During an interview on Fox Business on Thursday, President Donald Trump expressed a number of errant beliefs he has in relation to his recent diagnosis with coronavirus, including that he does not think he can contract the virus a second time.
Speaking with host Maria Bartiromo, Trump admitted that he has not been tested for COVID-19 recently, but said that he does not believe that’s a problem, citing how he presently feels.
“I’m essentially very clean,” Trump said.
The president is still reportedly being treated with the steroid medication dexamethasone. The drug has the unfortunate capability of making a patient who takes it feel better than they actually are.
Indeed, as many doctors, including infectious diseases expert and coronavirus task force member Anthony Fauci, have noted, Trump could be at risk for a “reversal” of his current positive condition within a few days, if he’s not careful.
“It’s not a secret that if you look at the clinical course of people, sometimes when you are five to eight days in, you can have a reversal,” Fauci said recently on CNN. “A reversal meaning going in the wrong direction and getting into trouble.”
In spite of those worries, the president said he doesn’t feel like he’s contagious anymore — a notion that goes against experts’ understanding of how coronavirus actually works.
“I don’t think I’m contagious. I don’t think I’m contagious at all,” Trump said in the interview with Bartiromo.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for all patients who have contracted coronavirus to act as if they’re contagious for at least 10 days from the onset of the disease, with people who have more severe symptoms sometimes being told they might be contagious for far longer.
If we’re to believe that Trump first contracted coronavirus last Thursday or Friday, then Trump, according to the CDC’s recommendations, should assume he’s contagious well-into next week
In spite of those guidelines, Trump is already expressing a desire to return to work in the Oval Office of the White House, a move that could put those who work alongside him at greater risk of infection.
Indeed, a few White House staffers have even spoken about his moves going in that direction, especially since a high number of staffers have already tested positive.
“It’s insane that he would return to the White House and jeopardize his staff’s health when we are still learning of new cases among senior staff,” one source within the White House said to Axios.
The White House isn’t the only place where the president’s desire to return to his “normal” routine has threatened to spread the disease to others.
On Thursday, Trump lambasted a decision by the Commission on Presidential Debates to hold the next debate between him and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, in a virtual setting, stating that he would not take part in the event unless it was face-to-face — a move which would have put Biden, the event’s moderator, and participants in the town hall format of the debate at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
“I’m not going to waste my time doing a virtual debate,” Trump said in the same interview with Bartiromo.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said there wasn’t much he or anyone else could do about getting Trump to agree to the new conditions of next week’s debate. If the president didn’t want to participate virtually, that was his choice.
“The ball’s in his court. It’s his call. We have to take it the way it comes,” Fahrenkopf said.
Trump made another glaringly inaccurate statement during his interview on Thursday morning.
He wrongly stated that he’s no longer susceptible to the virus, even if he recovers from it soon.
“When you catch it, you get better, and then you’re immune, you know?” Trump said.
The CDC also contradicts that notion, noting that some cases of people contracting the disease a second time have been documented.
According to the agency, a person should consider themselves immune from coronavirus for only three months after they recover from it.
Although Trump has suggested otherwise, polling data from Morning Consult this week found that Americans overall are less confident in his ability to tackle the coronavirus pandemic due to his contracting the disease, with 42 percent saying his diagnosis makes them feel less confident in his ability to lead on the issue than they were before.
Overall, the poll found that 56 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, while just 39 percent said they approve of the job he’s done.