- One of President Donald Trump’s closest aides, Hope Hicks, has reportedly tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
- The news broke of Hicks’ infection on Thursday evening. President Trump said that he and First Lady Melania Trump have been tested for the virus as a result of this news.
- What’s unclear is what this means for the president’s schedule in the coming days, since the appropriate thing to do would be to now quarantine himself for a period of time.
(UPDATE: Late in the evening on Thursday, President Trump used his official Twitter account to confirm that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19. Follow our additional coverage of this breaking news here).
President Donald Trump is at this hour awaiting the results of a coronavirus test he’s taken in light of the news that broke Thursday evening regarding Hope Hicks, one of his closest aides, having tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Hicks traveled with the president to a rally in Minnesota this week, following the first presidential debate. She began to exhibit symptoms there and was quarantined on Air Force One on the way back to Washington DC, per a Bloomberg report. Trump said on Fox News Thursday evening that both he and First Lady Melania Trump were tested for COVID-19 tonight “because we spent a lot of time with Hope and others. So we’ll see what happens.”
It’s unclear as of yet what this means for the president’s schedule in the coming days. Hicks, for her part, was reportedly seen without wearing a face mask during the Air Force One ride to Minnesota.
If the president’s test results come back negative on Friday, and if he uses that as a basis to proceed with campaign events this weekend, it will be in violation of CDC guidelines and those of most every public health official at the federal and local level. As is widely known by now, one of three things could occur regarding President Trump — he could be completely COVID-free, having gotten lucky and never contracted the virus despite, as he said himself, spending a significant amount of time with Hicks.
Or, there are two other possibilities. President Trump could manifest the symptoms of COVID-19, which wouldn’t necessarily show up for some number of days after the fact. Meaning, a negative test result tomorrow wouldn’t necessarily capture the fact that he could have gotten infected from Hicks just a day or so ago. This is not to suggest that tests are meaningless, simply that a negative test tomorrow shouldn’t necessarily provide the president with the confidence to continue campaigning in the coming days as if nothing is wrong. Depending on the type of test he was given, a Harvard Health Blog post notes that “having an antibody test too early can lead to false negative results. That’s because it takes a week or two after infection for your immune system to produce antibodies. The reported rate of false negatives is 20%. However, the range of false negatives is from 0% to 30% depending on the study and when in the course of infection the test is performed.”
If you've been exposed to COVID + person, you should quarantine for 14 days
Even with negative test
Might be reasonable to shorten to 10 days
President was with Ms. Hicks
CDC guidelines say he should quarantine https://t.co/UtmoDZoyV6
— Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH (@ashishkjha) October 2, 2020
If President Trump did indeed pick up the virus from her, there’s also the chance he could have a mild or even completely asymptomatic case of the virus. In which case, it would be all the more critical that he temporarily quarantine himself, as the millions of Americans who’ve contracted the virus by now have had to do.