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President Donald Trumps positive coronavirus test has undermined his repeated claims that the US is "rounding the turn" in its handling of the pandemic, with just one month to go before the November 3 election.
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Trump announced on Friday that he and his wife, Melania, had tested positive for Covid-19, and were going to quarantine at the White House.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER,” he wrote on Twitter.
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
Trump is 74 years old, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from the virus.
His physician has said the president is "well" and will continue to perform his duties "without disruption".
However, even if the president remains asymptomatic, he will likely have to halt in-person campaigning for an unspecified amount of time while he quarantines at the White House.
“It is unclear exactly what that means for a president of the United States, especially for this one who has spent months not wanting to wear a face mask, not wanting to take physical distancing seriously,” David Smith, chief of the Guardian newspapers Washington bureau, told FRANCE 24.
Trump tests positive for Covid-19 weeks away from presidential election
“The White House published a schedule for tomorrow, with various events that he will presumably not be fulfilling. It does beg the question: will he seat a campaign virtually, as his rival Joe Biden has been doing a lot?” Smith added. “Presumably, if Trump is feeling well enough, he would be able to do that.”
Whatever form Trumps campaign takes in the coming days and weeks, his diagnosis has seriously undermined his attempts to downplay the pandemic and refocus the race on other issues.
In the past, Trump has wrongfully predicted that the coronavirus “is going to disappear”, and even questioned scientists who contradicted his assertions in public.
'This could be a really significant blow'
Trump has also largely ignored his own governments public health guidelines, refusing to wear a mask or observe social distancing.