The US President Donald Trump announced early Friday that he and the First Lady, Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER,” Trump announced.
The thrilling announcement came as COVID-19 pandemic takes center stage among the issues trailing the US presidential election.
Trump’s physician, Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, wrote in a memo in early morning hours of Friday, that the President and First Lady’s results were confirmed positive.
“The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.
“The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions.
“Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any further developments,” Conley wrote without giving details of the kind of assistance that will be given.
The development came after Trump announced that White House counselor Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus. Hicks, who has frequently traveled with Trump became one among several persons from the White House to test positive for COVID-19.
“Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for COVID-19,” Trump said shortly before announcing that he is positive.
Trump and Hicks have been notably indignant about COVID-19 safety measures, including mask wearing. The President has also denounced the recommendations by his own medical advisers and go about rallies and fundraising without taking cautionary measures. The president has also repeatedly mocked Democratic presidential election nominee, Joe Biden for putting on a mask.
Trump has also touted hydroxychloroquine and bleach as possible cure for the virus, pushing a widely publicized notion that questioned medical studies and experts’ findings. The President who continues to question the handling of the pandemic by health authorities, including the WHO, also downplayed the impact, insisting the US is “rounding the corner” on the disease even though the reality tells a different tragic story.
Over 7 million Americans have been infected and more than 200,000 have died of the virus so far.
However, the development has changed the election schedule and the White House has made changes to reflect the reality, including the cancellation of a fundraising event billed to take place in Washington on Friday and a campaign rally in Florida.
The presidential election is barely 30 days away and as political events are rapping up for D-Day, the development has ushered in unprecedented chaos. Trump will be quarantined for 15 days, which means he will miss among other political events, the second presidential debate scheduled for October 15.
The news also came with reverberating concern that the election may be further disrupted. Trump 74, falls in the category of ‘high risk’ as being in the old-age bracket makes him more vulnerable to the virus.
His getting infected also undermines his efforts to reopen the schools. Earlier, Trump had expressed concern that his aides getting infected would discredit his push for the reopening of the economy. With the number of packed rallies and events he has been to so far, there is concern that more White House staff have been exposed to the virus.
On the other side of the chaos is the stock market. US stock futures fell on the news and the Treasury yield dipped as a wave of risk aversion swept markets following the development. Though experts said the initial risk-off moves were a knee-jerk reaction, the development could result in a new wave of market volatility as investors ready for the November election.
The impact of Trump’s exposure on the stock market will be determined in the coming weeks, based mainly on how the virus spreads around the White House.