As America woke to prepare themselves for the end of the work week, the news came fast and furious: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania had contracted COVID-19.
Trump made the announcement around 1 a.m. ET on Twitter, adding that he and the first lady would begin quarantining immediately. Trump ended his tweet noting that: “We will get through this TOGETHER!”
Inside the White House, aides described a sense of panic as they worked to determine who else may have contracted the disease and whether the President — who falls squarely within the highest risk category for serious complications and who has been guarded about revealing details of his health — was displaying symptoms.
Trump appeared tired over the course of Thursday prior to testing positive for coronavirus, according to people who interacted with him, but was not displaying severe symptoms of the disease.
A senior administration official said Friday that Trump wasn’t showing major symptoms and planned to work from the White House residence.
The New York Times reports the president is experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms.
What’s most puzzling about the president’s diagnosis is that he continued to travel Thursday, including attending a fundraiser in New Jersey after many inside the White House learned that aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the coronavirus.
A person who attended the New Jersey fundraiser told CNN that the president seemed tired and subdued when speaking to a group of supporters. The person told CNN that many assumed that the president was exhausted from all of the campaign travel. Other people noted that he sounded hoarse, but that could’ve been from recent rallies, they assumed.
While guests at a roundtable event were tested for coronavirus before attending the event, none of those in attendance wore masks.
The first couple are reportedly isolating in the White House Executive Residence, but CNN notes that residence staff are “nervous,” and “have described deep concerns about potential contagion.”
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, have both tested negative for COVID-19. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, “who shared a stage with Trump in their first debate Tuesday, is expected to get tested for coronavirus Friday morning, according to a source familiar with his plans,” CNN reports.
Trump who has been an ardent supporter of opening schools and has ignored or completely reframed many scientists and his own health officials COVID-19 recommendations told a virtual audience just hours before announcing his positive diagnosis that the pandemic was coming to an end.
“I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight, and next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of our country,” Trump said during pre-recorded remarks given to the Al Smith Dinner, CNN reports.
Four hours later, upcoming events on the president’s itinerary were canceled.