Hundreds of millions of Americans woke up on Friday morning to the news that President Donald Trump has tested positive for COVID-19, as has the First Lady Melania Trump. The president himself confirmed the news in a tweet early Friday morning. “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “We will get through this TOGETHER!” The news came just two hours after it was discovered that Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest aides, had tested positive for coronavirus. The White House doctor then confirmed the president’s diagnosis in a letter, saying that “the President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”

It goes without saying that there will be no bigger news story on Friday and over the weekend. Stock futures began to tumble immediately following the revelation, and the coming days will undoubtedly be tumultuous in every regard. If there’s one bright spot to be found in this terrible story, however, it’s that there’s one possible outcome of the president’s battle with COVID-19 that could end up being good news for all of us.

Regardless of your political affiliation and your stance on Trump and his policies, it should go without saying that we all hope the president and First Lady make a full recovery. Some experts are concerned that the president’s age and weight are risk factors for serious coronavirus complications. While that is true, it’s also important to keep in mind that the Trumps have the best possible care at their disposal, including some of the finest medical professionals in the world as well as every available treatment. They might even have some promising treatments at their disposal that aren’t available to most people yet, further improving the chances that they will both make full recoveries.

It’s certainly not good news that the president caught COVID-19. But there is one possible outcome that could have a significant positive impact on the course of the coronavirus pandemic in this country.

While the quality of Trump’s early response to the COVID-19 pandemic is open to debate, there’s no question that his messaging to the American people in the early months of the pandemic was problematic. The president regularly downplayed the threat posed by the virus and said that the US had things under control. Meanwhile, COVID-19 was spreading rapidly in regions all across the country. The massive spikes of covid infections and coronavirus deaths in March and April made it clear that the novel coronavirus was indeed as dangerous as many health experts had been warning the whole time. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done and many of the president’s most enthusiastic followers maintain to this day that COVID-19 isn’t a serious disease.

We’ve seen countless examples of people who refused to believe the coronavirus is dangerous until it was too late. One of the most well-known examples comes from back in July when a Texas coronavirus denier shared his story. The man truly believed that the coronavirus pandemic was a liberal hoax and that the “mainstream media and the Democrats were using it to create panic, crash the economy and destroy Trump’s chances at re-election.” Then he caught COVID-19 and spread it to his entire family, ultimately killing at least one of his relatives. We’ve seen dozens of similar stories over the past few months, including one as recently as earlier this week when a coronavirus denier detailed his terrifying battle with the disease.

Coronavirus denial absolutely cannot be blamed entirely on the president, of course. But it goes without saying that he had a huge amount of influence over many groups of people in America who haven’t been taking the pandemic seriously. And that’s where the good news comes in.

Countless people who had not been taking precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic will now see that the president has contracted the disease. This could have a huge influence on their outlook. Even more importantly, this could be the perfect opportunity for Trump to completely change his stance and messaging surrounding the virus.

That, of course, is the best possible outcome of Trump having caught covid. The president will hopefully make a full recovery and when he does, he might address the American people with a new perspective on the disease. Regardless of the severity of the president’s course — don’t forget, the majority of coronavirus cases are relatively mild — Trump’s first-hand experience with the disease could have a profound impact on him.

Following his own battle with COVID-19, the president could decide to urge Americans to take the virus more seriously and follow the basic precautionary guidelines that health experts have been advising. He might plead with the American people and tell them to wear face masks, practice strict social distancing, and wash their hands after touching surfaces or objects that could be contaminated.

This isn’t new information, of course, but it could have a tremendous impact on large groups of people who had previously been ignoring this crucial advice. Of course, the opposite is true as well. The president could make a speedy recovery and then downplay the severity of the virus, bragging that it didn’t affect him much at all. This would be the worst possible outcome because it would embolden people who already aren’t taking the pandemic seriously.

We sincerely hope that’s not the case, and that the president will use his firsthand experience with COVID-19 to urge Americans to be safe. It’s not overstating things to say that advice like that coming from Trump has the potential to completely change the course of the coronavirus pandemic in the US.

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.