Local political parties have reacted to the news of US President, Donald Trump, contracting COVID- 19. Trump is being cared for at the Walter Reed Medical National Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland and will remain in hospital for a few days according to a White House official.
Trump is the third Head of State to contract the virus after the United Kingdom’s Boris Johnson and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.
Just this week during the first US presidential debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden, President Donald Trump poked fun at the use of face masks in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.
“I mean I have a mask right here. I put on a mask whenever I think I need it. Tonight, as an example, everybody has had a test and you’ve had social distancing and all of the things you have to do, but I wear a mask when need it. I don’t wear a mask like him. Every time you see him he is wearing a mask. He could be speaking 200 metres away and he shows up with the biggest mask you have ever seen.”
While Trump is in hospital, his wife Melania is reported to have only a mild cough and headache.
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald has wished Trump and the First lady a speedy recovery .
“He is not the first leader of a country who contracts the virus and he will not be the last, but this is also proof that the COVID-19 pandemic does not distinguish amongst people. President Trump did the responsible thing to go into self-isolation with his first lady and we do believe that will ensure that they have a speedy recovery.”
Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister for Health, Siviwe Gwarube, says this is an opportunity for South Africans to remember that COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over.
“This is an important message to the world and for our country as well that we are not out of the woods when it comes to this pandemic. It is important that people take care and that we are still social distancing and that we are still practicing hygiene and we are still wearing masks we have seen second waves across the world and we will be no different if as South Africans we don’t take it seriously and as South Africans we embody the view that this whole COVID-19 pandemic is over.”
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) the National Spokesperson, Mhululeko Hlengwa, says the disease shows that no one is exempt from its effect.
“We need great international efforts and collaboration to ensure that we bring about healthcare services and assistance to all the people in the world and therefore, the guidance of the WHO and science need to take centre stage. We undermine this pandemic at our own risk so during this time we hope the American people will have a new reminder of the seriousness they need to apply on this virus.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has been scathing in its reaction.
“It is unfortunate that his stupidity and denialism and refusal to wear a mask has lead to him infecting his wife no one deserves to be infected with COVID-19. Trump’s COVID- 19 status must serve as an announcement to the world that the pandemic is still with us and we must take the necessary precautions at all material times,” says EFF National Spokesperson, Vuyani Pambo.
Leadership expert, Mazwe Majola, says Trump is unlikely to elicit much sympathy globally given his attitude to the disease, which he has often referred to as the Chinese pandemic.
“He is a leader and a president who spent a lot of time caricaturing and ridiculing and deriding the pandemic he downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic. He actually spent a lot of time attacking China instead of concentrating on his country and he devoted so much time blaming the World Health Organisation. I think he has been so arrogant that people are not going to give him sympathy”
Majola says he believes that Trump’s contracting the disease will act as a wake-up call to Americans – some of whom have asserted their right not to practice the COVID- 19 protocols – that they ignore the pandemic at their own peril.
Trump’s hospitalisation is discussed in the video below:
Below is an Infographic on Presidents that have tested positive for COVID-19.