Trump infection shows he did not take COVID-19 seriously: New Yorkers
Donald Trump (MANDEL NGAN AFP)

Donald Trump's announcement that he has contracted Covid-19 was proof for many of his fellow New Yorkers that the president has not taken the virus seriously enough. But in a country deeply divided by politics, some suspected the news could be a ploy.

In this Democratic bastion, which has lost almost 24,000 people to the virus, many said Friday they were not surprised by the news that the president tweeted out overnight.

"He's still human. I hope the best for him," said Christian Persaud, 19, who lives in Trump's native borough of Queens, which was hit hard by the disease in spring.

"Hopefully that sends the message that people understand that it's very severe and the mask is much needed."

"He didn't think this virus was real serious," said Alex Flores, 24, who works for a private company cleaning up garbage bins on Fifth Avenue, close to Trump Tower. "You have to wear a mask, this virus is something you can't play with."

In a city where mask-wearing has become routine for most people, some saw it as one more sign that the president -- at 74, part of the most at-risk population -- needs to be replaced by Democrat Joe Biden, who tested negative Friday.

"He's an idiot," said Mark, who works in the financial sector. "Wear a mask, wash your hands, it's that simple."

"Let's hope for the moderates and the independents to go, 'Ok, now he really is an idiot.' Hopefully they move over to Biden," he added.

New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, took a more conciliatory line with the president he has clashed with publicly on several occasions.

"My thoughts are with President Trump and the First Lady and I wish them a full and speedy recovery. This virus is vicious and spreads easily. Wear a mask. Let's all look out for each other," he tweeted.

New York is also home to some Trump supporters, even if they are few and far between and usually reluctant to disclose their full names.

"I think it's a trick from Democrats," said Natasha, 56, who works in a store near Trump Tower, and has dual Russia-US citizenship. "They do this over and over again, they have tried so many things against him."

"You can't trust what's going on in the media," she said, echoing a frequent line from the president.


Even among Democrats, there were those who suspect the whole thing is a ploy by the president's reelection campaign.

"It very well might be a trick" on Trump's part, said Rhonda Marin, 60. "We will find out whether he has something up his sleeve."

She said that the situation "is so upside down. I don't know what to think anymore... Everything is troublesome. It's a bad situation."

"Our phone started blowing up last night," said Susan Deutsch, 47, a financial worker originally from California.

She said there was "a lot of suspicion whether or not this is some type of ploy on his part to, just, kind of disrupt the process, or create sympathy" after what she called his poor performance in Tuesday's debate against Biden.

Nevertheless, Deutsch said she hoped the president recovers.

"The worst scenario is he gets very sick and he passes away from it, and I wouldn't wish that to anyone," she said.

Deutsch doubted the news would change anyone's votes at this stage, however. "Everyone is so inoculated" to shock and outrage, she said.

Susan Barder, an independent who is closer to the Republicans on the issue of abortion, wanted the president to recover as quickly as possible.

She also wanted the news to serve a chance for everyone to take a deep breath and reflect on the situation.

"There is so much crazy things going on. What we need is some quiet," she said.