President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both have ‘mild symptoms’ but are in ‘good spirits’ after testing positive for COVID-19.
Trump and Melania announced that they had tested positive in the early hours of Friday morning, hours after he returned from a campaign fundraiser at his New Jersey golf club where he is believed to have come into contact with 100 people. It raised $5million for his campaign. The Trump campaign has now canceled all its events.
Trump may give a televised address to prove to the nation he is still fit to lead on Friday but it has not yet been announced. He and Melania are quarantining in the White House residence.
Melania tweeted on Friday that she had mild symptoms but was feeling ‘good’. Trump has not tweeted since 1am on Friday when he revealed the diagnosis, and was last seen in person on Thursday evening, returning from the fundraiser. He was due to take part in a conference call with governors at 12.15pm but was replaced by Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative.
Joe Biden, 77, and his wife Jill have tested negative.The President’s 14-year-old son Barron, Ivanka and Jared Kushner have also tested negative, as has Vice President Mike Pence.
Sources cited by The New York Times say the President was already lethargic on the way back from Thursday’s New Jersey event, and that he fell asleep on Air Force One on Wednesday night when returning from a rally in Minnesota – something that is highly unusual for the energetic President, who ordinarily spends his time on the aircraft watching television and tweeting. The Minnesota rally was also only half as long as his other rallies.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said it was deemed safe for the president to attend Thursday’s fundraiser.
‘It was deemed safe for the president to go. He socially distanced. It was an outdoor event and it was deemed safe by White House operations,’ she told reporters at the White House on Friday.
Trump is 74 years old and at 244lbs and 6ft 3, is technically obese which puts him at higher risk of serious complications from the virus. His Chief of Staff said on Friday that he is ‘in good spirits’ and is not only ‘on the job now, but will remain on the job’.
People who attended the fundraiser said he seemed healthy. He spoke to supporters for 15 minutes and then took questions for an hour.
There are questions about when White House staff learned Hope Hicks – one of Trump’s most trusted aides – tested positive, when Trump learned about it and why, with that knowledge in mind, he still went to the fundraiser.
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President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, pictured on Tuesday, are both experiencing ‘mild symptoms’ after being diagnosed with COVID-19. They are quarantining in the White House
Last photo before diagnosis: Donald Trump returns to the White House from his helicopter Marine One on Thursday afternoon, hours before revealing that he and the first lady had tested positive for Covid-19. He had attended a fundraiser in New Jersey
Hope Hicks hours before her diagnosis: Hope Hicks, far right, is pictured boarding Marine One on Wednesday. The President was also onboard alongside Stephen Miller, second from right, Jared Kushner, center. Her coronavirus diagnosis was announced the next day. They were on their way to Minnesota when this photograph was taken. She started feeling unwell on the way back
‘We said, “How is this guy doing it? Look at the stamina of this guy.”
‘I can’t tell you how healthy he looked. I’m sure that this will come and go,’ comedian and radio host Joe Piscopo told North Jersey.com.
Melania on Friday tweeted that she too had ‘mild symptoms’ but that she felt ‘good’
John Sette, the former chair of the Morris County Republican Committee, told Politico: ‘First of all, he looked 100 percent normal.
‘He spoke 100 percent normal. He spoke for about 15 minutes and he took questions for an hour.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday told reporters that they discovered Hicks had tested positive on Thursday afternoon, just as the President was preparing to travel to the fundraiser at his golf club, at around 1pm. Bloomberg claims the President found out about Hicks’ diagnosis hours earlier.
Trump hasn’t tweeted since 12.54am on Friday, when he announced his diagnosis
Meadows said that they ‘pulled people off’ Marine One who they thought had been in close contact with Hicks to try to limit the spread, but they still allowed the President to go despite the fact that he’d traveled with Hicks on Air Force One on Tuesday and Wednesday, and had spent much of last week working with her.
Biden wished Trump and Melania a speedy recovery in a tweet, as did his running mate, Kamala Harris, who tested negative.
If Trump becomes seriously ill, there are constitutional procedures that would allow Vice President Mike Pence to assume power temporarily, just weeks before the November 3 election.
