It didn't take long — seconds, maybe — for the Trump-Covid conspiracy theories to sprout all over the internet.
The most obvious one is that the American president, lagging in the polls and having flopped in the big televised debate on Tuesday night, is malingering in a desperate bid for public sympathy.
With just 31 days to go until Election Day, he's pulling a fast one in order to shake up the race. If that were somehow true, it would be an extraordinarily stupid stunt — and Donald Trump just isn't that dumb.
Far from helping him, Trump's Covid infection is a political disaster for him. On a practical level, the infection will knock him off the campaign trail for over a week at the crunch phase of the election cycle.
Trump's press team claim he can carry out his duties from his emergency offices at the Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda. Maybe he can. But he can't fly to the battleground states, and do his rallies, which is what he desperately needs to do in the coming days.
Trump takes quite a lot of pride in his "dragon energy". He wants the world to think of him as super-human. Being laid out by what he calls the "China Virus" is not the image he wants to present.
He's spent months mocking Joe Biden for "hiding in his basement" during the pandemic. Now he's in hospital.
On Tuesday night he teased Biden for always wearing a mask. Now the joke's on him, as lots of social media twits are gleefully pointing out. Most people aren't so mean-spirited.
The American public as a whole will wish him and Melania well. The Trumps may even be more popular at this moment than at any stage in his presidency. But widespread well-wishing does not necessarily translate into political capital.
Boris Johnson, remember, enjoyed a splurge of mass affection after nearly dying from Covid. But that sympathy faded fast as his administration struggled to grapple with the pandemic.
Team Trump desperately wanted to move the national conversation away from Covid — a weak point for them, politically. The campaign's messaging has been all about recovery — the great Trump economy rebounding after the shock of the pandemic.
"American Comeback" is its new mantra. But a sick president spoils all that. This will be the Covid election and that's bad news for Donald Trump. Trump's campaigners will tell you his Covid response has been much better than the media makes out.
He shut out flights from China early on — a move Joe Biden opposed — and he's been eager to reopen the economy in order to avoid a generation-spoiling financial collapse.
At the height of the crisis in March, however, Trump was perhaps at his worst, and the public noticed. His daily Covid press briefings were so disturbing even he realised he had to stop them.
He would ramble about miracle cures such as "bleach" and UV rays. He repeatedly insisted the disease would just "disappear". Trump and his team have been cavalier in their approach to social distancing — as infections in his circle now prove.
The Rose Garden ceremony Trump held on September 26 to announce Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court involved 150 people sitting closely together without masks. That is now being called a "super spreader" event.
The impression of a reckless and amateur administration is not one that endears voters in a time of crisis.
Trump could make a swift recovery, resume campaigning at full speed, and somehow turn this nightmarish moment to his advantage. Never underestimate his ability to bounce back.
But for now, the situation looks dire. Covid probably won't kill him, but it may prove fatal to his re-election.