The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few

For me, Trump getting coronavirus brings up some interesting moral thoughts.

As of now, Trump getting coronavirus has probably saved lives. He, people around him, and now the White House (thanks to a directive from the national security chief) are wearing masks. He is treating it very seriously - taking an experimental drug and going to Walter Reed where he can be monitored by the best the world has to offer.

Consequently, people who were listening to him before (he was found to be the source of 38% of coronavirus misinformation), are now getting a completely different message. The last words of many people who died was to plead with others to not make the mistake they did of believing Trump, but that has had little effect.

This is different. Trump getting coronavirus is going to prevent other people getting (and spreading) it, saving maybe tens of thousands of lives.

The only caveat to this is it depends on what the outcome is. If he continues to only have mild symptoms, then it is likely that when he recovers he will downplay it and boast about how he easily beat it. In which case, those prone to believe him will become as or even more reckless than before.

So unfortunately, I am left concluding, that for the needs of the many, Trump may have to suffer quite badly from coronavirus for there to be a meaningful change in behavior by his supporters.

(Note that this is regardless of the election result. Win or lose, many Trump supporters will continue to base their behavior on what Trump says).

Trump confessed to Bob Woodward privately in the early days of the pandemic that the virus was very serious while publicly making statements to the contrary.

In my opinion, much of what Trump says publicly is what he believes his supporters want to hear.

However, I do not believe the vast majority are blindly loyal to him, even if it may seem that way when they are interviewed.

Trump would lose support quickly if he said the "wrong" things and would probably be replaced by some other even more provocative champion of ignorance lying in wait.

There is growing number of people who distrust objective data and instead buy into absurd conspiracy theories. This is something that will outlive Trump.

Your own description of what he said publicly vs privately about coronavirus are a good example of him saying the wrong things and there has been no drop in his support.

Like he said, he could shoot someone in 5th Avenue.

Trump has hypnotized / brainwashed the vast majority of his supporters. It's a cult. They will follow him regardless of whether it makes sense or whether he makes a 180 degree change in what he says.

@golan I put "wrong" in quotes to convey that I was not actually referring to something objectively or morally wrong, but instead something that would be deeply incompatible with the worldview of his (far-right/alt-right) supporters.

Understood. And I see what you are getting at.

While I agree there are some on the far right who think more independently, and hold extreme views (eg Ann Coulter has attacked Trump while still supporting him), a lot of the people who go along with Trump do so because they are not critical thinkers and are more easily manipulated by fear.

Trump has taken advantage of this better than anyone. If Trump was not around, others would attempt to fill the gap but would not be as effective as him, although they will certainly try (notice how many politicians and media types have become Trump like ever since Trump showed them the way).