October 09, 2020

When Sitting Presidents Experience Health Problems

President Donald Trump announced last Friday that he and the First Lady had tested positive for Covid-19. President Trump was subsequently hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, returning to the White House on Monday evening. His medical team gave updates on his condition that conflicted with those disclosed by White House staff. President Trump himself released videos and Tweets regarding his condition that caused alarm amongst infectious disease experts and Americans who have lost loved ones to the virus.  In an October 7 article, CNN compares and contrasts President Trump’s behavior with other presidents who have experienced health problems while in office.  The article identifies Woodrow Wilson’s stroke, which was covered up, and FDR’s ongoing health issues as paving the way for a demand for more transparency about a sitting president’s health issues. Not only did President Wilson suffer a stroke while in office, but he also contracted influenza during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. John M. Barry, author of “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History,” states in the article that President Wilson never made a public statement about the public and that, to keep morale up during World War I, the government lied about the severity of the influenza virus, leading to increased deaths.