Trump tests negative for COVID-19 on consecutive days, doctor says

President Trump has tested negative for COVID-19 on an antigen test, his doctor said Monday as the president jetted off to Florida for his first campaign rally since being diagnosed with the virus.

White House physician Sean Conley wrote in a memo that Trump tested negative on consecutive days using the Abbott antigen test. 

Conley wrote that the negative antigen test was used alongside data such as viral load and RNA samples and Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to determine that Trump is no longer infectious to others.

The doctor had said in a memo on Saturday night that Trump was no longer considered a risk to transmit the virus, though he had stopped short of saying the president had tested negative.

Antigen tests are commonly used in the White House, though they are less sensitive than molecular tests, such as the PCR test. For example, the Food and Drug Administration notes on its website that antigen tests are “more likely to miss an active coronavirus infection compared to molecular tests.”

The president was said to have tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 1 with an antigen test and then received a PCR test to confirm the result.

The result indicates that Trump is progressing after his bout with the virus, which has killed roughly 215,000 people in the United States and infected nearly 8 million, though the White House has stonewalled on providing other key details about Trump’s case.

The administration still has not said when Trump last tested negative for the virus before he tested positive, a key data point that experts say would help determine who he may have exposed. And Conley has not provided updated information on what, if any, medications Trump is still on. The president was discharged from the hospital one week ago.

The president had a bandage visible on his hand on Saturday when he spoke to supporters at the White House and again on Monday as he boarded Air Force One for a trip to Florida, prompting speculation he may still be receiving intravenous injections. The president did not wear a mask as he boarded the plane.

Trump is set to return to the campaign trail with Monday night’s rally in Sanford, Fla., followed by events in Pennsylvania, Iowa and North Carolina on consecutive days.

Campaign officials downplayed any lingering effects the virus may have on Trump, who is 74 and overweight and therefore may be at a higher risk for residual symptoms.

“He is strong. He is energetic. He is raring to go, and I think his campaign calendar reflects his health and well-being and enthusiasm to get back on the trail,” campaign manager Bill Stepien told reporters earlier Monday.

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

Tags Bill Stepien Donald Trump

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