Trump’s recent coronavirus diagnosis is calling attention to secrecy surrounding the president’s latest health records. Trump’s medical team refuses to disclose when the president last tested negative for COVID-19, leaving the public in the dark about when he contracted the disease and who he might have exposed. Americans also received inconsistent information about therapies he is receiving and the severity of the disease, leaving us to speculate on his fitness to serve. Just as, a mere week ago, we were left to wonder whether the president’s financial health compromised his ability to do his job, we are now unsure as to whether he is healthy enough to withstand the rigors of his office.
In addition to being more transparent about the president’s health, the administration must be open about who else the president might have exposed to COVID-19. Effective and transparent contract tracing is critical to contain the disease’s spread within the White House, around the District of Columbia and in New Jersey (where the president held a fundraiser after learning he’d been exposed) at a minimum. It’s the least Americans can expect from a president whose campaign has couched his first-hand experience with COVID-19 as an advantage over Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the upcoming election.
It’s no surprise that the president hasn’t been straight with Americans since contracting the disease. From the early stage of the pandemic to now, the Trump administration’s approach to managing COVID-19 communication with the American public has been fraught with secrecy, inconsistencies, and generally restrictive or down-right dismissive of evidence-based scientific expertise. It’s long past time for him to approach all aspects of the pandemic, including its impact on his own health, openly and honestly. The American people have a right to that.