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October 9, 2020

Trump Returns to White House After Testing Positive For COVID-19

Trump Returns to White House After Testing Positive For COVID-19

Updated on October 6, 2020 at 3:30pm EDT.

On October 2, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both tested positive for COVID-19.

Trump made the announcement that Friday morning, tweeting, "Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!"

Just hours earlier, while speaking at the 75th annual Al Smith Dinner, Trump claimed that the health crisis, which has claimed the lives of more than 207,000 Americans, was nearing 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.

White House adviser, Hope Hicks, has also reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 after travelling with the president on Air Force One to Tuesday night's debate and a rally in Minnesota the following day.

Joe Biden, the 77-year old Democratic nominee in the presidential race, who sparred with Trump in the first 2020 debate has tested negative for the coronavirus.

Vice President Mike Pence, also does not have COVID-19, according to White House physician, Jesse Schonau, MD FAAFP.

In an October 2 memo, Dr. Schonau stated, "Earlier this morning under my care, Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for COVID-19. Under the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Vice President is not considered a close contact with any individuals who have tested positive for COVID, including President Donald J. Trump. Vice President Mike Pence does not need to quarantine. Vice President Mike Pence remains in good health and is free to go about his normal activities."

What happens now
President Trump and the first lady began quarantining immediately, according to a memo released by Sean P. Conley, DO, FACEP, Trump’s personal physician. At the time, the President and First Lady planned to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence while being monitored closely by the White House medical team.

Soon after, however, Trump was admitted to the hospital.

In a subsequent memo on October 2, Conley stated, "This afternoon, in consultation with specialists from Walter Reed and Johns Hopkins University, I recommended movement of the President up to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for further monitoring," Conley wrote. "This evening I am happy to report that the President is doing very well. He is not requiring any supplemental oxygen, but in consultation with specialists we have elected to initiate Remdesivir therapy. He has completed his first dose and is resting comfortably."

After three days in the hospital, however, President Trump returned to the White House without a face mask despite warnings from his medical team. Dr. Conley acknowledged that the president “may not entirely be out of the woods yet."

Trump’s risk factors
Older age, obesity, heart disease and other underlying chronic health issues are among the known risk factors for more severe COVID-19.

Trump turned 74-years old on June 14. Roughly 10 days earlier, the White House released a summary of routine physicals the president had between November 2019 and April 2020.

The summary indicates that Trump is 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 244 pounds. Given his weight and height, Trump’s body mass index (BMI) is 30.5, which classifies as obese.

Trump’s blood pressure is 121/79 mmHg, which is slightly elevated, and he has a healthy resting heart rate of 63 beats per minute, the summary revealed.

Conley also confirmed that Trump took hydroxychloroquine, as a preventative measure against SARS-CoV-2. On July 1, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration once again cautioned against the use of the drug for the treatment of COVID-19, citing the risk for serious heart rhythm problems and other side effects, such as blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries and liver failure.

"The president completed the regimen safely and without side effects," Conley wrote, adding that Trump’s heart rhythm was monitored while he was on the medication.

Trump’s health summary also reveals that the President took vitamin D to help reduce his risk for COVID-19. There is some evidence to suggest that healthy vitamin D levels are linked to better outcomes among those with COVID-19. The jury is still out on whether or not vitamin D could actually have a protective effect against the disease.

WhiteHouse.gov. “Remarks by President Trump to Guests at the Al Smith Dinner.” October 1, 2020.
Physician to the President, The White House. “President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s COVID-19 Tests.” October 1, 2020.
Physician to the President, The White House. “President Donald J. Trump’s Periodic Physical Exam.” June 3, 2020.
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “Calculate Your Body Mass Index.”
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “FDA cautions against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems.” July 1, 2020.