On Wednesday, October 14, First Lady Melania Trump revealed that her son Barron Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 shortly after Melania and President Trump received their positive diagnoses. In a short post on the White House website, Melania said that while Barron initially tested negative, but after a few tests, he did come up positive. “Luckily he is a teenager and exhibited no symptoms,” she added while noting that her diagnosis came with minimal symptoms as well. Barron Trump, the only Trump kid who lives in the White House, is only 14 years old — and as a result of his age, he joins the at-least 277,285 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 that have hit school-aged children in the United States since March 1st.
Luckily, Barron didn’t have any symptoms related to COVID-19, per Melania, but his experience does match that of other kids across the country. COVID-19 incidence is twice as high in kids aged 12-17 than it is in kids aged 5-11, the CDC reports, and of those nearly 300,000 cases since March that have been confirmed, kids who had severe outcomes related to COVID-19 by and large had underlying health conditions that worsened their COVID-19 experience.
And although Melania’s message was kind-hearted, full of thank-you’s for the medical team that cared for her family, and full of understanding for people across the country who have contracted COVID-19 — some 7 million people, at this point — it did, very tellingly, lack some important information. For some reason, in the several hundred-word letter, Melania never brought up ways to avoid contracting the virus: wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding touching your face, and washing your hands frequently. Instead, she offered prayers. Which are nice, of course. But it might have been nice if she offered prayers, and a reminder of the best guidance to avoid an illness that has killed over 200,000 Americans in eight months and is still ravaging the country.