US President Donald Trump Photograph:( AFP )
Trump's positive test caps a months-long response to the virus, the seriousness of which he has consistently underplayed
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Friday (October 2).
Trump's positive test caps a months-long response to the virus, the seriousness of which he has consistently underplayed.
What started with 'just a flu' remark by the US president, the coronavirus cycle has come a full circle for Donald Trump.
Let us have a look at the different modes and changing stance of Donald Trump on the deadly coronavirus which has claimed more than 200,000 live in the US and responsible for more than 1 million deaths globally.
Stage 1: The denial mode: From miracles to just a flu
The US president was quite sure of the virus to be "just a flu" in February of this year. On February 10, Trump said in a statement, "and part of the thing is you want to keep it the way it is, you don't want to see panic, because there's no reason to be panicked about it. But when I mentioned the flu I asked the various doctors, I said is this just like flu, because, people die from the flu."
Before calling it "just a flu", Trump in an elections rally in New Hampshire on Feb 10 said, that the virus will 'miraculously' go away in April when it gets a little warmer.
And, it just didn't end there. Trump in another press meet in Washington on Feb 27 said, "it's going to disappear one day. It's like a miracle."
A day later the US president in an Election Rally in South Carolina was heard boasting his success in handling the virus. He said, "35,000 people on average die each year from the flu. Did anyone know that? 35,000. That's a lot of people. It could go to a 100,000. It could be 27,000. They say usually a minimum of 27, goes up to 100,000 people a year die. And so far, we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States. (Cheers) Nobody."
Little did he know that 7 months later, the US will cross the grim mark of 1 million deaths in the United States and will top the list globally with maximum casualties from the virus.
Stage 2: The realisation mode: Too late to realise the 'Pandemic'
Trump accepted coronavirus as a "real" situation for the first time on March 17.
"I've always known this is a this is a real, this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic, all you had to do is look at other countries", he said.
When asked on why did he downplayed the crisis over the last couple of months, Donald Trump said that he didn't want to spread panic in the country. He wanted to keep the country calm and strong and fight and win. The statement came in on the March 30, which was almost two months since the US recorded its first coronavirus case. It was a very big miscalculation done by the US president as the US recorded 161,807 cases and 2,978 deaths by the end of March 30th. The surge in cases was picking up in the US by then.
Stage 3: The 'Trump' solution mode: From ultraviolet rays to injecting "disinfectants"
This is the stage where the Trump suddenly became a medical expert and was suggesting to cure the virus with ultraviolet or just very powerful light. The Republican president while addressing a press conference in the White House said, "So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that has not been checked but you're going to test it. And then I said, suppose you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you're going to test that, too, sounds interesting. Right, and then I see the disinfectant, it knocks it out in a minute, one minute and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or or almost a cleaning, cause you see it gets on the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it will also be interesting to check that so that you're gonna have to use medical doctors. But it sounds, it sounds interesting to me."
Stage 4: Masks are useless mode: Masks or no Masks?
On April 3 in a White House briefing, Trump started his rant on masks. He said, wearing masks is a voluntary thing and one can choose to wear a mask. He said that he chooses not to wear the mask, but some people might do it, which is ok.
Trump on various instances was also heard mocking the Democratic Presidential Candidate, Joe Biden for wearing a mask as a precautionary measure for Covid-19. He even indulged in heated arguments during press briefings asking the reporters to take off their mask as it is "safe" not to wear it.
After encouraging a lot of people to not wear the mask, Trump on July 21 in a while House briefing had a change in heart and said, “We're asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact, they'll have an effect and we need everything we can get...I will use it, gladly...Anything that potentially can help...is a good thing."
Stage 5: China the real villain mode: Trump terms Coronavirus as "Chinese Virus" & "Kung Flu"
Trump repeatedly blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year and accused Beijing of suppressing the details of the contagion.
The US officials have described it as "Wuhan Virus" due to its origin. Donald Trump, addressing his first election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June, said that COVID-19 is a disease which has more names than any other disease in history.
"I can name - Kung flu. I can name 19 different versions of names. Many call it a virus, which it is. Many calls it a flu. What difference. I think we have 19 or 20 versions of the name," Donald Trump said. In his remarks, Donald Trump also used terms such as "Chinese virus" to refer to COVID-19.
Stage 6: Vaccines will be here mode: Vaccines just before the elections?
Kicking off the Presidential Election Campaign, the US President soon started with his hope for the coronavirus vaccine. On Aug 27 during Republican National Convention the President said, "We will have a safe and effective vaccine this year. And together we will crush the virus." This was not the first time that Donald Trump mentioned vaccine for coronavirus as a solution, but it was certainly a more prominent claim.
Since then the US president on various occasions has been claiming coronavirus vaccines coming along at a great pace.
During an election campaign in Pennsylvania, he said, "the stock market is at record levels. Think about it. Hopefully rounding the turn of the pandemic. We're rounding that turn and vaccines are coming along great. You know the job that they've done, the doctors, everybody else. We're years ahead of schedule. Anybody else as president. You wouldn't be talking about vaccines for two or three years."