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October 2, 2020

Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus: What you need to know

Daily Briefing

    President Trump in a tweet posted early Friday morning announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and would begin quarantining "immediately."

    Trump tests positive for the new coronavirus and reportedly is experiencing 'mild' symptoms

    Trump's announcement came hours after he, during an appearance on Fox News on Thursday night, confirmed that Hope Hicks, one of his top advisers, had tested positive for the virus.

    Hicks frequently travels with Trump and was part of the team that prepared him for and accompanied him to Tuesday's presidential debate. Hicks began experiencing mild symptoms on Wednesday, after she and Trump had traveled on Air Force One to Duluth, Minnesota, for a campaign rally.

    Hicks later tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but the White House did not immediately release that information, the New York Times reports. Bloomberg on Thursday reported news of Hicks' positive result after receiving the information from people familiar with the matter who asked to remain anonymous.

    In the tweet Trump posted early Friday, he shared the results of his test. "Tonight, [the first lady] and I tested positive for Covid-19," he wrote, adding, "We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!"

    Later, the first lady in a separate tweet wrote, "As too many Americans have done this year, [the president and] I are quarantining at home after testing positive for Covid-19. We are feeling good [and] I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe [and] we will all get through this together."

    In a memo dated Thursday, Sean Conley, the official physician to the president, wrote that Trump and the first lady "are both well at this time" and "plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence."

    Conley added that he and "the White House medical team" would "maintain a vigilant watch" on Trump and the first lady, and that he expects Trump will able "to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering" in the White House's Executive Mansion.

    According to the Times, two people familiar with Trump's condition have said Trump is experiencing mild symptoms of Covid-19. One of those people told the Times that Trump seemed lethargic on Thursday and was experiencing cold-like symptoms.

    The Times reports that a White House official said, as of Thursday night, Trump's treatment plan was still under discussion.

    What the diagnosis could mean for the presidency and presidential election

    Regardless of Trump's possible symptoms of Covid-19, his coronavirus infection means he likely won't be able to attend campaign events for much of this month, the Times reports, which could have implications for his campaign and his participation in future presidential debates.

    The White House has not released details on how long Trump and the first lady will remain isolated. However, the White House has canceled Trump's plans to travel to Florida for a campaign rally on Friday and mostly cleared his official scheduled for Friday, except for a call regarding "Covid-19 support to vulnerable seniors," the Times reports.

    According to CDC, people who test positive for the novel coronavirus but do not develop symptoms of Covid-19 should self-isolate for 10 days after receiving the positive test result, and those who test positive for the virus and develop symptoms of Covid-19 should quarantine for at least 10 days after the onset of their symptoms.

    It's also not clear how Trump, the first lady, and Hicks contracted the coronavirus, which raises questions of whether other White House officials or Trump campaign staff are infected. If there is a larger outbreak among Trump's staff, that, too, could affect both the election and Trump's official duties.

    If Trump were to become medically incapacitated at any point, he could choose to temporarily transfer his presidential powers to Vice President Pence under the 25th amendment, and then reclaim his authority once he deems himself once again fit to serve as president.

    On Friday, a spokesperson for Pence said Pence and the second lady, Karen Pence, had tested negative for the novel coronavirus. "As has been routine for months, … Pence is tested for Covid-19 every day. This morning, Vice President Pence and the Second Lady tested negative for Covid-19," Devin O'Malley, Pence's press secretary, wrote in a tweet.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is the Democratic Party's nominee for president, in a tweet posted on Friday wished Trump a quick recovery, saying he and his wife are sending their "thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery." Biden added, "We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family."

    Biden in a separate tweet posted Friday announced that he and his wife have tested negative for the coronavirus. "I'm happy to report that Jill and I have tested negative for [Covid 19]. Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern. I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands," Biden wrote (Baker/Haberman, New York Times, 10/2; Jacobs/Fabian, Bloomberg, 10/1; Branswell, STAT News, 10/2; Colvin/Miller, Associated Press, 10/2; Madrigal/Meyer, The Atlantic, 10/2; New York Times, 10/3; Forgery, Politico, 10/2; Biden tweet, 10/2 [1]; Melania Trump tweet, 10/2; New York Times, 10/2; Biden tweet, 10/2 [2]).

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