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Shock, sympathy, criticism: World reacts to Trump infection

President Donald Trump - AP image

Trump's revelation that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus flashed across screens everywhere, upending plans and sparking a response from presidential offices to the thousands looking to weigh in on social media.

Posted: Oct 2, 2020 6:15 AM

TOKYO (AP) — News that the world’s most powerful man was infected with the world’s most notorious disease drew instant reactions of shock, sympathy, undisguised glee and, of course, the ever-present outrage and curiosity surrounding everything about President Donald Trump.

Trump's announcement Friday, on Twitter, that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, and the deep uncertainty that accompanied it, flashed across screens large and small, upending countless plans and sparking comment everywhere from presidential offices to the thousands looking to weigh in on social media.

The positive test reading for the leader of the world’s largest economy adds more uncertainty to investors' worries, especially about its effect on the Nov. 3 election between the Republican president and Democrat Joe Biden. U.S. stock futures and most world markets fell on the news as did the price of oil.

World leaders were quick to weigh in, with official sympathy from the top and something approaching schadenfreude elsewhere. Trump joins a growing list of the powerful who have contracted the virus, including many who were skeptical of the disease.

“I hope that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with the dangerous virus,” Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote in a direct message to Trump released by the Kremlin.

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted “My best wishes to President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS for a full and speedy recovery.” The Trump administration in July formally notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from WHO, although the pullout won’t take effect until next year. Trump claims the U.N. health agency is in need of reform and is heavily influenced by China.

Italian right-wing opposition leader Matteo Salvini tweeted: “In Italy and in the world, whoever celebrates the illness of a man or of a woman, and who comes to wish the death of a neighbor, confirms what he is: An idiot without soul. A hug to Melania and Donald.″

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized for a week in April after he contracted COVID-19, wished Trump a “speedy recovery.”

Dr. Bharat Pankhania, who advises Johnson's government on communicable disease control, said he hopes that Trump’s positive test sends a message to the president and other leaders.

“We need politicians, especially politicians like President Trump who has a lot of power and influence, to take this seriously and to support their scientists and clinicians in leading the outbreak management, rather than have political influence in trying to deny that this virus is in circulation and drag your feet around control measures because it suited your agenda.”

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, speaking at a weekly news conference, did not mention Trump's reluctance to wear masks when asked about his infection, but she said the news “reminded me of how widely masks are worn in Japan.”

Major media across the globe also played up the announcement, with bulletins crawling across TV screens in Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, Dubai and Beijing.

“To say this potentially could be a big deal is an understatement,” Rabobank said in a commentary. “Anyway, everything now takes a backseat to the latest incredible twist in this U.S. election campaign.”

China’s official Xinhua News Agency flashed the news, and an anchor on state broadcaster CCTV announced it; there was no immediate comment from the government Friday, the second day of an eight-day national holiday.

The positive test result for Trump and his wife was the most searched topic in China on the widely used social media app Weibo a few hours after the announcement, with most comments mocking or critical.

One user darkly joked that Trump had finally tweeted something positive.

The Chinese government has bristled at Trump’s attempts to blame China, where the disease emerged, for the pandemic and called for global cooperation in fighting it, a message that has resonated with the public.

Hu Xijin, the outspoken editor of the state-owned Global Times newspaper, tweeted in English that “President Trump and the first lady have paid the price for his gamble to play down the COVID-19.”

Multiple Arab news media outlets on Friday continuously broadcast footage of Trump and his wife after the virus announcement.

Al-Arabiya, a Saudi-owned satellite channel based in Dubai, cut to a long live shot of the White House. Qatari state-owned Al Jazeera channel brought in four commentators to discuss the “prevailing state of uncertainty” in the United States, questioning whether Trump could effectively steer a reelection campaign and run the country from quarantine.

Iranian state television announced Trump had the virus, an anchor breaking the news with an unflattering image of the U.S. president surrounded by what appeared to be giant coronaviruses. U.S.-Iran ties have suffered since Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed crushing sanctions.

Social media platforms were ablaze with quick reaction.

Would Trump blame the Chinese? Would he thumb his nose at his critics and enemies by breezing through the quarantine without serious symptoms, tweeting away from the White House? Would he become gravely ill, or worse, and, if he did, what would that mean for the U.S. election, one of the most contentious in recent history? What would it mean for U.S. leadership during tumultuous times?

