President Donald Trump announced early Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19 soon after one of his closest associates, Hope Hicks, contracted the coronavirus.
“Tonight @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will make it through TOGETHER!” Said Trump on Twitter.
In a memo released early Friday morning, Trump’s doctor said the president and first lady plan to stay at the White House “while they recover” and that the medical unit would “keep a vigilant vigil”.
“Rest assured, I expect the president to continue performing his duties uninterruptedly during his recovery and I will keep you informed of future developments,” said White House Doctor Scott Conley.
U.S. stock futures fell more than 1% early Friday after Trump said he tested positive.
Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said contact tracing will be conducted for Trump and Melania Trump and “appropriate notifications and recommendations will be made.” The contact tracing for Hicks has already been completed.
In a tweet, the first lady said that she and her husband “are feeling good and that I have postponed any upcoming engagements. Please make sure you are safe and we can all get through this together.”
The 74-year-old president’s positive outcome is likely to draw the already intense public attention to his handling of the pandemic as he campaigns for re-election against Democrat Joe Biden, who is a leader in national polls.
It wasn’t immediately clear how Trump caught the virus, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans. But Hicks tested positive after flying with Air Force One to the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday and a campaign rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.
“We spent a lot of time with Hope and others. So we’ll see what happens,” Trump said during the Fox interview with Sean Hannity.
Several other members of Trump’s circle tested positive for the virus earlier this year – including National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.
His aides have feared that Trump’s lack of sleep during the final phase of the presidential campaign could make him particularly susceptible to infection. The president did not return to the White House until after midnight after his Tuesday and Wednesday trips. Age also increases the risk of developing serious illness from the virus.
While the development is a cause for concern for Americans, it will make it difficult for the president to continue trying to divert attention from the virus and focus on his valuable campaign issues, such as accusing Democrats of promoting a ruinous socialist agenda and US To allow cities to be overrun by violent protesters.
Trump has tried to lessen the virus’ exposure as polls show the majority of Americans disapprove of his handling of the pandemic, which he said would simply “go away”. Trump has urged states to reopen their economies even as the number of cases has increased.
The president, who initially downplayed the importance of wearing masks and later advocated their use, seldom wore face-covering in public, nor did he follow recommendations to stay six feet away from others. The White House has said these precautions are not needed for Trump as people who are admitted in close proximity will be tested for the virus.
Trump said he did not regret his response to the pandemic, arguing that he “played it up in relation to the action” despite telling journalist Bob Woodward in a taped conversation that he downplayed the threat to avoid Americans frighten. He again doubted whether masks were effective in preventing the virus from being transmitted.
“A lot of people don’t want to wear masks. A lot of people think masks are not good,” Trump told ABC News at a town hall event on September 15.
The President has also repeatedly hosted events where spectators did not wear masks or kept their distance from one another.
On September 13th, he held his first indoor rally in months at a Las Vegas manufacturing facility. He violated a Nevada order that banned gatherings of 50 or more people indoors.
“I’m on stage and it’s very far,” Trump said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, defending his decision to speak to thousands of supporters, few of whom wore masks or practiced social distancing. He spoke at a similar indoor meeting in Arizona the next day.
Days later, Trump spoke to hundreds of people on the southern lawn of the White House at a signing ceremony for diplomatic agreements between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel. Only a few participants were tested for Covid-19.
Trump appeared in front of around 1,500 people on the South Lawn on August 27 to accept the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. Although the Trump campaign followed “strict” security protocols, the District of Columbia prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people. Few people in the crowd wore masks, and White House officials said some but not all of the participants had been tested for Covid-19.
The president began publicly encouraging Americans to wear masks in late July when they are unable to maintain social distance and avoid risky behavior after months of voicing doubts about public health recommendations and promoting unproven treatments .
For example, in May he said he took the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure days after Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for the virus. The Food and Drug Administration revoked the drug’s emergency approval as a Covid-19 treatment a month later, citing its lack of effectiveness and harmful potential side effects.
Trump is also joining other world leaders who have tested positive for the virus, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. All survived, although Johnson became seriously ill.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)