White House physician Sean Conley said Saturday he was “extremely happy” with President Donald Trump’s progress since going to the hospital with a coronavirus infection.
Trump went to Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Friday after experiencing fever and fatigue. Conley said Saturday that Trump had been fever-free for 24 hours and that he did not need any supplemental oxygen.
Trump announced early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 and were experiencing symptoms.
In contrast to Conley’s rosy assessment, a source with knowledge of the president’s health said, “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.”
“We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery,” the source said.
More than 10 people who were in close contact with Trump or White House officials have tested positive for COVID-19, sending shock throughout the nation just a month away from the presidential election.
Six of those who tested positive attended a White House event last Saturday at which Trump announced his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, who has since tested negative.
It is the latest example of COVID-19’s assault on the nation. The virus has killed more than 200,000 Americans and, as its latest cases show, no one is seemingly immune.
Trump and his advisers have attended several events drawing thousands of people over the past week, too. Democratic rival Joe Biden, who Trump appeared on stage with during Tuesday’s debate, tested negative on Friday.
McEnany said Friday the president “will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days.” Officials didn’t immediately respond to a request on the president’s condition Saturday morning.
The stunning announcement of Trump’s diagnosis is reshaping the 2020 election, taking Trump off the campaign trail as voters across the country vote early in large numbers.
This story will be updated throughout the day. You can follow all of USA TODAY’s politics reporters on Twitter or subscribe to our daily On Politics newsletter.
☕ The latest news you need to know:
- White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Friday that the president is experiencing mild symptoms but that he was in good spirits.
- More than 10 people close to the White House have tested positive for COVID-19. Names include: Hope Hicks, senior advisor to the president; Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager; and Kellyanne Conway, former White House senior advisor. Find a full list here.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee has no plans to push back the confirmation hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said if President Donald Trump “feels up to it” the second debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden should go forward perhaps remotely.
📆 Countdown: 31 days until Election Day, four days until the vice presidential debate, 109 days until Inauguration Day, 90 days left in 2020.
🙋Got questions about Trump and COVID?Ask us. You can use this form to submit your own.
🗳️ Voting: See USA TODAY’s Voter Guide for information on registering to vote, when your state begins voting and what the candidates think about the issues.
Source: Trump’s vitals ‘very concerning’
President Donald Trump’s condition after receiving a diagnosis of coronavirus was “very concerning” over the past day, a source with knowledge of the president’s health said – offering a more sober assessment than the one provided publicly by the president’s physician on Saturday.
“The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care,” said the source. “We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
Trump himself has remained uncharacteristically out of view since announcing the diagnosis and White House officials sought to convey a sense of business-as-usual throughout the day Friday. On Saturday, officials announced that Trump had signed two resolutions appointing citizen regents to the board of the Smithsonian Institution.
– John Fritze, Michael Collins and David Jackson
Doctor: Trump doing ‘very well’
“This morning, the president is doing very well,” said Dr. Sean Conley, President Donald Trump’s personal physician, during a news conference Saturday.
Doctors said the president had been fever free for over 24 hours and was not on oxygen. Conley said Trump had an oxygen saturation level of 96%, within the normal range for a healthy person.
When asked why Trump had been transferred to Walter Reed, Conley indicated it was out of an abundance of caution.
“Because he’s the president of the United States,” Conley said.
Trump announced Friday he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19.
– John Fritze and William Cummings
‘Doing very well’: Trump White House physician Sean Conley ‘extremely happy’ with progress
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a close confidant of President Donald Trump who assisted with his preparation for Tuesday’s debate, has tested positive for COVID-19.
Christie announced his diagnosis in a Saturday tweet:
“I just received word that I am positive for COVID-19. I want to thank all of my friends and colleagues who have reached out to ask how I was feeling in the last day or two. I will be receiving medical attention today and will keep the necessary folks apprised of my condition,” Christie wrote.
