On October 1st, Donald and Melania Trump were diagnosed with COVID-19, just over a month from the most volatile election in recent memory. Following President Trump’s tweet announcing his diagnosis, media outlets were filled with breaking news, controversies, and jokes as the news spread and other White House officials tested positive.
COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the US. As of October 9th, 318,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease, and 9,207 have died. This includes 2,776 cases and 34 deaths in one day. Nationwide, the US currently houses 7.71 million cases and 214,000 deaths. These numbers put the US is the #1 spot for COVID cases, with India in #2, Brazil in #3, and Russia in #4.
Trump first announced news of his diagnosis on Twitter at 11:54pm on October 1st, saying, “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” This tweet got 415.1K retweets and 1.8M likes. This news came shortly after the announcement that advisor Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus. The day after, Trump was transferred to Walter Reed Medical Center, where he underwent experimental treatment. Kayleigh McEnany, the White House Press Secretary, announced that the visit was due to “an abundance of caution” as the president faced “mild symptoms.” These events ironically occurred after Trump had mocked Joe Biden for wearing a mask at the presidential debate, saying Biden would wear a giant mask if he was 200 feet away from another person.
According to Trump and his doctors, the president has made a speedy recovery. On October 3rd, a day after his admittance to the hospital, Trump tweeted, “Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!! Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!” Just two days after the previous tweet, he announced, “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. 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!”
Additionally, several other White House executives tested positive for COVID. A full list of those who have tested positive include press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, senators Mike Lee, Thom Tillis, and Ron Johnson, former senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager Bill Stepien, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and more. Those who tested negative include vice president Mike Pence, chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Ivanka Trump, and more. Many journalists have hypothesized that the virus spread during an event at the White House to honor Supreme Court nominee Amy Barrett in the Rose Garden on September 29th.
Sparking much controversy, Trump drove around in a car during his hospital stay to wave at spectators. Shortly after his return to the White House, he was pictured outside, mask off, again waving.