US President Trump and wife, Melania test positive for coronavirus

Donald Trump and Melania Trump

The US president and first lady, Donald Trump and Melania Trump have tested positive for coronavirus. The news came after one of the president’s most senior advisers, Hope Hicks, tested positive on Thursday. Trump broke the news on Twitter.

Hicks had flown with the president on Air Force One earlier on Wednesday and accompanied him to the first presidential debate against Democratic candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday in Cleveland, Ohio.

Trump confirmed on Fox News on Thursday evening that he and First Lady Melania Trump were awaiting the results of coronavirus tests following Hicks’s positive test.

Trump’s doctor confirmed that the president and first lady would “remain at home within the White House during their convalescence”. How long this convalescence lasts will depend on how ill the pair get. Even if Trump tests negative within the next 14 days, he will almost certainly be unable to attend rallies in three key states – Wisconsin, Florida and Arizona – as well as the next presidential debate, which is scheduled for 15 October.

The CDC guidelines for people who have tested positive state that they should inform all close contacts.

If Trump becomes too ill to lead the country, vice president Mike Pence will be placed in charge. If Pence is also incapacitated, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be the most likely person to take over.

Pence attended a White House coronavirus task force briefing with Trump on Monday. Pence did not attend the presidential debate.

Hicks is not the only White House staffer to have contracted the virus. Katie Miller, press secretary to the vice-president, who is married to Trump’s adviser Stephen Miller, has recovered from Covid-19. One of Trump’s personal valets also tested positive for coronavirus, in May.

CNN medical analyst Dr Jonathan Reiner said on Thursday that House speaker Nancy Pelosi should be in isolation because it is possible that both Trump and vice president Mike Pence could become ill, in which case she would likely need to step in. It is not clear-cut what the rules would be in this case. 

In May the Washington Post asked the question and found that, under the rules of a 1947 act, “The speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate would be next in the line of succession, followed by the members of the Cabinet, beginning with the secretary of state.”

How long Trump, Melania and Hicks have had the virus for and exactly which White House staff she has had close contact with. 

According to the World Health Organization, it takes five or six days on average from when someone is infected until symptoms show, but it can take 14 days. It appears Hicks began to feel ill on Wednesday.

~The Guardian

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