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Trump falls in polls over COVID response

A series of new national polls have painted a grim picture for Donald Trump, with the US President trailing behind Opposition leader Joe Biden putting his pandemic response under the spotlight.The Wall Street Journal/NBC survey, which was taken shortly after the presidential debate, was released on Sunday and shows 54 per cent of voters were…

A series of new national polls have painted a grim picture for Donald Trump, with the US President trailing behind Opposition leader Joe Biden putting his pandemic response under the spotlight.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC survey, which was taken shortly after the presidential debate, was released on Sunday and shows 54 per cent of voters were backing the democratic nominee, while 39 per cent indicated they would be voting for Mr Trump.

While the President’s COVID-19 diagnosis and hospitalisation has drawn sympathy, many citizens believe his situation is the result of Mr Trump not taking the pandemic seriously enough.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday shows the vast majority of Americans believe Mr Trump didn’t take the coronavirus threat seriously, nor did he do enough to protect himself from the virus.

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Voters were asked two questions, with 72 per cent claiming the President did not take the “risk of contracting the virus seriously enough”, nor “the appropriate precautions when it came to his personal health”.

Throughout the pandemic Mr Trump has been accused of attempting to make the virus seem less severe than it really was, with a leaked recording catching the President admitting he had deliberately downplayed the severity of the illness.

“I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic,” Mr Trump said during a recorded interview with journalist Bob Woodward.

During the presidential debate on Tuesday, Trump mocked Mr Biden for wearing a mask in public.

The President said he wore masks “when needed” but said his opponent wore masks unnecessarily when people were “200 feet away from him and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen”.

Mr Trump is still being treated at the Walter Reed medical centre near Washington D.C, but his doctors said he has “continued to improve” and could be back in the White House tomorrow.

In a briefing outside the medical centre, Mr Trump’s doctors said his oxygen levels had briefly dropped twice in recent days and that he was being treated with steroids, while continuing to provide an upbeat assessment of the 74-year-old’s health and outlook.

“The President has continued to improve,” said his White House physician, Sean Conley.

“As with any illness, there are frequent ups and downs over the course.”

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Brian Garibaldi, another of Mr Trump’s doctors, said the President had been “up and around” and was feeling well.

“Our plan for today is to have him eat and drink, be up out of bed as much as possible, to be mobile,” Dr Garibaldi said.

“And, if he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course.”

There are concerns the President may have potentially exposed thousands of people to COVID-19 after he attended a fundraiser just hours before his positive diagnosis.

The President met with more than 30 donors on Thursday in Bedminster, New Jersey, despite knowing one of his close advisers, Hope Hicks, had contracted the virus.

There were more than 200 people at the fundraiser and a contact-tracing operation underway in New Jersey is looking at potentially thousands of people who may have been exposed.

Another event, held on September 26 in the White House Rose Garden has also come under intense focus, with multiple attendees testing positive to the virus.

Mr Trump held the crowded event to formally announce his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court.

Pictures from the event show social distancing guidelines being ignored and very few attendees wearing masks.

At least eight people who attended the event, including the President and First lady, have now confirmed they have contracted the virus.

The other people infected with COVID-19 include New Jersey ex-Governor Chris Christie, former senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, Republican senator from Utah, Mike Lee, North Carolina senator Thom Tillis, University of Notre Dame president Reverend John Jenkins and an unnamed journalist.

– With AFP

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.