U.S. President Donald Trump is the latest world leader to test positive for COVID-19, but with a month to go in one of the most dramatic presidential campaigns in modern history, the timing is sure to make waves.
“With 33 days until the Election Day, the President’s health will now be a central focus of both campaigns and news coverage,” says Matthew Lebo, chair of Western University’s Department of Political Science.
The news of the President and First Lady Melania Trump’s diagnosis comes just days after the first debate with former Vice President and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, which has been characterized as “chaotic.”
On Thursday it was announced that one of Trump’s top aides, who travelled with him to the debate, had tested positive for COVID-19.
Around 1 a.m. Friday Trump took to Twitter to announce that he and Melania had tested positive as well.
“It appears they likely contracted the virus from aid Hope Hicks and throughout the day we can expect a rush of testing for others in the White House as well as for former Vice-President Joe Biden, who met with President Trump on stage about 50 hours before the announcement.”
It has already been announced that Vice President Mike Pence and his wife have tested negative and that Joe Biden will be tested on Friday as well.
Trump is the latest world leader to contract COVID-19 since the pandemic began, a list that includes United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
With a month to go before Americans head to the polls the latest revelation is likely to dominate the news cycle.
It remains to be seen if this will be a so called “October Surprise,” in the 2020 election.
An October Surprise is an American political term for a news story or new information that has the potential to change the course of a presidential election.
In 2016 the revelations surrounding Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails was considered to be one such event.