Trump tests negative for coronavirus
President Trump tested negative for the novel coronavirus, according to a statement released by the White House physician.
“Last night after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding COVID-19 testing, he elected to proceed,” Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, wrote in a letter released Saturday night by the White House. “This evening I received confirmation that the test is negative.”
“One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom-free,” Conley continued.
“I have been in daily contact with the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and White House Coronavirus Task Force, and we are encouraging the implementation of all their best practices for exposure reduction and transmission mitigation,” Conley added.
Trump announced at a Saturday morning press conference that he had been tested for the coronavirus Friday evening after being in proximity to several people who have tested positive for the disease and interacting with others who have self-quarantined as a precautionary measure.
The negative test result follows multiple days of mixed signals from Trump and the White House about whether he should or would get tested.
The White House said earlier this week that Trump was not exhibiting symptoms and therefore did not require testing for the coronavirus after one of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s aides tested positive for the virus days after posing for a photo with Trump.
Trump on Friday afternoon said he would “most likely” get tested at some point. But the White House released a letter late Friday night from Conley saying the president did not require testing and that his interactions with the Brazilian delegation presented a “low risk” for infection.
The president then revealed on Saturday afternoon that he had been tested for the virus.
The White House has in recent days started implementing stricter measures to try to keep high-level officials healthy. Officials said Saturday that the White House physician’s office had started taking the temperature of those interacting with the president and vice president, including reporters working in the briefing room.
Vice President Pence reportedly issued a buildingwide email on Saturday urging White House staff to avoid physical contact and take precautions to avoid transmitting the virus.
Trump caused a stir on Friday when he crowded onto a stage with numerous officials to declare a national emergency and proceeded to shake hands with several health industry executives in attendance. Health experts have urged the public to stop shaking hands and practice social distancing to limit the spread of the disease.
The Trump administration has faced intense criticism for the lack of tests available nationwide, which officials have said may limit the number of confirmed cases.
More than 2,400 Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Saturday afternoon, and at least 50 people have died from the virus, according to The New York Times.