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Trump says will resume campaign rallies on Saturday despite COVID-19 infection


File photo shows US President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in the state of Ohio. (By AP)

US President Donald Trump has announced plans to return to the campaign trail on Saturday even though he has not fully recovered from COVID-19.

"I think Iím going to try doing a rally on Saturday night if we have enough time to put it together," Trump told Fox News on Thursday.

The president, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, said he was considering holding a rally in Florida on Saturday and then another in Pennsylvania the following day. Both are key battleground states that Trump carried in 2016.

However,recent polls show the Republican incumbent is trailing Democratic nominee Joe Biden narrowly in Florida and more substantially in Pennsylvania.

The New York Times reported that Trump was "angry at the state of the race" and has been imploring his aides to allow him to resume campaign events as soon as this weekend.

The Trump campaign is worried that there is little time and few if any opportunities left to change the trajectory of the race, especially now that the president has canceled next weekís virtual debate.

"Itís incredible whatís going on. I feel so good," Trump said of his recovery.

However, the president conceded he had not taken a second COVID-19 test since being diagnosed a week ago, meaning he could still be positive. During the interview with FOX News, Trump paused multiple times to clear his throats.

Violation of CDC guidelines

In a memo released Thursday evening, White House physician Sean Conley said he anticipated "the presidentís safe return to public engagements" on Saturday.

That timeline is a shift from earlier in the week, when Conley said he would not stop worrying about Trumpís health until he made it to next Monday without complication.

By resuming campaign rallies, Trump will be flouting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that individuals should quarantine for at least 10 days after they first become symptomatic.

White House officials have dismissed concerns that Trump returning to the campaign trail will risk further spreading the virus, arguing the president will be at a safe distance from the crowd.

However, Trump could put Secret Service agents and other staff accompanying him at risk if he is still contagious. Several senior White House aides have already tested positive in the wake of the presidentís diagnosis.

‘Worst pandemic response everí

Trump has been widely criticized for his handling of the novel coronavirus which has killed more than 215,000 Americans, by far the largest death toll of any country in the world.

"I think weíve got about the worst response to this pandemic that you could possibly have," said Dr. William Foege, who served as CDC director from 1977 to 1983, in an interview with NPR.

He faulted the White House for not allowing the nationís public health agency to apply its vast knowledge to the pandemic response. "It felt to me like President Trump had his knee on the neck of the public health community holding them down so that they could not actually do their work."

Foege made the remarks in the wake of a scathing letter he penned to Robert Redfield, in which he urged the current CDC director to stand up to President Trumpís abuses.

The letter, which was sent on September 23 and published by USA Today this week, warned Redfield that former and current CDC officials were starting to lose confidence in his leadership.

"At the moment, they feel you accepted the White House orders without sufficient resistance," Foege wrote.

The former CDC director said he was frustrated that the Trump administrationís erratic response to the pandemic has led to many unnecessary deaths.

The situation in the US "is a slaughter and not just a political dispute," he wrote.

"We have 75 years of experience at CDC on how to handle outbreaks," he warned. "And weíve learned a lot of lessons. And it appears to me that every one of those lessons has been violated."

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/20737


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