President Donald Trump announced early Friday morning that he and his wife had tested positive for the Coronavirus, which is an exceptional event in the coming months in light of a global pandemic and in the final phase of his election campaign in which he circumvented the recommendations of experts to prevent the spread of the disease.
The diagnosis amounts to the most serious health threat known to a US president in office in decades. Trump is 74 years old and obese, and he ranks among the highest risk of developing serious complications from the disease, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans and more than a million people around the world.
His illness could be destabilizing in an already tense political climate, and stock market futures slumped after news of Trump’s infection.
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
President Trump interacted with dozens of employees, donors, and supporters this week. By early morning on Friday, it was not clear how many other aides who had been in close contact with him and had tested positive.
On Monday, President Trump briefed the nation on the administration’s strategy to test the coronavirus and announced a plan to distribute 150 million rapid tests. Early Friday morning, he himself contracted the virus.
In the intervening days, Trump has interacted with dozens of employees, donors, and supporters. Even the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Connie Barrett, was in the White House this week.
The President held preliminary sessions with staff to discuss him Tuesday night with former Vice President Joseph Biden Jr., in confined spaces in the West Wing, as officials who tested regularly relied on the results. Negatives as an excuse to give up masks. And other safety precautions.
He attended a closed fundraising party at the private home of a wealthy Minneapolis supporter and performed in front of thousands of people at a rally in Duluth, Minnesota, where most of the audience weren’t wearing masks. He also shared the stage with Mr. Biden.