President Donald Trump shared some emphatic advice to prevent the spread of coronavirus on Saturday morning. In an all-caps tweet he wrote simply: "SOCIAL DISTANCING!" The post came out of context and seemed to confuse some readers. President Trump was on Twitter early on Saturday morning, praising conservative pundit Candace Owens and commenting on trends in the fraught stock market.
He then tweeted about "attending meetings on Covid-19 in the White House," writing that he was "working with States and local governments, many of whom have done a great job. Full report latter! [sic]" The president capped it all off with his two-word tweet: "SOCIAL DISTANCING!" While some followers were supportive of the president, the replies quickly filled up with some people criticizing his handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
SOCIAL DISTANCING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2020
"Maybe instead of screaming out slogans like a hyped-up parakeet, you can either explain to the American people what social distancing entails or commit to the practice yourself like promising not to hold huge rallies with bigly crowds," wrote medical doctor Eugene Gu, a prominent voice on Twitter. "Social distancing is something we all must do during the coronavirus pandemic. It means that when we leave our homes, we do the tasks that are necessary like going to work, buying groceries, getting care at the clinic, and other essential tasks while avoiding crowds and others."
Other respondents simply shared photos and videos of the president's recent encounters with other people — including public officials from overseas. Many are concerned by the president's contact with those who may have been exposed to the virus.
Attending meetings on Covid-19 in the White House. Working with States and local governments, many of whom have done a great job. Full report latter!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2020
Brazilian President Jai Bolsonaro, for example, has been exposed to the coronavirus, and last weekend he visited President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. President Trump reportedly said that he was "not conerned" about the risk to his health, and White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement on the matter, published by Business Insider.
"The White House is aware of public reports that a member of the Brazilian delegation's visit to Mar-a-Lago last weekend tested positive for COVID-19; confirmatory testing is pending," it read. "Exposures from the case are being assessed, which will dictate the next steps. Both the President and Vice President had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time."
So far, the president has reportedly not been tested since then.