The Coronavirus Case That Could Change Everything: Weekend Reads

Balance of Power

Donald Trump's sudden diagnosis and hospitalization with coronavirus has thrown a wrench into the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election and shaken an administration that was already under fire for its approach to combatting the disease.

Aside from the health danger to the president — who has received an experimental treatment and is especially vulnerable because of his age and weight —  prominent people in political circles around Trump have also tested positive. They include his campaign manager, two Republican senators, former top White House aide Kellyanne Conway and the head of the Republican National Committee.

Trump's re-election drive, rocked this week by a chaotic debate performance against Democratic challenger Joe Biden and a New York Times story reporting that he paid no taxes for 10 of the last 15 years, will also grind to a halt.

Elsewhere, anger is rising in India, where the rape of lower-caste women has triggered nationwide protests. And in the Caucasus, a conflict that's been simmering since the fall of the Iron Curtain just blew up again.

Take a look at these and other major topics from the past seven days in this edition of Weekend Reads.

Michael Winfrey

Biden and Trump on Sept. 29, during the first debate in Cleveland.

Photographer: Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Click here for more of this week's most compelling political images. Tell us how we're doing or what we're missing at

Trump's Covid-19 Diagnosis Reshapes Election a Month From Vote
The president's positive test has dramatically altered the closing weeks of the campaign. As Justin Sink explains, he's now facing not only an unprecedented health challenge but also logistical and staffing chaos about a month before Election Day.

'Top of His Game': The Day Covid-19 Came to Trump's White House
Trump's calendar for October 1 showed a typical day for the president: time for morning tweets and a fundraising event for his cash-strapped campaign. But as Jennifer Jacobs, Misyrlena Egkolfopoulo and Justin Sink report, Trump and a handful of White House officials learned that morning that one of his closest aides, Hope Hicks, had tested positive for Covid-19. Read about how the rest of his day unfolded.

Trump, Biden Campaigns Step Gingerly as President Falls Ill
With Trump sick, he and Biden now face the challenge of finding the right tones for their campaigns. Tyler Pager writes that, for the president, that translates into acknowledging the peril of a virus he repeatedly said would disappear, while Biden must tread more carefully in assailing Trump's response to a pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans.

Three Leaders Downplayed Covid and Ended Up Catching It
The list of world leaders who've contracted Covid-19 is now long. But Trump has joined one that's both shorter and more poignant. As Marc Champion explains, of the 10 nations hardest hit by the virus, at least three – Brazil, the U.K. and the U.S. – are led by politicians who first belittled the disease, then later caught it.

Read more here how Trump, who has played down the seriousness of the virus, may be particularly vulnerable because of his age and weight.

Brexit Enters Endgame With a Defining Call for Boris Johnson
The British prime minister and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are heading for a defining meeting, with each side warning a Brexit deal depends on the other giving way. Johnson has set a deadline for mid-October to reach an agreement, or Britain will crash out of the single market at the year-end, Ian Wishart reports.

Xi's Grandiose Tech Hub Hit by Storms over Trade, Hong Kong
Huawei: No other company has done more to project the image of a technologically advanced China. But its vaulting ambition has landed it in the crosshairs of governments worldwide that see it as the tip of the Communist Party's spear to push China into the lead in global technology, Jeff Black and Allen Wan, with Lin Zhu write.

Protests Erupt in India Following Woman's Death in Rape Case
A series of brutal rapes against women from India's lowest castes are fueling street protests and piling pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. Upmanyu Trivedi, Archana Chaudhary and Sudhi Ranjan Sen report how the death of a 19-year-old Dalit woman has put the spotlight on persistent discrimination.

Why Stakes Are Raised in the Azeri-Armenian Conflict: QuickTake
No peace accord was ever signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia over a war that broke out in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union. While clashes over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area have erupted since, the lethal fighting that started on Sept. 27 differ from past skirmishes and may carry big geo-political consequences, Marc Champion reports.

AMLO Has a Grand Plan to Transform Mexico, on the Cheap
Mexico has the world's fourth-highest virus death toll and faces its biggest economic slump in almost a century. Murders are breaking records and anti-graft efforts are faltering. But if anything, adversity has reinforced President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's determination to transform his country, Juan Pablo Spinetto and Nacha Cattan report.

A Battle Rages Over the Legacy of Nelson Mandela
A fight over graft within South Africa is intensifying, and its outcome could determine whether the continent's most developed nation prospers or fails. Antony Sguazzin explains how the corruption that's slowed growth, bankrupted state companies and hollowed out institutions is threatening the survival of the monolithic ruling party.

And finally ... Japanese graduates who successfully navigate the arduous corporate recruiting process will be rewarded with a secure place on the corporate ladder. But Yoshiaki Nohara reports how, for the country's Lost Generation, many people who were shut out of the employment market in their 20s are still living with their parents and struggling to find direction in middle age.

Michinao Kono runs a self-help group for shut-ins.

Photographer: Photograph by Shiho Fukada for Bloomberg Businessweek



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