Washington, Oct 6 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he intends to participate in the Oct. 15 election debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, after being released on Monday from the hospital where he had been receiving treatment after being infected with the coronavirus.
“I am looking forward to (participating in) the debate on the evening of Thursday, October 15th in Miami. It will be great!” tweeted Trump.
“FEELING GREAT!” said the president in another tweet.
A few hours before sending those tweets, the president had written another Twitter message in which he compared Covid-19 with the flu and downplaying its seriousness.
“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” wrote Trump on Twitter.
Later, Twitter hid that tweet from general public view with a warning that its content violated the social network’s rules regarding “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19,” but Twitter added that “it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible” and thus it can still be accessed, albeit with an additional click.
Trump participated in the first face-to-face debate with Biden last Tuesday in Cleveland, Ohio, just a few days before he – the president – was diagnosed with Covid-19 after one of his close advisers, Hope Hicks, had become infected.
During that first debate, several of the guests and family members invited by the president sat listening to the candidates without wearing facemasks, in contrast to Biden’s guests and family members, who did wear them throughout the contest.
After the president tested positive for the coronavirus, Biden, too, had to submit to a test, which was negative.
In recent days, more than a dozen people close to Trump – including first lady Melania Trump, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and campaign director Bill Stepien – have all been diagnosed with Covid-19.
After that first debate, a second one is scheduled to be held in Miami on Oct. 15 and a third (and last) face-off between Trump and the former vice president on Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The plan to hold the in-person debates was thrown into disarray after Trump tested positive for Covid and then had to be taken to Walter Reed hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, near Washington.
The president was released back to the White House on Monday, although his doctor admitted that he “is not out of the woods” regarding the disease and his prognosis is unknown because he received a type of treatment not provided to other Covid patients.
Shortly after leaving the hospital, Trump suggested that he is already immune to the coronavirus and encouraged people not to be afraid of the disease, this in a video he taped just after arriving back at the White House on Friday evening and which he later posted on Twitter.
The US is the nation that has been hardest hit by the pandemic, with almost 7.5 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 210,000 deaths, according to the independent tally being kept by The Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, Biden continues to increase his lead over Trump in the voter surveys, enjoying a 16-point advantage over the president, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
The survey conducted by CNN last week after the first electoral debate between the two men, found that 57 percent of likely voters say they would vote for Biden, compared with 41 percent for Trump.
The news comes as reporting indicates that a little over four million Americans have voted early so far, compared with the 75,000 who had done so with a month to go before the 2016 election, and the figure foreshadows a possible record to be set in voting totals.
The CNN survey indicates that Biden has doubled his percentage lead since late August, when he led Trump by eight points, 51 percent to 43 percent.
The survey, which also questioned likely voters, was conducted between last Friday and Sunday, and thus it samples voter opinions after it had become known that Trump had contracted the coronavirus.