Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Desperado

From the Washington Post:

Trump returned to the campaign trail Monday, holding his first rally since being hospitalized earlier this month, as part of an intense effort to demonstrate that his bout with covid-19 is behind him and that he is the more vigorous of the two septuagenarian candidates vying for the presidency.

Yet Trump’s rally in Sanford, Fla., came amid concerns that his plans to barnstorm the country could put him and others at risk.

Though Trump has declared himself now “immune” to the virus — which has killed more than 214,000 Americans and infiltrated the White House — he and his team have not clarified for the public the last time he tested negative before his covid-19 diagnosis was announced Oct. 2. This has raised questions about whom Trump may have infected before isolating himself at the White House and then at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

On Monday afternoon, however, Trump’s doctor, Sean P. Conley, said in a memo released by the White House that the president had tested negative for the virus “on consecutive days,” using the Abbott rapid testing machine, and was no longer contagious.

The Abbott antigen test produces quick results but has a greater chance of false negatives than the more reliable polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test. Conley said other diagnostic factors were considered when determining that the president did not pose a threat to others.

“This comprehensive data, in concert with the CDC’s guidelines for removal of transmission-based precautions, have informed our medical team’s assessment that the President is not infectious to others,” he wrote in the memo released to the public.

Some of Trump’s aides and associates initially hoped that his coronavirus diagnosis would help focus him on the pandemic, allowing him to emerge as a sympathetic figure with a newfound sense of seriousness and empathy.

That, so far, has not happened.

“The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself can. The cure cannot be worse,” Trump told the Sanford crowd — many of whom were not wearing masks — referring to public health restrictions in many states. “But if you don’t feel good about, if you want to stay, stay relaxed, stay. But if you want to get out there, get out. One thing with me, the nice part, I went through it. Now they say I’m immune . . . I feel so powerful.”

That sounds like the villain in the movies who is almost vanquished but rises again in a last gasp effort to defeat the hero and lashes out at anything and everything. He may not accept the fact that the polling is starting to solidify against him, that states where he won by a squeaker the last time are turning against him, and not just in the suburbs but in the rural areas where he had his base.

The president and his allies have seen grim polling, which shows him trailing in many battleground states that he won in 2016, including Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, advisers said. The latter two are particularly crucial to Trump’s path to victory.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is nearing 8 million Covid-19 infections, schools are re-closing because of students testing positive, and the pharmaceutical companies are pushing back against rushing a vaccine to market because that’s how science works.

All the while Trump proclaims that he feels “so powerful,” when in truth he’s sounding rather desperate.

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