Seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump has tested positive for COVID-19.
A few hours after it was leaked on Oct. 1 that longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks had received a positive test, Trump said he and first lady Melania Trump would be quarantining. Later that night, Trump tweeted the confirmation that he and Melania also had been infected with the virus.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19,” Trump tweeted at 12:54am ET on Oct. 2. “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
About 30 minutes later, Melania Trump tweeted out her own statement, writing, “As too many Americans have done this year, @POTUS & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.”
Trump is now the world’s most famous coronavirus patient. Though other politicians like Sen. Rand Paul, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, and a variety of other members of Congress have been infected with COVID-19, the virus has only struck a handful of top leaders from other nations.
Now, Trump joins them.
According to Dr. Sean P. Conley, the president’s physician, Donald Trump and Melania Trump “are both well at this time.” During their quarantine, they will remain at the White House.
“Rest assured,” Cooley said in a statement, “I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”
Throughout the pandemic, Trump has gone out of his way not to recommend masks, and he’s taunted Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing one on the campaign trail. During their debate on Sept. 29, Trump said he didn’t have a problem with people wearing masks and even pulled one out of his suit jacket and waved it toward the camera.
In response, Biden said, “He’s been totally irresponsible in the way in which he handled social distancing and people wearing masks; basically encouraging them not to. He’s a fool on masks.”
Hicks traveled with the president and his team to the debate on Sept. 29. She was also on the president’s helicopter the next day when it flew to Joint Base Andrews. Along with the president and Hicks, Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller were also on Marine One on Sept. 30. None wore masks.
On Oct. 2, it was also reported that Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the RNC, had tested positive, as well. Later that day, the White House announced that Trump would be taken to Walter Reed Medical Hospital and would remain there for a few days so doctors can evaluate his symptoms.
Even after the administration knew about Hicks’ positive test, Trump flew to New Jersey for a fundraiser. According to the Washington Post, “Trump was in close contact with dozens of other people, including campaign supporters at a roundtable event.”
As noted by The Atlantic contributor Norman Ornstein soon after Trump’s positive test announcement, “I was there in the debate hall. The entire Trump entourage came in [with] masks, took them off as soon as they sat down, refused to put them on when asked by Cleveland Clinic personnel. Flouting defiantly the law & rules. And Trump shouting only 8-10 feet from Biden for 90 mins. Oy.”
During the pandemic, Trump has also touted the drug hydroxychloroquine as some kind of cure for the coronavirus—he even said he took the medicine for a cycle—even though it’s been mostly discredited as any kind of help for the virus and was revoked for emergency use by the FDA. There have also been worries that a coronavirus vaccine could receive emergency approval before it’s known if it’s effective and safe just so Trump could benefit politically.
Plus, he continues to hold rallies with thousands of people packed together, and most of the people in those crowds don’t wear a face covering either.
With about a month until Election Day, though, it appears that Trump won’t be holding rallies or meeting with officials in person any time soon.