Joe Biden, 77, and his wife Jill have both tested negative
But if Trump suffers mild or no symptoms, the president would be able to tout his recovery as evidence that the virus is a less grave threat than many believe.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Friday morning, WH Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said: ‘His first question to me was, “how is the economy doing?
‘How are the stimulus talks going on Capitol Hill?’
‘The American people can rest assured that we have a president who is not only on the job but who will remain on the job.
‘He’s in the residence now. In true fashion he’s probably critiquing the way that I am answering these questions.’
A TIMELINE OF THE PRESIDENT’S TRAVEL
Saturday, September 26: Trump announces his Supreme Court pick at the White House, then travels to a rally in Pennsylvania with aides including Hope Hicks.
Sunday, September 27: The president plays golf in Virginia, gives a press conference in the White House briefing room and hosts a reception for Gold Star families.
Monday, September 28: Trump gives a press briefing and inspects pickup vehicles on the White House lawn.
Tuesday, September 29: Hicks is aboard Air Force One with the president and Melania to travel to the first presidential debate in Cleveland. Hicks is seen leaving the jet without a mask.
The president spars with Joe Biden in a chaotic debate. Trump family members do not wear masks during the debate, violating venue rules.
Wednesday, September 30: Hicks travels on Marine One and on Air Force One to a rally in Minnesota Wednesday.
She is understood to have felt poorly on the way back, quarantining on the presidential plane to get home.
Thursday, October : Hicks tests positive.
White House aides are told about it and pull people from Air Force One who had been in contact with her but they still let Trump go to the NJ event.
Trump went to the event where the NY Times claims he came into contact with 100 people.
He then came back to the WH, where he was ‘lethargic’, and tested positive.
Friday, October 2: A political rally in Sanford, Florida is cancelled.
It’s unclear who traveled with him to the Bedminster event.
There were two portions to it; he spoke outside the club and then to people inside who had paid to be there.
Hicks tested positive on Thursday after starting to feel unwell on Wednesday night while traveling back from a rally in Minnesota on Air Force One.
Meadows confirmed that the White House found out about Hicks’ diagnosis on Thursday and said that they ‘pulled people off’ Marine One because they might have come into contact with her.
The President went anyway.
‘In terms of Hope Hicks, we discovered that right as the Marine One was taking off yesterday we actually pulled some of the people who had been travelling with her,’ Meadows said on Friday.
Those people are understood to be Dan Scavino, Social Media Director, and Kayleigh McEnany, White House Press Secretary, both of whom have since tested negative.
On Wednesday night, the President was on the plane with Hicks but she kept a safe distance from him and others when she started experiencing symptoms.
She was quarantined away from others on the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed Thursday, according to an administration official.
Trump then continued with his schedule Thursday and traveled to and from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort to take part in two campaign events.
He flew back to the White House on Thursday evening, when it was publicly confirmed Hicks had the virus. Hours later, Trump and Melania shared their own diagnoses on social media.
First Lady Melania, 50, tweeted: ‘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.’
The White House had earlier distributed a schedule for Friday that showed he planned to go forward with a fundraiser at his Washington, D.C., hotel and a political rally in Sanford, Florida. That has since been canceled.
The second presidential debate on October 15 is also in doubt.
Biden tweeted on Friday: ‘Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery.
‘We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.’
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday spoke to reporters outside the White House and insisted Trump was in ‘good spirits’ and still able to perform the responsibilities of the President
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, one of Trump’s biggest opponents and critics, issued a statement expressing concern.
