NO one is immune from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), not even the leader of the most powerful nation of the world, the United States of America. President Donald Trump got the virus and, according to him, having the best doctors, best equipment and best medicine, he feels better. He was out and about, though he still remained Covid-19 virus positive, doing what he loves doing – tweeting, delivering speeches and driving out for photo ops. A good number of doctors have expressed disappointment of the president’s antics, one even suggesting that Trump undergo psychiatric test.
I read an article from Healthline.com about 10 US presidents who had health issues during their incumbency. Among them: Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921), who suffered from strokes and kept from the public his paralysis; Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933–1945), whose two legs were in total paralysis and who kept the public in the dark on his declining physical health. He died of massive cerebral hemorrhage while in office; Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953–1961) had a heart attack, stroke and Crohn’s disease, but he was said to be transparent of his condition; and John F. Kennedy (1961–1963) who kept secret his diagnosis of Addison’s disease and was addicted to painkillers, stimulants and anti-anxiety medication.
In the Philippines, two presidents were known to have health issues, namely, Manuel Quezon and Ferdinand Marcos. When Quezon led the government-in-exile during the Japanese Occupation, he contracted tuberculosis. Vice President Sergio Osmeña Sr. would have succeeded him as provided by the law at that time, but Osmeña agreed for Quezon to stay on until the Liberation. Quezon died before Liberation, thus Osmeña became the president. The dictator Marcos was unwell for some time leading towards the snap presidential election that pitted him against Corazon Aquino. Despite the denial and makeup, the public knew that he had lupus while in office. He died of kidney, heart and lung ailments in Honolulu on Sept. 28, 1989.
Two other current world leaders contracted Covid-19 virus, namely, UK’s Boris Johnson and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, and both survived. Johnson was prepared for the worst, designating a successor had he died. Bolsonaro, on the other hand, remained active on social media and at work, until his recovery. Trump has taken the Bolsonaro approach, projecting an image of confidence and strength, though endangering those around him.
Let us see how the cavalier attitude of Trump will play out in the crucial days leading to the US presidential election. Will his recklessness put him back in the White House? Or God forbid, bring him to his grave.