While the uncertainty seemed palpable on a scroll through various social media in an array of languages, many comments seemed to revel in the announcement.

“Here comes a chance for him to actually try out his idea of injecting disinfectant into himself and fighting back (against allegations that) it was fake news!” tweeted Hiroyuki Nishimura, a Japanese internet entrepreneur, referring to an idea Trump floated earlier this year for treatment.

Keio University economics professor Masaru Kaneko tweeted that populist leaders like British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro "got infected because they tended not to take the coronavirus seriously. The two other leaders seriously tackled (the virus) after they got infected themselves. Will the United States follow their examples?”

And the satirical Australian news site, the Betoota Advocate, posted a story with this headline: “Trump Family Records More Cases Of Community Transmission Than Entire State Of Queensland.”

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312969

Reported Deaths: 3637
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin661641115
Ramsey27766505
Anoka22149228
Dakota22015190
Washington13999115
Stearns13733116
St. Louis8747112
Scott846255
Wright775843
Olmsted665634
Sherburne587641
Clay498457
Carver474213
Blue Earth414116
Rice412836
Kandiyohi408122
Crow Wing359634
Otter Tail314322
Chisago311611
Nobles308730
Benton299451
Winona276930
Mower261623
Douglas260337
Polk256324
Morrison231629
Lyon218711
Beltrami217117
McLeod212812
Becker205415
Goodhue203228
Steele19497
Isanti190617
Itasca190423
Carlton185816
Todd181214
Nicollet162525
Mille Lacs153631
Freeborn15336
Le Sueur147011
Cass143710
Brown141315
Waseca139211
Pine13658
Meeker12879
Roseau11964
Hubbard114925
Martin113320
Wabasha10561
Redwood94619
Chippewa8877
Cottonwood8664
Renville86527
Dodge8600
Watonwan8544
Wadena8016
Sibley7934
Rock7779
Aitkin76730
Pipestone72518
Fillmore6990
Houston6984
Yellow Medicine64812
Pennington6478
Kanabec61913
Murray5873
Swift5838
Faribault5612
Pope5391
Clearwater5248
Stevens5103
Marshall4979
Unassigned49359
Jackson4881
Lake4226
Koochiching3926
Wilkin3895
Lac qui Parle3773
Lincoln3591
Norman3497
Big Stone3182
Mahnomen2964
Grant2796
Kittson2248
Red Lake2133
Traverse1481
Lake of the Woods1001
Cook720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 227398

Reported Deaths: 2368
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33642336
Linn14352165
Scott1124986
Black Hawk10893135
Woodbury10372126
Johnson955336
Dubuque923291
Story678822
Dallas637257
Pottawattamie631970
Sioux370325
Webster358535
Cerro Gordo357144
Marshall348546
Clinton331344
Buena Vista305414
Des Moines291520
Muscatine289268
Warren281914
Plymouth276042
Wapello255772
Jones232313
Jasper217944
Marion205320
Lee203917
Carroll198422
Bremer195212
Henry18307
Crawford174616
Benton170619
Tama154340
Jackson144613
Delaware144221
Washington141314
Dickinson139210
Boone137011
Mahaska126827
Wright12456
Clay11784
Buchanan117010
Hardin115810
Page11374
Hamilton11199
Clayton11175
Cedar108413
Harrison107729
Kossuth10667
Calhoun10617
Floyd105016
Mills10487
Fayette103910
Lyon10338
Butler10216
Poweshiek99313
Winneshiek97613
Iowa95812
Winnebago93023
Hancock8677
Grundy86311
Louisa86216
Sac8608
Chickasaw8574
Cherokee8484
Allamakee81811
Cass81623
Mitchell7984
Appanoose79312
Humboldt7715
Union7706
Shelby76511
Emmet76424
Guthrie75415
Franklin73921
Jefferson7142
Madison6864
Unassigned6690
Palo Alto6554
Keokuk5997
Howard5599
Pocahontas5584
Greene5250
Osceola5241
Ida48913
Clarke4874
Davis4709
Taylor4653
Montgomery46311
Monroe44412
Adair4418
Monona4352
Worth3630
Fremont3583
Van Buren3585
Lucas3256
Decatur3170
Wayne3007
Audubon2962
Ringgold2112
Adams1702
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