3 Oct 2020

Trump tests positive for Covid-19: What you need to know

10:21 pm on 3 October 2020

US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania have both tested positive for Covid-19, with the president moved to Walter Reed Medical Center today.

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - MAY 30: U.S. President Doanld Trump speaks after the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the manned Crew Dragon spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Photo: AFP

Trump tweeted about the diagnosis yesterday, confirming that he and Melania had tested positive.

"We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately," he said.

"We will get through this TOGETHER!"

In another tweet, Melania Trump said the couple were "feeling good" and she had postponed all upcoming engagements.

The couple were tested after Trump advisor Hope Hicks was infected with the virus - the closest aid to Trump to test positive so far.

However, this morning it was revealed that Trump has been flown to Walter Reed Medical Center on Marine One, the president's helicopter.

Trump released a short video on his Twitter account, 17 hours after his last post, saying he thought he was doing very well and he was heading to hospital "to make sure things work out".

He was moved to a "special suite" at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, for the next few days as a precautionary measure, according to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

"Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days," she said in a statement.

It was reported that Trump had a mild fever, while White House doctor Sean P Conley wrote in a memo that he was "fatigued but in good spirits".

Trump is at high risk because of his age and weight. He has remained in apparent good health during his time in office but is not known to exercise regularly or to follow a healthy diet.

Conley said Trump has received a single dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail, a technique that is used for treating a wide range of illnesses. Data is limited on its effectiveness for Covid-19 but US infectious disease chief Dr. Anthony Fauci is among those saying it has promise.

Conley also said earlier today that Trump has received an experimental treatment, Regeneron's REGN-COV2, one of several experimental Covid-19 drugs known as monoclonal antibodies, which are used for treating a wide range of illnesses.

Trump is also taking zinc, Vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.

Vice President Mike Pence has tested negative for Covid-19.

Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway

Kellyanne Conway has also tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: AFP / Stefani Reynolds / CNP

Today it was also revealed that former White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway had also tested positive for Covid-19.

"My symptoms are mild (light cough) and I'm feeling fine. I have begun a quarantine process in consultation with physicians," Conway tweeted.

What it means for the election

The White House has confirmed there will be no transfer of power while the president is in quarantine.

Reuters has reported White House officials have been seeking to project an air of business as usual, while privately expressing concern about the election and showing signs of rising worry about the coronavirus.

More staff than usual have been seen wearing masks.

Off the record, some Trump advisers fear his illness will cost him the election, because of his inability to go out on the road and campaign.

All his upcoming election events have been postponed or moved online.

Some in Washington are speculating that Trump's events last weekend, announcing Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court, may have spread the virus.

US President Donald Trump announces Amy Coney Barrett as his nomination for the Supreme Court.

Donald Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his nomination for the Supreme Court last weekend. Photo: Getty Images

World leaders, politicians respond

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has sent a get-well message to Donald Trump on behalf of New Zealand.

Speaking to media in Auckland today, Ardern said officials at the American embassy have been asked to pass on a message.

"Of course, wishing the president of the United States and the first lady New Zealand's best wishes for a speedy recovery."

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among international leaders who sent their best wishes to the Trumps.

"My best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady. Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus," he wrote on Twitter.

Other world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, also sent messages of support to the couple.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said: "I am certain that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with this dangerous virus."

Former US Vice President - and Trump's democrat opponent in the upcoming election - Joe Biden also tweeted a message for the Trumps.

"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," he wrote.

Biden's running mate Kamala Harris also tweeted well-wishes to the president and first lady.

"Doug and I join Joe Biden and Dr. Biden in wishing President Trump and the First Lady a full and speedy recovery. We're keeping them and the entire Trump family in our thoughts," she wrote.

Barack Obama, Trump's predecessor, tweeted a message from him and former first lady Michelle Obama.

"Michelle and I hope that the President, First Lady, and all those affected by the coronavirus around the country are getting the care they need and are on the path to a speedy recovery.

"Obviously, we're in the midst of a big political battle right now, and while there's a lot at stake, let's remember that we're all Americans," he added. "We're all human beings. And we want everyone to be healthy, no matter our party."

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Trump's opponent in the last election, posted the same message on Twitter.

"We wish the President and First Lady a speedy recovery, and hope for the safety of the White House staff, the Secret Service, and others putting their lives on the line," they wrote.

"This pandemic has affected so many. We must continue to protect ourselves, our families, and communities."

- Reuters / BBC / RNZ

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