What to Know About President Trump’s COVID-19 Diagnosis

  • President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • The couple is experiencing mild symptoms.
  • Most people with COVID-19 recover after a mild case, but the president’s other health issues put him at higher risk for a severe case.

President Donald Trump announced in an overnight post to Twitter that he and first lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump wrote.

Judd Deere, deputy assistant to the president, released a memorandum from the president’s physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, FACEP, to White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, confirming the diagnosis shortly afterward.

“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 wrote.

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Devin O’Malley, has announced that both he and his wife were tested for the coronavirus early Friday morning and show negative for the virus.

“This morning, Vice President Pence and the Second Lady tested negative for COVID-19. Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery,” O’Malley posted to Twitter.

The president and first lady’s 14-year-old-son, Barron Trump, tested negative for the virus, according to Melania Trump’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, reported CNN.

Dr. Nikhil Bhayani, FIDSA, an infectious disease physician with Texas Health Resources, explained that President Trump is at particular risk for severe COVID-19 due to his age and physical condition.

“It’s just like anyone else, that anybody who’s over the age of 65, obese, definitely you’re in that — your risk factors are definitely much higher for COVID,” Bhayani told Healthline.

One of the main devices used by the White House to test for the coronavirus can produce a result in less than 15 minutes, reported The New York Times in May, but was found in one study not to be especially accurate.

However, there’s been no statement made yet regarding which test was used to diagnose Trump.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to investigate, at this point, you know, the details of that were not made available,” Bhayani said.

Dr. Robert Segal, FACC, RPVI, founder of Manhattan Cardiology and LabFinder, explained that it’s difficult to predict what could happen.

“Given the unpredictable nature of the virus, it is difficult to say with certainty if the president will develop severe symptoms,” Segal said. “The data shows that his age, blood pressure, and weight are probably the largest risk factors. However, I can’t comment on if he will develop severe symptoms.”

Bhayani said that President Trump will need to be closely monitored over the next 14 days, but he emphasized, “Over the next couple of days it’s going to be very important that he’s monitored closely.”

The president and first lady will also need to quarantine, the same as anyone else who tests positive for the coronavirus.

According to Segal, regardless of Trump’s status, “The same rules apply regarding the 14-day quarantine and routine testing to monitor their status. It is advised to the president and the first lady to suspend any ongoing travel and personal interaction to other people.”

“The main thing is this virus does not differentiate, you know, a person of power, a person of wealth. It affects all humankind,” Bhayani pointed out.

Back in April, President Trump publicly announced that he won’t wear a face mask, reported CBS News. How big a factor could this have played in causing his current health crisis?

“So, I’m not going to comment specifics on that,” Bhayani said. “But in general, this is why we educate and advise our patients that during this pandemic it is very important to wear a mask, maintain social distancing, avoid large gatherings — especially if you’re over the age of 65 — because you do not know who’s in that crowd who is an asymptomatic spreader.”

Segal explained that, considering the virus is airborne and transmits via respiratory droplets, “Masks have played a significant role in reducing viral transmission from person to person.”

He added that, considering Trump’s “frequent travel nature due to the election,” there are too many variables to say with certainty that his mask use was the direct cause of his illness, and that this “holds true for any traveling politician campaigning.”

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

His obesity and age place him at heightened risk for experiencing severe illness, and the president and first lady will quarantine for the next 14 days at the White House.

Experts say the president’s public stance against using a face mask can’t be proven to have had a role in his infection, and that there are too many variables to consider to say one way or another.

They add, however, that masks have played a significant role in reducing transmission.

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