“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Centre today at 6:30pm. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

That was a tweet by American President, Donald Trump, earlier today walked out of the doors of the hospital, giving a thumbs up and punching the air in a gesture of triumph. He has now returned to the White House to continue his treatment and to continue his campaign for next month’s election.

I was cautiously optimistic. Not of Trump having serious medical issues, but of Trump slightly changing his tone when referring to COVID-19. I was cautiously optimistic that he may acknowledge the risk of the virus and encourage Americans to maintain social distancing and wear a mask when out in public – (https://thelevinelowdown.com/2020/10/02/donald-trump-has-covid-19/).

However, I was very wrong, and I should have seen it coming.

Based on his tweets since leaving the hospital, nothing has changed in Trump’s opinion, attitude and belief towards COVID-19. According to Trump, it’s still a “Chinese plague” which fails to take any accountability for America’s response to the virus. And, he is continuing to downplay the risk and threat of the virus.

“Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Those words are incredibly powerful and incredibly frightening. Trump is telling people to live their lives as usual without fear. That means, don’t wear a mask, don’t social distance, continue having large gatherings and go back to how life was before the pandemic. As someone who lives in Australia and has been led by a government which has implemented strict restrictions for minimal cases, these words are almost impossible to believe. It goes against every single credited opinion on how to control the virus and limit its impact.

Is this a publicity stunt? I have been reading some articles of people who believe that Trump never had the virus, and this was all planned out. However, I don’t believe in this conspiracy. It was clear that Trump had to go to the hospital due to contracting the virus, and now people connected to Trump have also contracted COVID-19. Earlier today, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two other members of the communications staff announced they had tested positive for the virus. Although it seems plausible, this was not a publicity stunt.

Is this a deadly form of election campaigning? I would argue, yes. Trump understands that COVID-19 has severely impacted millions of Americans, and he will take a significant amount of the blame for America’s response to the pandemic in the upcoming election. Trump’s response to his positive test and released from the hospital is trying to convince people that the virus is nothing to be concerned about, and we can go back to normality. He has continually praised the medical staff in America while including the fact that they are acting during his term. As if all medical staff in America would have just sat on the sofa during this pandemic if Trump wasn’t President?

Trump’s response today was made in an effort to gain votes. He wants people to feel safe and secure. If people can feel that under his leadership, they are likely to vote for him. However, this is a form of deadly campaigning. Almost 210,000 Americans have died after contracting COVID-19, and the virus is far from under control in America. If the President continues to belittle the virus, cases will continue to increase, and the death toll will continue to rise. Trump is willing to pay the long-term consequences of the virus just to ensure his re-election.

If you live in America, please do two things. One, please vote. Two, please don’t vote for someone willing to see hundreds of thousands of people die just to remain as President of the United States.

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