Despite consistently downplaying the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and mocking Vice President Joe Biden for partaking in safe practices like wearing masks and social distancing, President Trump found himself a recipient of Regeneron, an antibody cocktail, and immediately had access to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after being diagnosed. When the average individual finds themself victim to the same diagnosis plaguing Trump, they are confined to their home and urged to 'self-monitor' their condition, being ushered out and abandoned by American healthcare. The only distinction between these two situations boils down to one thing: privilege.
Immediately after disclosing his diagnosis to the public, Trump tweeted, "We will get through this TOGETHER!" However, what he failed to acknowledge was that the collective 'we' he was referring to consisted of those with wealth and/or power, including individuals like professional athletes and politicians, who had access to the same remarkable treatment plans and facilities he did. The average individual will not get through this "TOGETHER," and it's absurd—and certainly terribly alarming—for Trump to market this pandemic as something easily resolved.
These massive disparities in treatment are a product of systemic racism, which Vice President Mike Pence incorrectly denied the existence of during the vice presidential debate on October 7. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the COVID-19 death rate among Black and Indigineous individuals was over twice as high as that of their white counterparts. The areas with the greatest demand for testing resources, which are frequently delayed, are areas that are not predominantly white.
The Kaiser Family Foundation also reports that income plays a critical role in the outcome of a COVID-19 diagnosis. Adults with incomes less than $15,000 have a risk of serious illness that is more than twice that of individuals with incomes greater than $50,000. Individuals who are BIPOC and/or lacking wealth are not the 'we' that Trump is referring to as they will likely never see the treatments Trump underwent.
In addition to Regeneron and remdesivir, Trump was given dexamethasone, a steroid that is only prescribed to the common patient when they are extremely ill and on an oxygen device. Even in the case where an individual is able to apply to be given Regeneron through the compassionate use program, it will take days to arrive and the window will likely have closed. This, of course, was not the case for Trump.
These disparities are incredibly frustrating but an expected byproduct of America's consistent failure to support its most vulnerable populations with adequate healthcare and resources. However, what's unexpected is the way Trump frames both this pandemic and his quick 'recovery' as something universal—something the average individual diagnosed with COVID-19 will relate to.
On October 5, the day Trump was discharged, he appeared at the White House and removed his mask despite his infection, putting many at risk. His refusal to consider the seriousness of the pandemic is dangerous and the rhetoric he spreads regarding how easy it is to recover from is deadly. His words will only resonate with those with privilege.