– Sean Rossman
Rick Scott incorrectly says he tested positive for COVID
Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott looked like he was about to become the fourth Republican senator in two days to be infected with the coronavirus when he went on FOX News Saturday and said he tested “positive again”.
False alarm. His spokesman, Chris Hartline, said the freshman senator and former governor simply “misspoke. He tested negative.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said Saturday morning he tested positive and would quarantine, a day after GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina reported they had the virus.
– Ledyard King
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a Saturday morning tweet that White House physician Sean P. Conley would give an update on the President Donald Trump’s health from Walter Reed National Medical Center at 11 a.m. EST.
After Trump arrived at the hospital, Conley said the president did not need to be put on oxygen but was starting remdesivir therapy, which is used for hospitalized adults who need oxygen but are not sick enough to require ventilation. Conley noted Trump was “doing very well,” had completed his first dose and was “resting comfortably.”
– William Cummings
When is the next debate?
The next presidential debate between Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami and hosted by C-SPAN Political Editor Steve Scully. Trump’s positive test, however, has raised major uncertainty about whether the debate will go on as planned.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said if Trump “feels up to it” the second debate should go forward, perhaps remotely.
But before then, Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris are to debate in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, moderated by USA TODAY’s Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page.
– Sean Rossman, Phillip Bailey, Joey Garrison and Ledyard King
3rd GOP senator tests positive for COVID-19
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., tested positive for COVID-19, his office said Saturday, marking the third Republican senator to announce they have contracted the virus since President Donald Trump’s positive result.
Johnson’s office said he returned to Washington on Tuesday after he had been in quarantine for 14 days following an exposure to someone who was positive for COVID-19. Johnson tested negative twice and experienced no symptoms during his quarantine, his office said. Once back in Washington, Johnson had another exposure to a person known to be positive and was tested Friday afternoon.
“Senator Johnson feels healthy and is not experiencing symptoms. He will remain isolated until given the all-clear by his doctor,” his office said.
Two other Republican senators have said they tested positive for COVID-19 since Trump announced that he tested positive. Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tested positive after attending the White House event last Saturday. Johnson is not on the Judiciary Committee.
China’s Xi, other world leaders send sympathy to Trump
China’s Xi Jinping expressed his sympathy to President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, saying he and his wife were hoping for a “fast recovery.”
“My wife, Peng Liyuan, and I express our sympathies to you and your wife and wish you a fast recovery,” the Chinese president said in a message, state TV reported. Trump has blamed China for the spread of the new coronavirus, which reported the first cases in late 2019.
Other world leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself recovered from COVID-19 earlier this year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladamir Putin, have expressed well wishes for Trump.
Obama wishes ‘speedy recovery’ to Trumps ‘no matter our party’
“Michelle (Obama) and I hope that the President, First Lady, and all those affected by the coronavirus around the country are getting the care they need,” Obama tweeted Friday afternoon.
In another tweet, Obama urged everyone to put their political beliefs aside in midst of the contentious election season because “we’re all human beings” first. “We want everyone to be healthy, no matter our party.”
– Cydney Henderson
Trump’s COVID diagnosis followed waning White House precautions
As President Donald Trump quarantined in the White House residence Friday morning, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows stood outside and said he wasn’t wearing a mask himself because his test was negative. “We’re hopefully more than 6 feet away,” he told the reporters before him.
From the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a disconnect between the guidance of public health experts and the actions of Trump and some of his deputies.
From holding large gatherings to resisting masks, the president, his administration and his campaign have sent conflicting messages to the American public as they sought to portray an image of strength and normality.
Experts said Trump and his administration could have done more: Mandate masks at the White House, hold fewer large gatherings and use technology to allow staff to meet remotely.
“This was not inevitable, but this was the likely outcome,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
– Donovan Slack and John Fritze
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she was “optimistic” about the chances of a deal on COVID-19 stimulus, arguing in a television interview President Donald Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis “changes the dynamic.”
