A friend of President Donald Trump whom the president said entered the hospital “for a mild stay” but then slipped into a coma due to the coronavirus, has died.
New York real estate mogul Stanley Chera, a longtime friend of Trump, died at a New York hospital where he was battling the virus, a source said.
Although the president never mentioned Chera by name during his briefings on the virus, he described Chera’s battle with COVID-19 as a sobering moment for him personally.
“I have some friends that are unbelievably sick,” Trump said at the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on March 30. “We thought they were going in for a mild stay and, in one case, he’s unconscious, in a coma. And you say, ‘How did that happen?'”
At the next day’s briefing, a somber Trump called on Americans to be “prepared for the hard days that lie ahead” as health advisers announced new projections indicating between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans could die from the virus.
You “think of it as the flu, but it’s not the flu. It’s vicious,” Trump said. “When you send a friend to the hospital and you call up to find out how is he doing — it’s happened to me. Where he goes to the hospital, he says goodbye, he’s sort of a tough guy — a little older, a little heavier than he’d like to be, frankly — and you call up the next day, ‘How’s he doing?’ and, ‘Sir, he’s in a coma.’ This is not the flu.”
Asked at the next briefing whether his friend’s struggle represented a turning point in this thinking about the virus, Trump said, “Yeah, well, not a turning point, no. Before that, I knew how — because I’m seeing numbers and I’m seeing statistics that are, you know, not exactly very good.”
“But — but it hit him very hard,” Trump continued. “He’s strong — a very strong kind of a guy. But he’s older. He’s heavier. And he’s sort of central casting for what we’re talking about, and it hit him very hard. I’ve never seen anything like it.”