In the early morning hours of Friday, October 2, President Trump tweeted that both he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus, sending the stock market tumbling and sending the political scene into turmoil mere weeks before the 2020 elections.
Hours after Trump's announcement, reports have been circulating that White House insiders believe Trump's illness, whether serious or mild, could spell "disaster" for his re-election chances.
With roughly a month until the election, many of the President's plans to campaign have been cancelled.
The New York Times reports:
"It's almost certain that the remaining two debates between Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden will be canceled or drastically changed. The next one is scheduled for less than two weeks from now, on Oct. 15, and medical guidance would most likely keep the president isolated until then."
"And after having gone forward with the rallies he craves, despite rules against large gatherings in many states, Mr. Trump will not be able to leave Washington during a final, crucial stretch of the campaign."
Republican campaign consultant Rob Stutzman went on record saying:
"It's hard to imagine this doesn't end his hopes of re-election."
Politically, Trump falling ill could not come at a worse time for him. The President has been signaling to the media and his followers that the pandemic is "waning" and that the country needs to reopen as quickly as possible.
"In the White House, advisers to the president acknowledged that the positive test would remind voters of how dismissive Mr. Trump had been about the virus, not only with his own neglect of safety but also in his overly rosy assessments about a pandemic that has killed more than 207,000 people in the United States."
"Mr. Trump's recklessness, one adviser admitted, amounted to a political 'disaster.'"
Democratic pollster Geoff Garin believes the President's illness could have a dramatic effect on the race.
"Trump is now in the position of becoming exhibit No. 1 for the failure of his leadership on coronavirus, and he runs the risk that his supporters will feel misled by his dismissiveness of the virus and the need for precautions."
The President's health is always important during an election but at a time when his handling of the pandemic has made a significant impact on most Americans it could make more of a difference than ever.