WHO HAS TRUMP BEEN IN CONTACTED WITH AND WHO AMONG THEM IS INFECTED
Hope Hicks, counselor to the president – POSITIVE
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump – NEGATIVE
Barron Trump – NEGATIVE
Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner – NEGATIVE
Tiffany Trump – UNKNOWN
Eric Trump, Lara Trump – UNKNOWN
Donald Trump Jr, Kimberly Guilfoyle – UNKNOWN
Vice President Mike Pence – NEGATIVE
Joe Biden and Jill Biden – NEGATIVE
Dan Scavino, Social Media Director – NEGATIVE
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel – POSITIVE
Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff – NEGATIVE
Kayleigh McEnany, press secretary – NEGATIVE
Amy Coney Barrett, Supreme Court nominee – NEGATIVE
Rev John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame who attended Saturday’s announcement of SCOTUS nominee – POSITIVE
Mike Lee, Utah Republican senator who attended Saturday’s announcement of SCOTUS nominee – POSITIVE
John McEntee, Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office – UNKNOWN
Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney. Giuliani had spent the weekend at the White House doing debate prep – UNKNOWN
Bill Stepien, campaign manager – UNKNOWN
Mitch McConnell – UNKNOWN
Lindsey Graham – UNKNOWN
Robert Ford, CEO of Abbott Laboratories, who was at the White House on Monday – UNKNOWN
Admiral Brett Geroir, assistant Health and Human Services secretary – UNKNOWN
Alex Azar, HHS secretary – UNKNOWN
‘My thoughts are with President Trump and the First Lady and I wish them a full and speedy recovery. This virus is vicious and spreads easily. Wear a mask. Let’s all look out for each other,’ he said.
Markets reacted badly after Trump’s diagnosis today, with stock futures losing 1.9 per cent on the S&P 500, while oil prices also slipped. Europe’s major stock markets also dived in opening trade on Friday, with London’s FTSE 100 and Frankfurt’s DAX 30 both shedding more than one per cent.
‘To say this potentially could be a big deal is an understatement,’ Holland’s Rabobank said in a commentary.
‘Anyway, everything now takes a backseat to the latest incredible twist in this US election campaign.’
Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the FDA, said that it was unlikely Hicks was the source because Trump would not have started showing symptoms as soon as Thursday had she infected him on Wednesday.
It’s more likely that they were both exposed by another source days earlier, he said.
The president received reassuring words from Dr. Scott Atlas, a key coronavirus advisor whose influence on the president has raised alarms among top government scientists, including CDC head Dr. Robert Redfield and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Atlas told Fox News he expects Trump and the first lady to make a ‘complete, full and rapid recovery.’
‘There is zero reason to panic. It is no surprise that people get the infection, even with precautions. I anticipate a complete and full and rapid recovery back to normal after his necessary confinement period. I anticipate he’ll be back on the road and in full swing,’ he said.
Atlas, who does not treat Trump as his physician, also vouched for Trump’s health.
He called Trump a ‘super vigorous man,’ and said he has ‘never seen anyone with more energy and more vigor, at any age, but particularly at his age.’
In a letter to McEnany, White House physician Sean Conley said medics would keep a ‘vigilant watch’ on the president’s health. Since 1am on Friday, when the diagnoses emerged;
‘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,’ Dr Conley said.
‘The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our 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.’
Vice President Pence said: ‘Karen and I send our love and prayers to our dear friends President Donald Trump and [first lady] Melania Trump.
‘We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery.
White House physician Dr Sean Conley sent a letter to press secretary Kayleigh McEnany saying that the president and first lady were ‘well’ and promising to keep a ‘vigilant watch’
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS PROGRESS AND WHEN IS IT LIFE-THREATENING?
By Natalie Rahhal, US Health Editor
Most people who contract coronavirus develop symptoms between two and 14 days after they are infected, and symptoms stay mild for the first few days.
If COVID-19 is going to become severe, patients tend to take a turn for the worse between days five and 10 of the illness.
It’s during this period that patients – especially older ones like Trump, or those with underlying conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes – may develop respiratory issues that can leave them struggling to breathe as the virus attacks the lungs and oxygen levels plummet.
What remains unclear is when Trump was actually infected and started to show signs of COVID-19. Hope Hicks was on Air Force One without a mask with thep president on Tuesday. She began to feel ill Wednesday, and Trump became ‘lethargic’ Thursday before testing positive.
Coronavirus symptoms may start out much like those of other respiratory infection.
Many patients, like President Trump, first notice they are fatigued. They may develop a dry, persistent cough, and spike a fever.
Symptoms often appear like those of the flu, and may include a headache, shortness of breath and body aches.
The CDC added loss of smell or taste as a tell-tale sign of coronavirus over the summer, and recent research suggests these may be earlier, more reliable indicators of COVID-19 than a cough.
But we now know that although coronavirus is spread like other respiratory infections – primarily transmitted when people inhale droplets expelled by someone with the virus – it attacks many parts of the body, including the cardiovascular and digestive systems and the brain.
