”
In a recent video, Trump has referred to his COVID-19 diagnosis as a “blessing in disguise,” a statement that led some to reflect on the efficiency or lack thereof in his leadership.
“People die from this virus,” said Costa, “Family, friends, strangers, and so many people have died from COVID-19 becuase of the neglect Trump has provided from the very beginning about the seriousness of this virus. How insensitive is that to disregard the struggles and pain of surviving families who have lost people because of COVID-19?”
According to Olivia Goodloe, communication and public relations double major, Trump might have initially thought he was invincible, but since he is the president she feels he has to take extra precaution.
Within the same video, Trump mentioned that he was treated with Regeneron, an antibody cocktail, that he believes will cure COVID-19. In addition, he wants all Americans to receive the treatment as well.
“He is delusional,” said Costa. “He paid millions of dollars for his hospital treatment. The average American can’t even afford a trip to the ER. He has no sympathy for anyone in this country and he never has a clue what is going on.”
The president has boasted about pushing the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to quickly develop a vaccine for COVID-19, but there are some concerns that pushing for a vaccine for a new virus may be a problem.
According to Meyers, speeding up the process of drug production could potentially cause unknown side effects or create greater problems for those who end up taking the drugs.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has led some to question the leadership and proactiveness of the Trump administration.
“The fact that this country is still holding itself together, and still voting, and still going to work every day, and still trying to lead our lives is a testament to our resilience in the face of this administration’s gross negligence and incompetence,” said Myers.
Although many are against the actions and decisions of Trump and his administration, not everyone disagrees with what they have done and are continuing to do.
“I think him contracting the coronavirus disease and his ability to get over it so quickly could show a lot of people his strength,” said Sydney Salatto, junior communication major and social media director for UT’s College Republicans organization. “That could work to his advantage.”
Salatto believes that Trump has remained transparent throughout the course of his presidency.
“One thing I like about Trump, and of course a lot of people disagree, is the way he speaks and his informality,” said Salatto. “I think it is a good thing that he wants Americans to receive the same treatment as him. It puts him on the same level with us, like we should be treated the same way that he gets treated.”