Trump’s positive coronavirus test is just the latest twist in the strangest of all US elections

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nevitably, the news that Donald Trump has tested positive for coronavirus has triggered a wave of jokes, memes and conspiracy theories, and not all well-intentioned. President Trump has been that kind of president, and his response to the pandemic invites such uncharitable reactions. His flaws are well documented. Still, it seems perverse not to wish him a speedy recovery on purely compassionate grounds, and the same for Melania Trump and Hope Hicks. Covid-19 is an appalling disease, and “long Covid” can inflict sustained disability on those who survive it.

That then is the latest reframing of context in this presidential election, already the strangest in American history. Even before Mr Trump made his announcement, Americans were being asked to choose between two septuagenarians, with a combined age of 151.

On a purely objective actuarial basis, the American voter was having to think carefully about Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s respective running mates. By the next election in 2024, and possibly well before, one of Mike Pence and Kamala Harris could be in the White House. Mr Trump’s positive coronavirus test should start to concentrate minds still more on these permutations.

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