So not everyone’s first symptoms are respiratory ones like shortness of breath or coughing.
Scientists at King’s College London have split COVID-19 into six different ‘types,’ with progressions from mild or moderate illness to severe:
(‘flu-like’ with no fever): Headache, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain, no fever.(‘flu-like’ with fever): Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, loss of appetite.(gastrointestinal): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, sore throat, chest pain, no cough.(severe level one, fatigue): Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, fatigue.(severe level two, confusion): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain.(severe level three, abdominal and respiratory): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, abdominal pain.
A crucial sign for the turn of coronavirus from mild to severe is the decline of blood oxygen levels.
Normal blood oxygen levels are considered to between 95 and 100 percent, as measured by a pulse oximeter.
Anything below that is a worrying sign. Low blood oxygen levels usually come with shortness of breath and chest pain, but many doctors have reported that COVID-19 patients appear unaffected – talking, texting and sitting up in their hospital beds – despite having dangerously low blood oxygen levels.
Inflammation is also a crucial factor in the severity of COVID-19 infection.
As the immune system attempts to mount a defense against coronavirus, the body can become overrun with cytokines, immune cells that can go haywire and cause dangerous inflammation.
This poses a particular threat to people who are obese or have underlying health conditions because they have higher baseline levels of inflammation.
Some doctors also use blood tests to detect high levels of D-dimers, which indicate high risks of blood clots and may indicate severe COVID-19.
People over 65 become sick enough to be hospitalized for coronavirus about five times as often as people in their 20s do, and are 90 times more likely to die of the infection. Men also account for 70 percent of US COVID-19 deaths.
Patients who don’t become severely ill tend to start recovering within a week to 10 days of their first symptoms.
After this period of improvement, the CDC advises that people are likely no longer infections 10 days after their symptoms began and after they’ve gone 24 hours without a fever.
‘God bless you President Trump and our wonderful First Lady Melania.’
UK prime minister Boris Johnson, who survived a scare with the virus in April, sent his best wishes to the president and first lady on Twitter, saying: ‘Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus.’
Trump’s ally Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, said that ‘like millions of Israelis, Sara and I are thinking of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish our friends a full and speedy recovery’.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyeusus, the head of the WHO who has clashed with Trump over the agency’s handling of the pandemic, also sent his best wishes to the president for a ‘full and speedy recovery’.
Trump has accused the WHO of being too close to China and announced earlier this year that the US would cut off funding for the Geneva-based body.
News of Trump’s infection has turned attention to Hope Hicks and her travel schedule after the White House aide first felt poorly on the way back from Wednesday’s rally in Minnesota.
Along with the trip to Minnesota, Hicks had been aboard Air Force One to fly to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio.
She was spotted by DailyMail.com getting off Air Force One in the city without her mask.
On Tuesday, she was seen in a car without her mask with White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and campaign adviser Jason Miller. She is said to have worn a mask when on Marine One with Trump.
Hicks also traveled with the president to a rally in Pennsylvania last Saturday where she was seen maskless and clapping to the Village People’s YMCA.
Before announcing his positive test, Trump tweeted to say he and Melania were in quarantine while they awaited their results because of Hicks’s diagnosis.
‘Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible!,’ the president said.
Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday, the president described the 31-year-old Hicks as a ‘very warm person’ and suggested she got close to supporters and contracted the virus.
‘She’s fantastic and she’s done a great job,’ Trump said.
‘But it’s very, very hard when you are with people from the military and from law enforcement and they come over to you and they, they want to hug you and they want to kiss you, because we really have done a good job for them. And you get close and things happen,’ the president added.
Trump said he was ‘surprised’ to hear that Hicks, who previously served as White House communications director and re-joined the administration this year ahead of the election, tested positive.
‘She wears a mask a lot, but she tested positive,’ the president said.
Typically, according to the CDC, a person develops symptoms five days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as two days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection, and the time range can vary.
All the attendees at the Cleveland debate were tested beforehand, while the former vice president’s wife Jill Biden kept her mask on throughout, unlike members of the Trump family.
The second debate on October 15 is now in jeopardy. Trump could be out of quarantine in 10 days if he shows no symptoms, but if he develops symptoms he would have to isolate for longer.
