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Trump Takes 'Precautionary' Treatment After He And First Lady Test Positive For Virus

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House Tuesday for the first televised presidential debate. The president announced early Friday that he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Bill O'Leary
The Washington Post via Getty Images
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House Tuesday for the first televised presidential debate. The president announced early Friday that he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus.

President Trump is 74, an age that makes him more vulnerable to the virus. The first lady, who's 50, also tested positive.

Updated at 3:14 a.m. ET

President Trump said Friday that he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The stunning announcement came hours after the president said he and Melania Trump had begun "a quarantine process" after White House adviser Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus. Hicks, who serves as counselor to the president, is one of the president's closest advisers.

In a tweet, the president said: "Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!"

The announcement throws the final stretch of the presidential campaign, already radically upended by the global pandemic, even further into unknown territory. Global financial markets declined as the news of Trump's diagnosis spread.

In a memo dated Oct. 1, White House physician Sean Conley confirmed that Trump and his wife had tested positive for the virus on Thursday.

"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," he said.

He added that he and the White House team will maintain a "vigilant watch" over the Trumps.

Melania Trump tweeted that she and her husband were "feeling good," but have canceled their upcoming public events.

Trump had a campaign rally planned for Florida on Friday and Wisconsin, which is seeing a spike of cases, on Saturday.

A White House official told NPR's Tamara Keith that the president was in good spirits, and his staff were working out how to run things during the next 14 days — the possible length of Trump's quarantine.

"He's fine now. He's in good spirits. He'll be OK, the doctor's optimistic. He'll get treatment. We're in a pretty good place to treat this," the official said.

"From a continuity standpoint — listen, we'll be fine, we'll figure out a way to do it," the official said. "The vice president can step in where he needs to. The president is obviously going to want to be very engaged — and he will be. As you know, he's not one to sit still."

Members of Vice President Pence's team did not immediately respond when asked about the last time Pence was tested for coronavirus. Pence did tweet his "love and prayers" to the president and first lady, but did not mention his own health.

Pence and White House aides are tested for the virus regularly — some like White House chief of staff Mark Meadows are tested daily.

White House adviser Hicks, who has tested positive for the virus, would have also been tested on a regular basis. Hicks traveled with Trump on Air Force One both to Tuesday night's debate and to a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.

Although COVID-19 has claimed more than 207,000 lives, many people who become infected by the virus show only mild symptoms, or none whatsoever. It wasn't immediately clear how the president might fare, but his age, 74, makes him more vulnerable to the disease.

Speaking to Fox News' Sean Hannity on Thursday evening, Trump confirmed that Hicks "did test positive" for COVID-19 and said he and his wife had both gotten tested for the virus after the news broke.

"Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don't know," Trump said earlier in the evening.

"We'll see what happens. Who knows," he said, adding "I spend a lot of time with Hope. So does the first lady."

He then tweeted that he and the first lady "will begin our quarantine process."

For months, President Trump has downplayed the severity of the virus and contradicted medical professionals on the importance of wearing masks. At recent rallies, large crowds have gathered, with many in the audience opting against wearing the widely recommended face masks.

Trump himself is rarely seen wearing a mask in public, citing the frequency of COVID-19 testing for both himself and his staff.

In the Thursday Fox News interview, Trump said Hicks wore "a lot of masks."

Globally, coronavirus has been responsible for more than 1 million deaths.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.
Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.
Mark Katkov
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.
Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.
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