NEW YORK, Oct 02 (APP): US President Donald Trump and first lady, Melania, have tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House physician announced Friday morning.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) and I tested positive for COVID-19.
We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump tweeted early Friday.
“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,” presidential physician Sean Conley said in a memo released by the White House.
“The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions.
Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments,” Conley added.
The news came after White House adviser Hope Hicks, a close aide to Trump, tested positive for COVID-19. Hicks traveled with President Trump on Air Force One, the presidential plane, earlier in the week.
Trump’s infection threw the nation’s leadership into uncertainty and escalating the crisis posed by a coronavirus pandemic that has already killed more than 207,000 Americans and devastated the economy.
Other aides to the president would not say whether he was experiencing symptoms, but people at the White House noticed that his voice sounded raspy on Thursday, although it was not clear that it was abnormal for him, especially given the number of campaign rallies he has been holding lately.
Trump, who rarely wears masks, has for months played down the severity of the virus and told a political dinner just Thursday night that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”
Trump’s positive test result could pose immediate difficulties for the future of his campaign against former Vice President Joseph Biden, his Democratic challenger, with just 33 days before the election on Nov. 3, The New York Times said.
Even if Trump, 74, remains asymptomatic, he will have to withdraw from the campaign trail and stay isolated in the White House for an unknown period of time.
If he becomes sick, it could raise questions about whether he should remain on the ballot at all, the Times said.
Even if he does not become seriously ill, the positive test could prove devastating to his political fortunes given his months of diminishing the seriousness of the pandemic even as the virus was still ravaging the country and killing about 1,000 more Americans every day.
Trump has repeatedly predicted the virus “is going to disappear,” asserted that it was under control and insisted that the country was “rounding the corner” to the end of the crisis. He has also scorned scientists, saying they were mistaken on the severity of the situation.