In addition, the October 7 vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris also appears in doubt, because Pence will have to isolate if he has been in contact with the president.
On Thursday evening, before Trump revealed he had tested positive, Biden berated the president for ‘doing everything he can to distract’ from his ‘failed Covid-19 response’.
In pre-taped remarks to the Al Smith charity dinner, Trump told guests on Thursday night that ‘the end of the pandemic is in sight’.
‘Through advances in treatment, we have reduced the fatality rate by 85 percent since just April. We are on track to develop and distribute a vaccine before the end of the year, and maybe substantially before,’ Trump claimed.
Biden has held a consistent lead in the polls, prompting Trump into an ever-more aggressive schedule of campaign rallies around the country.
Hicks becomes the latest in Trump’s circle to contract the virus after National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and White House coronavirus task force spokeswoman Katie Miller.
Hicks is one of the president’s most trusted and longest-serving aides, having worked as spokesperson for his 2016 campaign.
She originally served as White House as communications director, and re-joined the administration this year as an adviser ahead of the election.
White House spokesman Judd Deere had earlier said: ‘The president takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously.
WEDNESDAY: The crowd cheers as Air Force One arrives with President Donald Trump at Duluth International Airport on Wednesday. Hicks had joined the president on the trip and felt poorly on the way home, according to reports
WEDNESDAY: President Trump throws hats to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport
TUESDAY: Members of the Trump family including (from left) Eric, Ivanka, Tiffany and Donald Jr took their masks off during the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Cleveland Clinic asked everyone to wear masks. Biden’s family complied but Trump’s did not
TUESDAY: Melania Trump had discarded her mask by the time she joined her husband Donald on stage following a rancorous first debate of the 2020 campaign
TUESDAY: Hope Hicks was spotted getting off Air Force One in Cleveland on Tuesday without her mask ahead of the first presidential debate in the city
TUESDAY: Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle walk across the tarmac to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base before flying to Cleveland for the first presidential debate Tuesday alongside Hicks
Dow shrugs off Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis
The Dow shrugged off Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis on Friday after an initial slump, and was just 100 points beneath Thursday’s close by lunchtime.
Trump announced his diagnosis at 12.54am on Twitter.
Wall Street’s main indexes tumbled at the open on Friday with the Dow dropping 280 points after President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 weeks before the election.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 280.51 points, or 1.01 percent, at the open to 27,536.39. The S&P 500 opened lower by 41.86 points, or 1.24 percent, at 3,338.94, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 243.98 points, or 2.15 percent, to 11,082.53 at the opening bell.
But by 2pm on Friday, the Dow had recovered to just 100 points beneath Thursday’s close.
The Dow had mostly recovered on Friday after an initial slump when Trump tweeted his diagnosis
‘White House Operations collaborates with the physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting Covid-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible, both on complex and when the president is traveling.’
Deere did not mention Hicks by name.
Multiple White House staffers have tested positive for the virus, including Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, and one of the president’s personal valets.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is dating Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump J., tested positive in South Dakota before an Independence Day fireworks show at Mount Rushmore.
After earlier cases close to the president, the White House instituted a daily testing regimen for the president’s senior aides.
On May 11, a memo to the president’s staff told them to wear face coverings, and discouraged unnecessary visits from other parts of the White House complex to the West Wing area.
‘Common sense has finally prevailed,’ one senior administration official said at the time.
It is not known why the president’s test took so long to come back or whether he was tested Wednesday evening when Hicks first began displaying symptoms.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who have been in close contact with a virus patient quarantine for 14 days, White House staffers are considered essential workers.
CDC’s guidelines for exposed essential workers allows them to return to work if they take precautions, including taking their temperature before going into work, wearing a mask at all times and practicing social distancing.
Trump, the White House and his campaign have flouted other CDC guidelines and recommendations from public health officials, and largely refused to wear masks or practice social distancing.
Instead, Trump has continued to hold campaign rallies that draw thousands of supporters.
By contrast, Biden is running a deliberately low-key campaign with social distancing at most events, no large gatherings, and conspicuous use of his mask.
Still, Trump has consistently played down concerns about being personally vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. ‘I felt no vulnerability whatsoever,’ he told reporters back in May.
