Trump’s resolve to attend next week’s debate is seen as part of his ‘pattern of recklessness’

October 8, 2020

President Donald Trump’s tweet on Tuesday, October 6, saying that he looks forward to the October 15 presidential debate in Miami, alarmed some medical and public health experts—who warned that his coronavirus infection might still be contagious at that time and could endanger others, including Joe Biden, The Washington Post reports.

.The tweet came just one day after the president was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following a three-night hospital stay—during which he was put on an aggressive mix of treatments usually reserved for the most severe cases of COVID-19.

But from removing his mask on the White House balcony to refusing to use PPE in the West Wing, Trump immediately tried to project an image of being fully in charge and able to conduct all of his regular activities after returning to Pennsylvania Avenue.

According to the report by the Post, some outside health experts, have characterized Trump’s determination to attend the debate “as part of a pattern of recklessness that has defined his response to the pandemic, with the president and his aides not wearing masks or observing social distancing.”

  At least 19 people in Trump’s orbit have tested positive for the virus during the past week.

On Tuesday, White House physician Sean P. Conley, who is a doctor of osteopathic medicine, continued to give upbeat reports on Trump’s recovery, issuing a three-sentence memo saying the president “reports no symptoms” and has stable vital signs. “Overall, he continues to do extremely well,” the memo said.

Neither Conley nor other White House officials have said how they will determine when it might be safe for Trump to go out in public — for his own health, or for others near him.

Several outside medical experts suggested that the president’s actions indicate he is unchastened by his own experience contracting a virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans — or by the spreading infections among his own staff and supporters.

Trump’s removal of his mask moments after returning to the White House on Monday evening, and his subsequent assertion that he would appear at the debate “is irresponsible and reckless, and frankly that borders on malicious,” said Michael Mina, a physician and assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“We should be throwing the kitchen sink at him, not just for treatment, but for ensuring that he is safe to be out in society and he is not imposing a risk to citizens of this country,” Mina said.

Mina noted that the president’s medical team has many ways to determine the status of his infection. Beyond administering the “PCR” test, considered the most definitive way of assessing whether someone has the virus, he said doctors could ask him to cough onto a petri dish to see whether the virus grows, swab his nose to culture the specimen, or administer antigen tests to see whether he has the virus’s protein in his nose.

“The average American doesn’t have tools to go through this,” Mina said, “but the president is a very special person. We have tools to do this.”

Research contact; @washingtonpost

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