- The White House’s current coronavirus outbreak is the worst in any major government in the world.
- Russia, the UK, Brazil, and India have all seen the virus at top levels of government, including some national leaders.
- But only the US had the combination of a sickened head of state plus a broader outbreak among those beneath him.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The coronavirus outbreak at the White House is the worst to hit any major seat of government, an analysis by Business Insider has found.
The US is not alone in having the core of its central government stricken by COVID-19, nor is it the only country to have its national leader test positive.
But the number of senior US officials, along with their high level of seniority, makes the outbreak among the Trump Administration the worst so far.
Politico has counted 34 people who tested positive since President Donald Trump announced he had COVID-19 on October 1.
Many were guests at Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination ceremony, at which social distancing was not observed and almost nobody wore masks. The event is now being scrutinized as a possible “super-spreader” event, as Business Insider’s Aylin Woodward and Susie Neilson reported.
Among them are 16 senior figures in the Trump administration. They include First Lady Melania Trump, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Senior Adviser Steven Miller, and former Governor Chris Christie. And, of course, there is the president himself.
President Donald Trump is one of a small number of world leaders to test for the virus, along with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. But those leaders saw a far fewer in their inner circle also fall ill.
India and Russia saw large numbers of officials fall sick, but the illness did not touch their leaders. Here is Business Insider’s rundown:
President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for COVID-19 in early July, having publicly belittled the seriousness of the virus and flouted public health recommendations. His wife Michelle also tested positive, according to Reuters.
Brazil’s government was also hit hard. By August, eight out of the country’s 23 cabinet ministers had tested positive, Reuters reported.
Five members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet had tested positive for the coronavirus by August, according to Bloomberg. This included one of Modi’s most trusted aides and Minister for Internal Security Amit Shah.
Reported cases of the coronavirus in India — the second worst-hit country in the world after the US — have only just begun to drop from a September high of nearly 100,000 new cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Regional ministers did not escape that toll, with 16 testing positive for the coronavirus by August, according to Indian newspaper the Deccan Herald. Modi has not fallen sick.
Several Russian lawmakers have contracted the coronavirus and recovered throughout the pandemic, including Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Vladimir Putin’s head spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
Overall, at least 60 members of Russia’s State Duma — its lower house — have been infected with the coronavirus throughout the pandemic, according to The Moscow Times. At least 10 of those were hospitalized in September, the paper reported.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized with COVID-19 in late March. Two other senior members of the government — Health Ministers Matt Hancock and Nadine Dorries also tested positive in March, while Johnson’s most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, showed symptoms.
Iran, one of the first countries to see large numbers of infections, saw around 8% of its entire parliament test positive in March amid an atmosphere of denialism amongst its leadership. Early in the pandemic, Iran likely had the hardest hit world government.
This figure included Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar and the Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi.
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