Trump mocked Biden at Tuesday’s debate for wearing ‘the biggest mask I’ve ever seen’, while pulling a face covering out of his pocket and saying he wears one when needed.
The president had previously mocked Biden for wearing a mask in May, saying it was ‘very unusual’ to wear a mask outside and accusing a reporter of trying to be ‘politically correct’ by wearing one himself.
Biden called Trump a ‘fool’ in response, saying in an interview that ‘this macho stuff’ was costing lives.
Trump previously said he ‘did not want to give the press the pleasure’ of seeing him with a mask, while saying he had worn one away from the cameras.
He added that he could not see himself greeting ‘presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens’ while wearing a mask.
But the president finally changed his tone in July, saying it was ‘patriotic’ to wear a mask.
Melania had let Americans see her in a face mask as long ago as April while urging people to take the health regulations ‘seriously’.
‘As the CDC studies the spread of Covid-19, they recommend people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when social distancing can be hard to do,’ Melania said on April 9.
Trump also sparked outrage and ridicule after suggesting in April that people could inject themselves with disinfectant to fend off the virus, which would be extremely dangerous.
‘Then I see the disinfectant which knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside for almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that,’ he said.
SATURDAY: Trump announces his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett (right), who subsequently had unmasked meetings with Republican senators during the week
SATURDAY: From left, White House director of social media Dan Scavino, Counselor to the President Hope Hicks, special assistant to the President and White House trip director William Russell, and director of the White House personnel John McEntee listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Harrisburg International Airport, Saturday
SEPTEMBER 14: Hope Hicks sitting at close quarters with Donald Trump aboard Marine One, although wearing a mask
Early in the pandemic, Trump played down the dangers – saying in January that ‘we have it totally under control’ and in February that ‘it’s going to disappear’.
Discussing the virus in an interview with Bob Woodward on March 19, Trump admitted that ‘I always wanted to play it down’ – despite having previously told Woodward that the disease was ‘deadly stuff’.
VP Pence would take power under 25th amendment if Trump becomes incapacitated
President Trump could potentially be forced to relinquish executive control to Vice President Mike Pence or be replaced on the GOP ticket altogether, if he becomes incapacitated from Covid-19.
Trump is 74 years old, which puts him at higher risk of serious complications from virus.
With the presidential election 32 days away, the positive result means the government may have to consider contingency plans in line with the Constitution should Trump become too ill to go through with the race.
The 25th Amendment states that the vice president should replace the commander-in-chief in the event he or she is unable to continue the term.
After Vice President Pence, the next in line is the Speaker of the House, in this case Nancy Pelosi.
The president can also transfer power temporarily if he is incapacitated, before resuming his duties when he is able to. This has happened occasionally during scheduled surgeries for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
However, the looming election further complicates the matter, as the Democratic and Republican national committees could also pick a replacement to run on their party’s ticket if the nominee were to withdraw.
The committee could choose to nominate the vice presidential candidate, or another member of their party.
The selection process would depend on the parties’ respective bylaws.
Under this scenario, all 168 members of the RNC would have to meet to vote on Trump’s replacement.
The rules require all members – three from each state and three from six territories – to cast the same number of votes they were entitled to cast the national convention.
If members of a given state fail to unanimously agree on the casting of votes, they would then divide it equally and cast a third of those votes.
That scenario, although hypothetical, would be the first of its kind since no presidential candidate of either party has ever died or withdrawn before an election.
Those comments sparked anger when they were revealed last month, with Biden accusing Trump of a ‘life and death betrayal’.
The virus has killed more than 200,000 Americans and infected more than 7 million nationwide.
While there is currently no evidence that Trump is seriously ill, the positive test also raises questions about what would happen if he were to become incapacitated due to illness.
The Constitution’s 25th Amendment spells out the procedures under which a president can declare themselves ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties’ of the presidency.
If he were to make that call, Trump would transmit a written note to the Senate president pro tempore, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Pence would serve as acting president until Trump transmitted ‘a written declaration to the contrary.’
This has happened occasionally, with Ronald Reagan briefly putting George H.W. Bush in charge during surgery in 1985, before George W. Bush temporarily transferred powers to Dick Cheney during colonoscopies in 2002 and 2007.
These were all brief, scheduled transfers of power and came nowhere near a re-election campaign.
