Against the advice of his own experts, Trump held his first campaign rally since the pandemic shut down the country. The fear was that with thousands of people crowded indoors the rally would become a super spreader event, not only infecting the attendees but also their family, friends and co-workers that they would come into contact with after they left the event.
Attendees were given masks on their way into the venue, but almost all of them refused to wear them in solidarity with a president who feels that mask-wearing is a political statement rather than a public health measure. He has expressed the opinion that people wear masks to indicate a dislike of him personally.
And yet with all of the hysteria about the possible infection of the rally attendees, no one has said a word about the man on the podium. Trump stands just as much chance of becoming infected as the rest of the people in the venue.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that is spread via droplets in the air. The droplets can be the result of sneezing, coughing, talking, singing, or simply exhaling. In a venue such as BOK, the air is recirculated, so all of the droplets that are being exhaled by people talking, shouting, cheering or singing stay in the air and are recirculated throughout the evening. Eventually the air becomes a miasma of corona virus infected droplets.
Despite being physically separate from his audience, there is no way that Trump can escape inhaling the infected air. Wearing a mask might cut his risk somewhat but he refuses to do so because he thinks that wearing a mask makes him look weak.
So Trump will become infected with the corona virus during a rally at some point during his campaign. The question now becomes, will he survive the infection? The corona virus is a novel virus meaning that it is brand new. The medical profession is still learning what it is, how it infects people and how to treat it. They have enough experience with it now to know that there are certain underlying conditions that increase the chances that a patient will die of the virus.
Trump has at least two of those conditions that we know of: age and obesity. He is 74 putting him well within the age range of patients whose survival rate is low. As people age, their immune systems become weaker making it harder for them to fight off illness. Trump is also obese. Obesity is a risk factor because the weight of the excess flesh presses down on the chest and diaphragm making it difficult to breathe. That makes it harder for doctors to provide the necessary breathing support which in turn makes it more likely that obese patients will die.
We don’t know if Trump has any other underlying conditions that would put him at risk of dying from COVID-19 because the medical records that he has released are incomplete. The information they contain is also considered to be inaccurate because it is believed that in the past he has lied about his height and weight to prevent him from being classified as obese so we are left wondering what else he is lying about.
When Trump contracts COVID-19, as president he will receive the very best care. But that care may not be enough to ensure his recovery because of his risk factors. He stands a good chance of dying. But if he recovers, he will have a long, hard road back to health. Elderly COVID patients like Trump who make it out of the ICU are transferred to rehab where they stay for months regaining their strength and learning to do basic tasks like walking, eating and in some cases even talking.
Trump likes to make fun of Biden “hiding” in his basement but Biden is doing the smart thing by wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding large crowds. At 78 he is older than Trump and needs to be careful, as well as set a good example for all Americans on how to prevent the spread of the corona virus. He stands a good chance of avoiding infection so that he will still be around on Election Day. Trump whose ego both prevents him from wearing a mask as well as necessitating constant in-person validation from his supporters, may not be with us in November.