I'll never forget the moment that I heard that Donald Trump had Covid. And how although I'm an atheist, I prayed that it would be fatal.
And I'll always remember how bitterly disappointed I was that he didn't die.
How could the orange monster have survived? How could he shrug it off as nothing more than a bad cold?
When his age combined with his unhealthy lifestyle should have made him particularly vulnerable.
But now I realize that I should have prayed harder, for it turns out he was sicker than he acknowledged.
President Donald J. Trump was sicker with Covid-19 in October than publicly acknowledged at the time, with extremely depressed blood oxygen levels at one point and a lung problem associated with pneumonia caused by the coronavirus, according to four people familiar with his condition.
The people familiar with Mr. Trump’s health said he was found to have lung infiltrates, which occur when the lungs are inflamed and contain substances such as fluid or bacteria. Their presence, especially when a patient is exhibiting other symptoms, can be a sign of an acute case of the disease.
Mr. Trump’s blood oxygen level alone was cause for extreme concern, dipping into the 80s, according to the people familiar with his evaluation. The disease is considered severe when the blood oxygen level falls to the low 90s.
And he lied about it.
Made it seem like it was nothing, so he could claim he was like Superman.
President Trump considered staging his own Clark Kent moment as he exited last week from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by ripping open a button-down to reveal a Superman T-shirt underneath, according to The New York Times.
And his White House doctors played along with it all, even though at times they looked like idiots.
In news conferences outside the hospital that weekend, Dr. Conley offered data that made it appear his patient was recovering quickly. He noted that Mr. Trump had fared well on a spirometry test, which measures lung capacity. “He’s maxing it out,” Dr. Conley said. “He’s doing great.”
Medical experts say a spirometry test is virtually meaningless with Covid-19 patients.
And even though Trump was sending out a fatal message:
Relax, Covid ain't that bad.
Even if you're gasping like a fish out of water.
Mr. Trump appeared to still be struggling with the disease when he returned to the White House, where he stationed himself on a balcony in a choreographed scene, tearing his mask off and saluting his helicopter. Doctors at the time noted how Mr. Trump used his neck muscles to help him breathe in those moments, a classic sign that someone’s lungs are not taking in enough oxygen.
It was madness. A depraved old man trying to pretend Covid is nothing, while hundreds of thousands of Americans dropped dead around him.
A recent report in the Lancet estimated that about 40% of those cases could have been prevented if Trump hadn't dismissed the threat, and discouraged action as the infection spread.
And of course had he died of Covid, there would have been no assault on the Capitol.
And the good news? Trump is not out of the woods yet. People who have had Covid can be hit by serious long-term effects.
Some of them fatal.
So like it or not, Trump could still end up sending a powerful public heath message...
If you don't take Covid seriously, it can and will kill you.
And wouldn't that be a happy ending?