“I think we’re coming to terms in terms of the money on crushing the virus finally, but it’s the language that is important,” she said in an interview with MSNBC.
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have resumed negotiations as both sides crawl toward an agreement to restore urgently needed aid. The two spoke again by phone on Friday for about an hour and “discussed areas of disagreement,” spokesperson Drew Hammill said.
Pelosi was also tested for COVID-19 “out of an abundance of caution,” and received a negative result later Friday, according to Hammill.
– Nicholas Wu
White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said in a memo Friday afternoon that “the President remains fatigued but in good spirits.”
The president received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s experimental polyclonal antibody cocktail as a precautionary measure, Conley said. The antibody cocktail is currently being studied in four late-stage clinical trials and its safety and efficacy have not been fully evaluated by any regulatory authority, the company said on its page.
He also has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin, Conley said.
In an 18-second video posted to Twitter Friday evening, Trump addressed the nation and said he was “doing very well.”
“I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I’m going to Walter Reed Hospital. I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out. The first lady is doing very well,” he said. “I appreciate it. I will never forget it. Thank you.”
Conley said the first lady was experiencing only a “mild cough and headache.”
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Friday that the president is experiencing mild symptoms but that he was in good spirits.
When pressed on why Trump attended a fundraiser at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., on Thursday after his top adviser, Hope Hicks, tested positive the day before, Meadows conceded that he found out about her results “right as the Marine One was taking off yesterday” for New Jersey.
He added that some people who had been traveling and in close contact with Hicks were removed from the flight, raising questions about why the president proceeded with the fundraiser, which saw him come in contact with dozens of supporters.
– Courtney Subramanian
About Trump’s health: What’s the typical course of a COVID-19 infection?
Amy Coney Barrett negative, confirmation process ‘full steam ahead’
The Senate Judiciary Committee has no plans to postpone the confirmation hearings starting Oct. 12 for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, according to committee spokesperson Kevin Bishop, who said they were moving “full steam ahead.”
Barrett tested negative for COVID-19, according to White House spokesperson Judd Deere. She is tested daily and was last with Trump on Saturday, he said.
However, Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah tested positive Thursday, two days after meeting with Barrett. University of Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins, who was at the announcement of Barrett’s nomination, also tested positive, the university reported, after being criticized for not wearing a mask, not social-distancing and shaking hands at the event.
– Nicholas Wu, Elinor Aspegren, Sean Rossman
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday during a House subcommittee hearing that President Donald Trump and his family are in a “different situation” in regard to mask-wearing and other coronavirus safety measures.
“The first family and the protective aspect around the president is a different situation than the rest of us because of the protocols around the first family,” Azar said, responding to a question from Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-NY, about the Trump family not wearing masks during the presidential debate Tuesday.
The secretary’s testimony before Congress, the first since February when the U.S. had fewer than 20 cases, comes after the President announced in a tweet early Friday he and the First Lady tested positive for COVID-19.
– Adrianna Rodriguez
➕➖ Who’s positive, who’s negative: Trump adviser Hope Hicks‘ positive infection was reported just hours ahead of Trump’s announcement. Barron Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner were negative as were Mike Pence and wife Karen; Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Joe and Jill Biden, Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi are among those reporting negative results. Here’s our running list.
- NOTE: A negative test means the person was not infected at the time of testing. The virus’ incubation period can be up to 14 days, so a negative test earlier in that time frame does not mean a person was not infected.
Biden tests negative: ‘We will continue to pray’ for Trump and family
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s personal physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said Biden and his wife Jill were each tested and “COVID-19 was not detected.”
“Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern,” Biden said in a tweet. “I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.”
The Bidens said they will “continue to pray” for the president and first lady.
Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and her husband Doug Emhoff also offered the president and first lady wishes for a speedy recovery.
– Bart Jansen
Contributing: John Fritze
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