Donald Trump returned to the subject of his COVID-19 experience at a rally in Pennsylvania Tuesday evening. Speaking on the subject of health and immunity, he announced that he could come into the audience and kiss everyone, especially one man who the president pointed out as particularly handsome, but that he wouldn’t enjoy it much. He also complained that he’s recently heard there’s no guarantee of immunity after contracting the virus.
“Now I’m immune, they tell me,” the president declared. Illustrating his professed immunity, he said, “I’ll kiss every guy. Man and woman. Man and woman. Look at that guy, how handsome he is. I’ll kiss him. Not — not with a lot of enjoyment, but that’s okay.”
"You're immune right now" — Trump asks how many people in the audience have had coronavirus, then falsely congratulates them on being immune (there are documented cases of people being reinfected) pic.twitter.com/7l4BnalBVP
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 14, 2020
He went on to declare those members of his audience who have already had the virus immune, before claiming that before he caught the virus, “in the old days,” it was presumed that once someone had the virus, they were immune for life, but since he’s been ill, the idea is being promoted that it could only be a few months of immunity.
In fact, new data released Tuesday, as reported by Courthouse News, shows that not only is reinfection a possibility for at least some people who have already had COVID-19, but symptoms in a second infection could be more severe. However, the possibility of reinfection isn’t completely new. Even in April, NPR was reporting on warnings from the World Health Organization that there was not sufficient evidence to support assumption of immunity after an infection.
CNN‘s Daniel Dale, who keeps a running fact-check of the president, noted that Trump’s suggestion of an anti-Trump conspiracy in the form of stolen immunity were baseless.
Trump baselessly suggests there is an anti-Trump conspiracy to claim, now that he has had the coronavirus, that people who have had it are not immune for life. ("Once I got it, they give you four months.") We just don't know for sure, and we also didn't know before he got it.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 14, 2020
Notably, just over a week ago, Trump seemed less certain about the long-term effects of antibodies against future infections, saying, in a video released shortly after his discharge from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, “Maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.”
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com