The world woke up last Friday only to be greeted with the news that the President of the United States (POTUS), Donald Trump, had contracted the deadly coronavirus, also known as Covid-19. Many were not surprised because Trump’s belligerent stance against the scientific approach to fighting the virus made him a potential victim. Many others even think it was a miracle he was able to avoid the virus for that long.
When Trump stepped into the dining room of his golf club in New Jersey last Thursday, many of the high-dollar attendees at the fundraiser thought he seemed a little off.
Some assumed he had been subdued from a week of campaigning, while others blamed his hoarse voice on the string of large rallies he had attended. The visibly exhausted Trump was not his usual self.
Indeed, the guests could not have known that the tired-sounding man sitting across the white brocade tablecloth would test positive, hours later, for coronavirus. Nor could they have been aware that before he arrived, both Trump and his senior aides had received information suggesting he could have been exposed —and therefore could be contagious. As usual, the President wasn’t wearing a mask.
Trump had long viewed himself as one in danger of contracting the virus in the line of duty and referred to that prospect as ‘Russian Roulette’. Literally, ‘Russian Roulette’ is the practice of loading a bullet into one chamber of a revolver, spinning the cylinder, and then pulling the trigger while pointing the gun at one’s own head. The phrase is thus used for an activity that is potentially very dangerous.
While exhibiting bravado publicly, the President is said to be shaken in private at some moments. When a military valet who handles his food and drink fell ill in the spring, news from the grapevine suggested that Trump appeared disconcerted. He also appeared rattled when his longtime friend, the real estate developer Stanley Chera, fell seriously ill due to complications from coronavirus and eventually succumbed to the disease.
Incidentally, Chera’s son attended Trump’s fundraiser in Bedminster last Thursday, unaware like the other guests that the President was carrying the virus. Many are curious to know the Covid-19 status of Chera’s son and the other guests.
Multiple guests at his Rose Garden announcement of a new Supreme Court nominee on Saturday, 26th September said they, too, had tested positive for coronavirus. This has led some White House officials to narrow their focus on that episode as a potential place where the outbreak began.
Clearly, Trump’s positive status and that of many legislators and senators on their side is a sharp reminder of the existence of a pandemic that continues to grip the US and the world at large. For a President who disregards the scientific advice of his own health advisors, it was a sudden glimpse of a reality the rest of the nation had been experiencing for months.
It’s obvious that many will be biting their fingers for believing in Trump’s ‘No Mask’ policy. Many will be wondering why they had foolishly swallowed the President’s words hook, line and sinker and endangered their lives and those of their family members. It is my hope that those doubting the existence of the virus will learn a lesson from this episode.
Back here in Asomdwekrom, we are very fortunate to have a president who believes in science and data. He has stayed the course despite the disruptive effusions of his political opponents. And the results are there for all to see.
As I write, the country has 30 new cases and 413 active cases. It is the exact opposite of the picture the naysayers had painted at the beginning of the pandemic. Ours is, indeed, one of the touted success cases in handling the dreaded virus.
But I still fear for this country. I fear because my compatriots have become complacent; very complacent. Many of us no longer observe the established protocols as we behave as if the virus is dead and buried.
Whenever I see numerous party supporters at rallies and campaign walks, which have become common nowadays, I wonder if my compatriots remember the existence of the virus. The singing, shouting and chanting of party slogans in such crowded areas usually send chills down my spine. I sometimes cannot help but ask, “Are we safe?”
It seems politicians like President Nana Dee, Vice-President Bawumia and President Ogwanfunu are also practising ‘Russian Roulette’. Their political activities continue to put them at risk of contracting the virus, Mawu forbid! But Grandma Jane is the safest among the lot because there is no bullet in her revolver. With empty crowds continually gracing her campaign, she appears to have no risk at all.
Whatever the situation, I pray that my compatriots and I will learn from the mistakes of others and start observing the protocols religiously. But I wonder if my low voice could be heard in such a cacophonous atmosphere.
See you next week for another interesting konkonsa, Deo volente!