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Trump’s coronavirus infection is of his own doing

If the most protected man in America can be infected, so can we all.

Americans awaken this morning to the grave news that President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the dreadful coronavirus that has killed more than 207,000 people in the U.S. and brought the U.S. economy to its knees.

The news came the way that so much of the news from the White House does: in a tweet from the president himself. Trump wrote that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus (he noticeably did not call it the “China virus”) and declared: “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

No matter how you feel about Trump’s performance as president — and we feel pretty strongly that it has been a disaster — this is another crisis for a nation reeling from a year that almost seems apocalyptic: Trump’s impeachment, COVID-19, a popular outcry over racial injustice, the deaths of John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, catastrophic wildfires. And now this: A reckless president whose irresponsibility has endangered not only himself and his family but the stability of the country by throwing the executive branch into chaos. Another crisis, this one fully of Trump’s own making.

The president may not be showing COVID-19 symptoms yet. His physician later said Trump was feeling well and would continue his presidential duties. But the fact is that Trump is at particular risk of severe illness and death by virtue of his age: He is 74, and also obese. We hope he doesn’t find out how much worse COVID-19 is than flu, but it’s a real possibility for which we must be prepared.

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Furthermore, how many others in the White House have been infected? We have now learned that one of Trump’s closest aides, Hope Hicks, experienced symptoms and tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday. Astonishingly, Trump went ahead with an indoor fundraiser at his New Jersey golf club. Considering the lack of regard Trump and his aides have shown for the simple infection-control measures of social distancing and face masks, there’s no telling how many other people working in critical White House roles may have been infected.

In a way, this outcome was inevitable. From the start, Trump has…

The Times Editorial Board

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