Trump’s ‘Don’t fear COVID’ tweet angering pandemic survivors, loved ones of the dead

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Stunned with a rising fever and unable to breathe, Scott Sedlacek had one thing going for him: He was among the first people to be treated for COVID-19 at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, and doctors and nurses were able to give him plenty. Warning.The 64-year-old recovered after being treated with a bronchial nebulizer in March, but the months that followed did little to ease the trauma of his illness. Hearing President Donald Trump’s advice via tweet and video on Monday not to fear the disease – as well as the president’s insistence on boarding a procession past Walter Reed Medical Center and returning to the White House then that he was still contagious – made him angry.

“I’m so happy that he seems to be doing well, that he has doctors who can give him experimental drugs that are not available to the masses,” Sedlacek said. “For the rest of us who are trying to protect ourselves, this behavior is embarrassing. ”

COVID-19 has infected an estimated 7.5 million Americans, claiming more than 210,000 lives and millions more unemployed, including Sedlacek. The United States has less than five percent of the world’s population but more than 20 percent of official deaths, although reports in several underdeveloped or autocratic countries are lax.

Yet the world’s most high-profile coronavirus patient tweeted Monday, as he was due to be released from hospital after a three-day stay: “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let him rule your life. We have developed very good medicine and knowledge under the Trump administration. I feel better than 20 years ago! ”

WATCH | Trump downplays the coronavirus again:

According to Politico reporter Daniel Lippman, US President Donald Trump’s current message on the coronavirus could be “fatal” for some people and detrimental to his chances of re-election. 6:39

He reiterated the message in a video Monday night, saying, “Be careful”, but “don’t let this dominate you.”

“You’re going to beat him,” he said. “We have the best medical equipment, we have the best drugs. ”

The advice matches Trump’s downplaying of the virus, his ridicule of those who wear masks to protect himself and others, and his insistence on holding White House rallies and events in violation of federal guidelines. But emergency room medics, public health experts, disease survivors and those who have lost loved ones were nonetheless appalled, saying his flirty words were especially dangerous at a time when infections are on the rise in many places. .

‘He doesn’t care about any of us’

Marc Papaj, a member of the Seneca Nation who lives in Orchard Park, New York, has lost his mother, grandmother and aunt to COVID-19. He found it difficult to follow the president’s advice not to let the virus “rule your life”.

“The loss of my dearest family members will forever dominate my life in every way for all of my days,” Papaj said.

“He doesn’t care about any of us,” he said of Trump. “He feels good. ”

Dr Tien Vo, who has administered over 40,000 coronavirus tests at his clinics in Imperial County California, had this to say, “Oh, my Lord. This is a very bad recommendation from the president. ”

The county is an agricultural region along the Mexican border that at one point had the highest infection rate in California. Its 180,000 residents are largely Latino and low-income groups that have suffered disproportionately from the virus. The cases overwhelmed its two hospitals in May.

“The president has access to the best medical care in the world, as well as a helicopter to transport him to hospital when needed,” wrote Dr. Janet Baseman, epidemiologist at the School of Public Health at the University of Washington. “The rest of us who don’t have such easy access to care should continue to worry about COVID, which has killed a million people around the world in just a few months. ”

WATCH Trump still doesn’t understand the severity of the disease: Bogoch:

US President Donald Trump’s video message saying, “But don’t let him rule your lives,” in reference to COVID-19, is irresponsible and may downplay the severity of the virus, says infectious disease specialist Dr Isaac Bogoch. 1:15

Some of Trump’s supporters have said they would not be swayed by the White House outbreak: Wearing a mask is a choice and the mandate for its use limits freedom, said Melissa Blundo, PAC chairperson “No Mask Nevada”.

“I’m not saying the coronavirus isn’t real. I’m not saying it’s not a pandemic, ”she said. “I believe tuberculosis could be called a pandemic when it kills a person every 21 seconds, but we haven’t shut down the whole world. I just find it interesting that we take this particular pandemic and shut down the economies. ”

Data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 8,920 cases of tuberculosis in 2019. In 2017, the most recent year in which deaths were reported, 515 died from a bacterial infection in the lungs.

Candy Boyd, owner of Boyd Funeral Home in Los Angeles, which serves many black families, said Trump’s comments were infuriating and an “example of him not living in reality.” The funeral home is receiving fewer virus victims today than in the spring when it was several a day, but people continue to die, she said.

“We have people dying and it’s a joke for him,” Boyd said. “I don’t take this lightly. It’s sad. It’s absurd. “

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