Trump joins Boris Johnson and Jair Bolsonaro as world leaders who received COVID-19 after flouting public health recommendations

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  • President Donald Trump is not the first world leader to contract COVID-19.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, among others, have also tested positive for the virus this year.
  • Like Trump, these two leaders pushed against the recommendations of public health experts before testing positive.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump on Friday joined a growing list of world leaders who have contracted COVID-19, which includes Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The three leaders flouted public health recommendations and played down the threat of COVID-19 before being infected.

Johnson has pushed against social distancing and ordered pubs and restaurants to close their doors (as other European countries impose the closure) before contracting the virus. At a press briefing in early March, just weeks before he tested positive, Johnson bragged to reporters about shaking hands with coronavirus patients during a hospital visit.

“I shook everyone’s hands, you’ll be happy to know,” Johnson said at the time. “And I keep shaking my hand. ”

Johnson ultimately spent a week in the hospital, including several nights in intensive care. Referring to his experience with the virus in April, Johnson said: “It could have gone both ways. “

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes US President Donald Trump to NATO leaders summit in Watford
Reuters

Similarly, Bolsonaro spent months downplaying the severity of COVID-19 before contracting it.

“Our lives must go on. Jobs must be maintained… We must, yes, get back to normal, ”Bolsonaro said during a speech in March. “With my history as an athlete, if I was infected with the virus, I would have no reason to worry. I wouldn’t feel anything, or at best it would be just a little flu. ”

When reporters in the spring asked Bolsonaro about the rise in the death toll from the virus in his country, he replied, “So what? ”

Bolsonaro tested positive for the coronavirus in early July. A few weeks after his diagnosis, Bolsonaro complained of feeling “weak” and said he had “mold” in his lungs.

“I just had a blood test. I was a little weak yesterday. They also found a bit of infection. I’m on antibiotics now. It must be those 20 days inside the house, we catch other things. I got mold, mold in my lungs. That must be it, ”Bolsonaro said at the end of July. The wife of the Brazilian leader, Michelle Bolsonaro, has also tested positive for the virus.

Trump has taken an almost identical anti-scientific approach to COVID-19 as his Brazilian counterpart.

He has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus, wrongly claiming it is “like the flu.” Trump admitted in a recently revealed interview with veteran journalist Bob Woodward last March that he was deliberately downplaying the dangers of the virus to the public in order to avoid causing “panic.”

In the first presidential debate on Tuesday, Trump mocked former Vice President Joe Biden for his vigilance over wearing masks, even as top public health experts in the administration continue to urge Americans to wear masks or masks.

“When necessary, I wear masks. I don’t wear masks like him, ”Trump said of Biden during the debate. “Every time you see him he has a mask on. He could talk 200 yards from them, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.

Trump is experiencing “mild symptoms” after contracting the virus, the White House said on Friday. His diagnosis has profound implications, especially for US national security. The president will also have to step aside from the election campaign, at least for now, with about a month before election day.

There have been more than 7.3 million reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States and more than 208,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. Both totals are the highest in the world.

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