On Monday, after insisting upon leaving Walter Reed medical center, President Trump, who is infected with a virus that has killed over 209,000 Americans, took off his mask before entering the White House, then reappeared outside and swept aside his mask again for a photo op before stepping back inside, thereby risking transmission to anyone in his vicinity. That threat was not hypothetical: There appeared to be at least one staffer directly behind him.
The flagrantly reckless move comes a day after Trump took an unnecessary drive in a hermetically sealed SUV with Secret Service agents in full protective gear just so he could wave to supporters outside the hospital. Aside from his open disdain for basic pandemic procedure and a willingness to infect those around him, the events share a common motivation: The reality-TV president wanted a photo opportunity to show he was fine, even if his drug regimen suggests otherwise. The mask-less event was soon made worse, according to reports from the scene:
The president’s refusal to follow Centers for Disease Control procedure for infected people — isolate and wear a mask around others — is reflected at-large in his administration. On Monday, the New York Times reported that the White House does not intend to contact trace its own outbreak to reduce further spread, despite having the full resources of the CDC at its disposal.
Though Trump yesterday claimed he had “learned a lot” about the coronavirus from his weekend at Walter Reed, the stunts from the past two days clearly show that the president who once called COVID-19 a “hoax” does not plan to take seriously his own case, or the health of those around him, ever.