US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for Coronavirus just 32 days ahead of the November 3 presidential elections. The president's team is sure to become hamstrung in the dying hours of the campaign. Each one's Covid journey is unique and it's not proper to wager a guess on how long Trump will take to recover.
How does the president's virus diagnosis impact the elections? Here are 10 questions and their answers.
1. Will the November 3 Election be Postponed?
There's only a slim chance. The US elections are governed by time-honored conventions and there will be huge resistance, as well as adverse ramifications, if elections are postponed because of the President's Covid-19 infection. If the President turns negative in less than the stipulated 14 days there's no reason for any postponement, either.
2. Will Mike Pence Take Over from Now?
Some analysts think that can happen. According to Good Morning Britain's Ross King, Vice-president Mike Pence could take over presidential duties and function as acting president until Trump recovers. There are also constitutional provisions to facilitate this. But this depends on the specific health situation of the President.
3. What Happens to the Next Debate?
The next presidential debate is on October 15, which is 13 days away. The first casualty of Trump's coronavirus positive diagnosis will be the second debate. It's unlikely that the debate will take place on 15th. Unless of course Trump tests negative within the next seven days.
4. Will Trump Lose Election Owing to this Setback?
US presidential campaigns are singularly person focused. It runs on the candidate, all the way. With rallies and stump speeches missing for, say, next two weeks, the Trump campaign will undoubtedly suffer.
5. Will Joe Biden Contract Virus too?
That's a moot point. Trump and Biden spent an hour and a half together at the first presidential debate. Of course there was no physical contact, and their lecterns were more than a meter apart. Yet both of them spent all that time without masks, while they engaged in fiery verbal give and take. Don't forget that the easiest way coronavirus spreads is through droplets and particles in air.
6. Will Both Presidential Campaigns be Suspended?
There is chatter around campaign suspension. However, it's not likely that Biden will, or will have to, suspend his campaign. Nor it is likely that the Trump campaign itself will be suspended. At least at this stage of the president's illness, the campaigning will go on in all likelihood.
7. What are Trump Doctors Saying?
President Trump's doctor Sean Conley says all is well at the moment. He also says the president will continue to discharge the duties while he's under treatment. The president and the first lady "are both well at this time and they plan to remain home at the White House during their convalescence," Conley said. "I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering," his statement said.
8. Is Trump Hospitalized? Where is he?
Trump is not hospitalized. He and his wife are currently at the private residential quarter at the White House where they will remain as they recover. Doctor Conley said Trump and Melania "are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence".
9. What's the Impact on Stock Markets?
The US stock futures have tanked already. The markets don't like volatility. All these questions that we have dealt with above show that the presidential diagnosis has created uncertainties. A stock market rout is expected when trade opens in the next session, and investor wealth will see an erosion as market stakeholders anticipate much higher volatility if Trump's health status remains a suspense.
10. Why is the Dollar Rising After Trump Diagnosis?
The expected market turmoil has already driven up the US dollar and the Japanese yen, the safe haven assets. While the dollar rose after the announcement, yen hit its highest level of the week.