Barron Trump with his parents, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump. ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images
President Donald Trump referenced his son Barron’s coronavirus diagnosis while arguing that schools in the US should reopen their campuses.
Using incorrect terms at his Wednesday rally in Iowa, Trump said: “Barron Trump, he had the corona-19. He had the China virus, right?”
Trump said Barron was asymptomatic and recovered quickly, then added: “It happens. People have it, and it goes. Get the kids back to school.”
Even after his infection, Trump has continued to downplay the effects of the coronavirus.
Many schools have reopened across the country, while others have stayed closed or offered a mix of virtual and in-person learning.
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President Donald Trump cited his son Barron’s coronavirus diagnosis while saying that schools in the US should reopen their campuses.
First lady Melania Trump said in a Wednesday blog post that Barron, 14, had tested positive for the COVID-19 after she and the president did earlier this month.
“Luckily he is a strong teenager and exhibited no symptoms,” the first lady said, adding that Barron has since tested negative.
President Trump also referenced Barron’s diagnosis at his rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday.
“Barron Trump, he had the corona-19. He had the China virus, right?” Trump said, using an incorrect term for the disease caused by the virus and a term that appears designed to deflect blame to China.
Barron, the president, and Melania Trump on the White House South Lawn in November. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
According to The Hill, Trump added: “And he had it for such a short period of time. I don’t even think he knew he had it because they’re young and their immune systems are strong and they fight it off 99.9%. And Barron is beautiful, and he’s free, free.”
He then said schools should reopen their campuses: “It happens. People have it, and it goes. Get the kids back to school. We’ve got to get them back to school.”
The president has publicly downplayed the effects of the coronavirus for months and has continued to do so after his infection earlier this month.
Many schools have reopened across the country, while others have stayed closed or offered a mix of virtual and in-person learning. Some schools have closed again after outbreaks.
The Hill reported that Barron’s private school in Washington, DC, has conducted only virtual classes so far this school year.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines say that while children appear to get less sick from the virus, they can still be infected with it and spread it to others.
“Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all,” the CDC says. “However, some children can get severely ill from COVID-19. They might require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe. In rare cases, they might die.”
Children entering their school in Godley, Texas, in August. LM Otero/AP
Trump falsely claimed earlier this year that children are “almost immune” to COVID-19. Facebook later removed a video post that Trump shared while making that claim.
The president also said of children in July: “There may be a case — a tiny, a tiny fraction of death, tiny fraction — and they get better very quickly.
“I think schools have to open. We want to get our economy going.”
He also said in July that “a lot of people” say children “don’t transmit” the coronavirus, a claim disputed by many experts.
Trump has been pushing for schools to reopen since the summer and threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that don’t start teaching students in person again in the fall.
But Business Insider’s Sonam Sheth reported at the time that many public-health officials were cautioning against school reopenings over a lack of research into how the virus affects children and fears that schools could become centers of transmission for the virus.
Schoolchildren in Angers, France, in May. DAMIEN MEYER/AFP via Getty Images
In July, the CDC delayed the release of new guidelines to schools on how they could reopen safely after Trump said an earlier version was “tough & expensive.”
Trump called on US schools to reopen, citing the fact that schools had already reopened in Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden — though those countries gave children strict rules and social-distancing guidelines similar to those that Trump said were too strict.
Many European countries are now scrambling to try and find ways to keep schools open as coronavirus cases surge again.
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