Covid-19 🦠 Newsbites
Trump's alternate reality crumbles as the White House obfuscates
For much of this year, Trump has spun an alternate reality about the dangers of coronavirus — disputing science and the efficacy of masks, downplaying the risks to the American people, and making false statements about how 99% of coronavirus cases in America are "totally harmless" or that the virus "affects virtually nobody.”

But the President's construct crumbled Friday when he was airlifted to Walter Reed after contracting the virus, while many aides and allies were testing positive for Covid-19 after interacting with him over the past week.

Trump administration warned White House staffers against masks
A Trump administration official told CNN that a directive from senior staff and lawyers warned White House employees that wearing masks “wasn’t a good look.” The dictum, sent in the earlier months of the outbreak in the US, points to a longstanding lack of safety protocols in the White House, now scrambling to contain the virus as several administration officials test positive.

The West Wing had wanted to "portray confidence and make the public believe there was absolutely nothing to worry about," said the official, who spoke before the President's diagnosis. The directive opened a schism in the White House complex that would ultimately hinder its ability to contain the spread of the new virus.

Trump has repeatedly blamed China for a virus that now threatens his health. This will make Beijing nervous
Beijing has good reason to be nervous about Trump's diagnosis. Chinese media and top officials have long complained about the way the country has been, in their words, "scapegoated" for the pandemic's effects in the US, and Beijing is decidedly unhappy with being a major topic in the US election.

Yet that seems unlikely to chang. A Covid-positive Trump could now take an even harder line on China, further leaning into the narrative he has long pushed that Beijing is ultimately to blame. Meanwhile, as China has near-zero transmission of the virus, hundreds of millions of people are on the move for the “Golden Week” holiday.

Trump kept a busy schedule during the pandemic. Putin did the opposite
Over months of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has kept to a busy schedule, packed with campaign rallies and public events. The contrast with Russian President Vladimir Putin could not be more stark: The authoritarian leader Trump admires so much is living in a bubble.

For most of the pandemic, Putin has been following a strict work-from-home regimen, running the affairs of state largely by videoconference. And the Kremlin has taken extreme measures to guard the health of the man who has run Russia for two decades.