Almost since the coronavirus landed on American shores and began killing people, first with a big outbreak in the Greater Seattle area and then on to every state in the country, President Donald Trump has been denying the seriousness of the pandemic.

At a recent campaign rally, he told the unmasked, undistanced crowd that almost no one was affected by the coronavirus, except old people. Time and again he has undercut suggestions that everyone wear masks in public to block spread of the disease and has made fun of his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, for being diligent about keeping his face covered.

Now, the president has joined the ranks of COVID-19 victims. Friday evening, he was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment and observation after testing positive. It is not clear yet whether Trump will be lucky enough to experience just a mild infection or something worse. What is clear is that going unprotected at numerous public events has been a terrible idea, both for the president and for several people around him, including the First Lady, who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

One question yet to be answered is how his supporters will react to the news. Will all the people who have bought into Trump’s denial of the pandemic’s seriousness now start donning masks? Will they accept the reality that the disease is not a hoax? Will they finally believe the statistic that more than 200,000 Americans have died after getting infected?

The answers to those questions will tell us just how many of our fellow citizens remain insanely wedded to dangerous fictions because their political beliefs are more powerful than reality.

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