Out on the MAGA world fringes, people were divided. Some swiftly predicted rosy outcomes — the president was already healthy, he could take hydroxychloroquine, a much-hyped drug Trump has touted as a Covid-19 treatment with no conclusive evidence. Others concocted theories that the Democrats were, somehow, trying to steal the election once again…

Yet the base’s response mirrors the way Trump has instructed his followers to react to any pandemic-related news: downplay, craft optimistic storylines and accuse the Democrats and media of obfuscation and vitriol. It’s how the president has reacted to nearly every unwelcome pandemic-related development in recent months, whether it was early concerns over personal protective equipment and hospital space, or a death toll that recently surpassed 200,000…

“You’ve never seen him sick. You’ve never seen him without energy,” Brenden Dilley, a self-described “MAGA life coach,” told his viewers on his radio show Friday. “[He’s] not walking around with weak-ass, p—- f—— genetics. He ain’t got those liberal genes. These are, like, god-tier genetics; top 1-percentile genetics.”