Trump's Orbit Now Has More New COVID Cases Than Numerous Countries

Several members within President Donald Trump's orbit have tested positive for coronavirus since Friday, including the president himself. The diagnoses have sent shockwaves around the country along with the message that the pandemic is far from over.

With the latest being former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, 14 people in the president's orbit have reported positive diagnoses since Friday—more than the number of newly reported cases in the last 24 hours in Belgium, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand or Vietnam, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In addition to Christie and Trump, the following people have tested positive: first lady Melania Trump; Republican senators Ron Johnson, Thom Tillis and Mike Lee; Trump 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien; Republican National Convention Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel; Notre Dame University President Rev. John Jenkins; one White House staffer and three White House reporters.

The country of Singapore, comparatively, has reported 10 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the WHO. Thailand has reported eight, Taiwan two and both New Zealand and Vietnam one new case each. Sweden and Belgium boast zero new cases.

Other countries, including Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, Chad, Congo, El Salvador, Fiji, Ghana, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Mali, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan and Yemen have reported under 14 cases in the past 24 hours as well.

Trump's Orbit COVID
This combination of file pictures created on October 03, 2020 and shows (L-R, top to bottom) US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2020; US First Lady Melania Trump in Washington, DC, on August 27, 2020; former communications director Hope Hicks in Washington, DC, on March 29, 2018; US Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, in Washington, DC on December 13, 2018; former Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway in Washington, DC on August 26, 2020; Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel in Washington, DC, on August 24, 2020; US Senator Thom Tillis, republican of North Carolina, in Aliaga, Turkey, on April 16, 2018; US Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, in Bratislava on May 27, 2017; Trump Campaign manager Bill Stepien aboard Air Force One on August 28, 2020. As of October 3, 2020, all nine have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last two days. SAUL LOEB,BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI,MANDEL NGAN,ERIC BARADAT,OLIVIER DOULIERY,OZAN KOSE,VLADIMIR SIMICEK/AFP/Getty

While the populations and testing programs of the countries certainly vary, and reporting methods do not always paint a completely accurate picture, the numbers are nonetheless astonishing.

They point to the speed with which the deadly virus can spread among those who are in close contact with one another, as was the case with many people in Trump's orbit, particularly when those people are not proponents of mask-wearing and social distancing.

Trump has long played down the severity of the outbreak and has frequently been pictured in public without a mask. Speaking at a political dinner on Thursday evening just hours before his positive test, the president remarked: "I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight, and next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of our country."

Many experts have begun to point to the September 26 nomination event of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump tapped to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as the source for many of the infections. In addition to the Trumps, Lee, Tillis, Jenkins, Conway and one of the unnamed journalists attended the event.

Several of the guests did not wear masks and were pictured in close proximity of one another. Lee was videoed hugging guests tightly, violating pandemic safety guidelines put forth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommend a distance from others of at least six feet.

(this guy just tested positive for Covid-19)

— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) October 2, 2020

The U.S. has reported more than 7.2 million positive coronavirus cases since the pandemic began earlier this year, more than any other country in the world.