At a time when the next US presidential election is just 32 days away, diagnosis of President Donald Trump with the coronavirus gave a big blow to the electoral campaign of the Republican Party.
The development threw the election into unexpected chaos and raised the grave possibility of more American crises over governance and national security at an already perilous moment.
Trump is now being undergoing treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
In the meantime, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and the President's campaign manager Bill Stepien had both tested positive on early Saturday. Besides, two US senators who had attended Trump's Supreme Court nomination announcement last weekend tested positive, reports CNN
It was a remarkably fast escalation of the virus' threat -- which the President has long downplayed -- from an infection that caused him mild symptoms, to a fever to then being airlifted to the hospital, all while spreading quickly throughout the government and his campaign.
Now, uncertainty grips the electoral campaign as Trump has no choice but to remove himself from the campaign trail for a prolonged period.
According to a White House official, Trump has mild symptoms of the virus. A person familiar with the matter said Friday afternoon that Trump had had a fever since that morning.
Persons who interacted with the President Thursday said Trump appeared tired, but was not displaying major symptoms.
Even if he and the first lady are not seriously affected, medical advice suggests that they should isolate for at least 10 days after symptoms appear -- nearly half the length of the time remaining in the presidential race.
Trump's positive test is a political disaster for his campaign -- given that he is lagging behind Biden in many swing states and already seemed to need a game changer event in his favor to come from behind in the limited time remaining.
The next presidential debate -- following Trump's tantrum-filled performance last week -- is in particular doubt. The clash is scheduled for October 15 in Miami. And though Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the virus Friday morning, he has been around top aides and the President in a White House that is now a virus hotspot, so there must be doubts that his showdown with Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris of California can go ahead as planned on Wednesday night.
The staggering news of Trump's plight -- which he communicated in an overnight tweet -- means that Biden -- another elderly man vulnerable to Covid-19 complications, who was across an indoor stage from a shouting and venting President for 90 minutes at their debate on Tuesday night, will probably also have to be tested for the coronavirus which can spread through airborne droplets.
The image of the Trump entourage ostentatiously removing their masks in the audience before the debate is now especially resonant.
And another top Republican official, Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, has tested positive for coronavirus.
Above all, the electioneering is no doubt in uncertainty with no sign of respite.