- President Trump contracted COVID-19 after months of downplaying its seriousness.
- Upon being discharged from the hospital, he said not to be afraid of COVID-19, and not to let it dominate our lives.
- President Trump is uniquely able to recover from COVID-19 thanks to his access to healthcare, and since we don't have that same access, we should still be afraid of the virus.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
If the leader of the free world can survive COVID-19, then what's there to be afraid of?
That's the backwards logic that President Trump is trying to offer the American people after his stay at Walter Reed Medical Center over the past few days. On his way out of the hospital, Trump offered the public some advice too: don't be afraid of the virus.
Of course, with over 210,000 Americans dead due to the novel coronavirus, there's a lot for regular people to worry about. COVID-19 cases are spiking across the country, and thanks to inaction by Congress, there doesn't seem to be much relief — whether it be an economic boost or health funding — on its way.
Trump's "don't be afraid" comment is ridiculous on its surface, but its callousness is only fully realized when you consider who he's talking to. The average American couldn't dream to have Trump's level of access to healthcare, so his comments aren't just callous, they're willfully ignorant.
Thanks to the disparity in accessibility, his potential recovery from COVID-19 means nothing to us regular folks.
Medicare for gall
After months of downplaying the danger of the novel coronavirus, President Trump, of course, contracted COVID-19. He announced it to the world on Twitter on October 3, just a week after the event in the Rose Garden that officials suspect was responsible for infecting him and other high-profile political figures like Kellyanne Conway, Chris Christie, and at least three GOP senators.
The purpose of that event was to introduce Supreme Court Nominee Amy Barrett to the public, as if the entire country isn't operating on Zoom at the moment. In line with Republican attitudes about COVID-19, the attendees violated several CDC protection measures, such as not following social distancing rules and not wearing a mask. The event even broke a DC law about gatherings of over 50 people. And — surprise! — many of the attendees have now tested positive for COVID-19.
Following the event, Trump was admitted to the hospital for a few days and experienced mild symptoms, according to a team of doctors who haven't given us a ton of reasons to trust them. There, Trump received medical care and attention that very few people in the world could even imagine.
And that is why Trump's declaration is so mind-numbingly ignorant.
President Trump has a much better chance of surviving COVID-19 because, well, he's the president. Very few people, upon learning they contracted COVID-19, can simply jump in their helicopter over to the Walter Reed National Army Medical Center, known for its excellence in healthcare. If this level of urgency were available for everyone, people wouldn't be taking Ubers to hospitals to avoid ambulance fees.
Trump is a VIP, and will receive a level of attention that normal Americans wouldn't. For instance, Trump's recovery is thanks to experimental drugs that most COVID-19 patients don't have access to or can't afford.
According to Business Insider's Andrea Michelson, "Trump will have access to a host of experimental treatments in various stages of FDA approval. To date, he's received a not-yet-approved antibody treatment made by the biotech company Regeneron, as well as remdesivir and dexamethasone, which have both been approved for emergency use."
Trump doesn't have a single clue what it's like to be a normal American. He was born into wealth, and maintained it (although not as much as he may claim) for his whole life. His worldview is drastically different than ours and involves considerably less consequences for poor decisions. He's pushing us to take risks because all the risks he ever took weren't life or death decisions.
Dishonorably discharged from the hospital
Trump telling us not to be afraid of COVID-19 is even more terrible when you remember that he privately told Washington Post alum Bob Woodward that the virus is "deadly stuff" and then proceeded to publicly downplay the same virus for weeks.
Not only does he have a much better chance of surviving COVID-19 than us (even as an obese man in his 70s), he's also telling us not to be afraid of something he thinks is deadly.
And even in cases where it isn't deadly, people who contract COVID-19 can suffer long-term effects. Your caution to avoid contracting COVID-19 isn't just to save your life, but to ensure you live a comfortable one.
It's true that most people who contract COVID-19 survive. But how many of the 200,000 plus who have died from the disease would have survived if they had the same level of access and treatment as Trump?
This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author(s).
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