Time’s latest cover depicts the White House as a terrifying coronavirus hot zone
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The Oct. 19 issue of Time, which hits newsstands Friday, depicts the White House as a terrifying coronavirus hot zone. In the photo illustration, which was created in-house by the newsweekly’s art department, the chimneys of the so-called People’s House spew clouds of viral particles, underscoring the building’s status as a COVID-19 superspreader site given that various White House denizens from President Trump on down have tested positive for the disease over the past week.
In the issue’s cover essay, Time’s Molly Ball writes, in part, about how Trump’s own sense of himself—his personal branding, if you will—informed his approach to COVID-19 both as a national crisis and as a personal health crisis:
A President obsessed with strength and dominance could never stand to be revealed as a sick, vulnerable old man, a mortal made of flesh like the rest of us, ashes to ashes. There could never be a Wizard of Oz moment for Donald J. Trump, with his might-makes-right brand of politics. In recent weeks, he has bullied the Congress, his political opponent and the very machinery of democracy itself, all while mocking health precautions, practically daring the virus to infect him. He would sacrifice those around him, the country and even potentially his own health—anything it took not to appear weak.
When the President sneezes, America gets a cold. When the President gets COVID-19, America, too, must contemplate its frailty. His pathologies are our pathologies. Trump, like COVID, has scrambled our sense of national identity, with effects that will linger beyond Nov. 3. What have these past four years done to us—and what will it take to recover? Will we be humbled by weakness, or plunge forward in a state of dangerous denial?
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