President Trump Has Announced that He & FLOTUS Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

Well, it’s official: President Trump has tested positive for COVID-19. The news comes just two days after he criticized Biden at their first presidential debate for wearing a mask on the campaign trail, saying, “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from them, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.” First Lady Melania Trump has also tested positive, and will be quarantining with the president during their period of recovery at the White House. It's unclear how long they'll stay there, but it's assumed to be until their symptoms subside. And although Trump is said to be showing ‘mild symptoms’ at the moment, he's in the high-risk category for life-threatening complications at age 74.

The irony is clear – turns out, wearing a mask might be a good idea after all. Even after Trump learned of his senior advisor Hope Hicks’s positive test, with whom he had shared close contact, he attended a fundraiser at his New Jersey golf course. He sat at a socially-distanced roundtable, but many event-goers were seen without masks. This move has raised questions and criticism about Trump’s alarmingly low level of concern over the virus, and refusal to take precautions to stop its spread. 

After news of Hope Hicks’s positive test on Thursday, stocks began to fall. After Trump released the news of his and Melania’s test results on Twitter early Friday morning, the markets fell dramatically across the globe.

Trump’s positive test for COVID-19 has encountered various reactions from people all over the world. Many have wished him and Melania a safe recovery, while others have pointed to the irony in his diagnosis after his many comments about mask-wearing and COVID-19 in the past. Some have found comfort in the fact that Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the virus this Friday, meaning that if Trump becomes unable to perform his presidential duties, Pence would be healthy enough to step up to the plate.

That said, there's been no mention of if the 25th Amendment would be invoked. According to CNN, Trump “plans to work from the White House residence.” Trump’s campaign schedule for Friday was cleared, save for a phone call “on COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors.”

Then there's the question on everyone’s mind: what does this mean for the 2020 presidential election? If Trump encounters a swift recovery and can get back on the campaign trail, it’s assumed he'll be able to safely attend debates in the future and continue with his candidacy. But what if his symptoms worsen? Should his name be struck from the ballot, leaving Pence or another as the presidential candidate? What does this mean for the timeline of the election?

Unfortunately, many of those questions are still left unanswered, as we'll have to wait and see how Trump’s case of COVID-19 plays out. But one thing remaines clearer than ever: mask-wearing and COVID-19 precautionary measures must continue; this virus is nowhere near gone.