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The Problem With President Trump Tweeting 'Don't Be Afraid of COVID'

On Oct. 2, the White House announced that U.S. President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19. He was then admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment. Today, merely four days later, President Trump tweeted that he was being discharged from the hospital, adding, “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Let that sink in. Trump has access to the best medical care, which none of the rest of us can afford, and then tells us not to fear a devastating illness that has killed over 200,000 Americans.

Most Americans like me don’t have the luxury of getting immediate and free top-line care for our COVID-19 symptoms. According to the New York Times, the president had been receiving “experimental antibody treatment that is still being tested in clinical trials and has been given to only a few hundred people.” Meaning this treatment is not something the average American can count on anytime soon, and there’s no promise any new and effective COVID-19 treatment will be affordable when it’s available to the general public.

What if someone who’s not taking this pandemic seriously infects me while I’m out of my house out of necessity? What am I supposed to do?

How will I afford taking what could be weeks off work?

How about my hospital bill? Who is going to pay that?

Who is going to care for me? I live alone.

Boy, this is the stuff that just burns me up. Black Americans like me are more exposed to this virus because we are more than likely to be essential workers. We are dying at a more rapid rate than white non-Hispanic Americans. We are getting substandard care due to disproportionate health care access and insurance coverage. It is real easy for the president to say this is an easy illness to overcome when his doctors are pulling out all they have in their arsenal. Where is my White House doctor?

Trump is also ignoring those of us with underlying health conditions, as if we’re just not “strong” enough to deal with this illness. Disabled individuals who have little control over their medical state shouldn’t have to live in fear.

I fear, in some respects, that Trump will continue to have mild symptoms and then will play down the virus even more, leading others to disregard warnings and flout the rules. The fact is, we do have to let COVID “dominate our lives,” because we have to continue to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

When it comes down to it, the most powerful man in the world got a deadly illness that could have been prevented in the first place. Now we as a nation watch and wait to see if this will finally be his downfall. I wish no ill on the president — I just wonder what impact all of this is going to have, both with the outcome of his health and the messages he’s sending.

So, wear your mask. Stay six feet apart. Stay out of restaurants and planes. Wash your hands. Love your neighbor.

That is all that is asked of you. We can get through this together if we all work at it.

Image via Gage Skidmor on Flickr

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