The President Tests Positive for the Coronavirus, and a Nation Anticipates Chaos

David Remnick in The New Yorker:

President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, have tested positive for the coronavirus, an announcement which is bound to throw the Presidential race into a state of grave uncertainty, if not chaos. The novel coronavirus pandemic has killed more than two hundred thousand Americans and more than a million people worldwide. On Friday morning, at 12:54 a.m. Eastern time, Trump tweeted, “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for covid-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this together!”

Trump’s physician, Sean Conley, issued a statement saying that Trump and the First Lady were both “well at this time.” Trump had reportedly been hoarse during the day on Thursday, but his circle ascribed that to the rigors of rallies and other public events. “Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering,” Conley wrote, “and I will keep you updated on any future developments.”

From the very beginning of the pandemic, Trump has denied or diminished the seriousness of covid-19, from its initial outbreak in China to its spread to Europe and beyond. In interviews with Bob Woodward, for the journalist’s book “Rage,” Trump admitted that he well understood from advisers how lethal and fast-spreading the disease could be, but in public statements he downplayed the danger, saying repeatedly that the virus would disappear with the summer’s warm weather and that there was little to worry about. To the despair of the scientific and medical communities, which have uniformly said that the disease can be best contained if people wear protective masks and maintain a social distance, Trump has repeatedly flouted their advice and touted disreputable treatments. As recently as Tuesday’s Presidential debate, in Cleveland, Trump mocked his opponent, Joe Biden, for wearing masks and practicing social distancing. “I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said sarcastically of Biden, at the debate. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking two hundred feet away from him, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

More here.