Donald Trump has published a startlingly incoherent and dangerous video message on Twitter, in which he again encouraged Americans not to take the coronavirus seriously.
The approximately 90-second clip appears to have been recorded soon after Trump returned to the White House and removed his mask, potentially exposing the White House staff to his active coronavirus infection.
Trump began by thanking the staff at Walter Reed Medical Center, before repeating a line he tweeted earlier today about the virus that has thus far killed more than 1 million people worldwide:
Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re gonna beat it. We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines, all developed recently, and you’re gonna beat it.
More than 210,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, for which there is no known cure. Trump has been treated with experimental drugs that are not available to the general public, and has received round-the-clock care from a dedicated medical staff. Approximately 28 million people in the US lack health insurance.
Trump then began to speak about his own health, saying:
I went, I didn’t feel so good, and two days ago, I could have left two days ago. Two days ago, I felt great, like better than I have in a long time. I just said recently, better than twenty years ago.
Trump and his medical team have not been transparent about his condition. On Sunday, his doctor admitted that Trump had twice required supplemental oxygen, but it is unclear exactly when. Trump is also receiving dexamethasone, a steroid which is normally only prescribed to Covid patients with severe cases.
Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen. We have the greatest country in the world. We’re going back. We’re going back to work. We’re going to be out front. As your leader I had to do that. I knew there was danger to it but I had to do it. I stood out front. I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did. And I know there’s a danger, but that’s okay.
It is very hard to understand what Trump is saying in this section of the video, or what he means by “I had to do that”. It is certainly not the case that as president Trump was required to defy basic public health guidelines, such as wearing a face mask and eschewing large crowds or indoor events. The vast majority of heads of state around the world have continued to lead their countries without taking unnecessary risks that expose both themselves and their staffs to a potentially deadly disease.
And now I’m better. And maybe I’m immune. I don’t know.
According to his own doctor, Trump is not “better” yet. He is still symptomatic with Covid-19 and, crucially, still infectious. While those who recover from Covid-19 will likely have immunity from reinfection, Trump has not yet recovered. According to CDC guidelines, he should be in isolation.
And he concluded:
But don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there. Be careful. We have the best medicines in the world. And it all happened very shortly. And they’re all getting approved. And the vaccines are coming momentarily. Thank you very much and Walter Reed – what a group of people. Thank you very much.
Again, while Trump has received experimental medicines and state-of-the-art care, there is no cure for Covid-19 and no indication that a safe and effective vaccine will be released “momentarily”.
If you are reading this, do not follow Trump’s advice. If you need to leave your home, wear a mask, wash your hands, and maintain social distance.