There is also a second, never-used option: the vice president and a majority of either the Cabinet or another body established by law, can declare the president unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, in which case Pence would ‘immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President’ until Trump could provide a written declaration to the contrary.
Trump’s infection has also led to suggestions that the election could be delayed, but this is highly unlikely because voting is already underway.
While the Constitution does not specify an election date, moving the poll would require an act of Congress including support from the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
And regardless of the election date, Trump’s term ends on January 20.
If no president or vice president is elected by then, others in the line of succession would take over – although Pelosi might also be without a job if the House elections were delayed too.
Trump joins UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro as the most high-profile leaders to contract the disease.
Johnson, who was 55 at the time, spent an alarming three nights in intensive care at a London hospital before eventually recovering, while 65-year-old Bolsonaro rode out the infection at home.
When Johnson was ill, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab deputised for him although the nature of his constitutional powers was not fully clear.
The White House offered to supply medicine for Johnson’s treatment, as did the Chinese government, but London said the PM was receiving the best possible care from Britain’s National Health Service.
Johnson has blamed his experience on being overweight, and his scare has prompted him to launch a crackdown on unhealthy eating.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has described the virus as a ‘little flu’, had long played down the risks and predicted that he would easily survive an infection with Covid-19.
Germany’s Angela Merkel, 66, self-isolated after a doctor who gave her a jab tested positive, and Canada’s Justin Trudeau, 48, worked from home after his wife fell ill.
How 74-year-old Trump’s risk of hospitalization is five times greater than someone who contracts COVID in their 20s and he has a 90 times greater risk of death, according to CDC
At 74 years old, the president is five times more likely to be hospitalized from the virus and 90 times more likely to die than a patient in their 20s, CDC figures show.
Trump and his wife Melania confirmed they had both tested positive for coronavirus early Friday, just hours after top White House aide Hope Hicks was confirmed to have contracted the virus.
Trump and Hicks traveled together on Air Force One multiple times over the last week, including to attend the shambolic opening presidential debate against Joe Biden on Tuesday night.
But while Hicks at 31 years old is considered a low risk patient, at 74 years of age, Trump faces a much higher chance of being hospitalized with the virus, and falling victim to its harshest symptoms.
According to CDC statistics, patients between the ages of 65 and 74 are five times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than someone aged 18 to 29.
Patients of Trump’s age also have a 90 times greater risk of death in comparison to their younger counterparts.
According to CDC statistics, patients between the ages of 65 and 74 are five times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than someone aged 18 to 29. Patients in the elder category are also 90 times more likely to die in comparison to their younger counterparts
For every 1,000 people in their mid-seventies or older who are infected by COVID-19, around 116 will die – a fatality rate of 8.6 percent.
Trends in coronavirus deaths have been clear since early in the pandemic, with studies determining that age is by far the strongest predictor of an infected person’s risk of dying.
Henrik Salje, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge, UK, said ‘age cannot explain everything’, as gender is also said to be a strong risk factor – with men twice as likely to die from the virus than women.
Salje’s conclusions are supported by figures from the World Health Organization which said 1.7 percent of women who catch the virus will die compared to 2.8 percent of men, even though neither sex is more likely to catch it.
Underlying health conditions and health issues, such as diabetes and obesity, also have a significant impact on how severe a case of COVID-19 might be.
The CDC warned earlier this year that anyone considered ‘severely obese’ may raise risk of a severe reaction to COVID-19.
Following his annual physical this year, Trump’s physician Dr. Sean Conley said Trump was 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 244 pounds.
Trump, who was 73 at the time, had gained one pound since his last examination in 2019. It also showed the president’s cholesterol level had slightly improved to 167 from 196 the year before.
Officially, Trump’s height and weight would equate to a body mass index (BMI) of 30.4 – a fraction over the 30.0 level to be considered obese in the lowest of three tiers.
His previous doctor, Ronny Jackson, said in 2018 that Trump’s ‘overall health is excellent [but] … he would benefit from a diet that is lower in fat and carbohydrates and from a routine exercise regiment.’
Trump, the oldest president to ever take office, doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke. However, he is known to enjoy fast food, steaks and ice cream, while golfing is his primary source of exercise.