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Trump Diagnosis Shakes White House

President's age, weight could cause COVID complications
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2020 3:38 AM CDT
Updated Oct 2, 2020 6:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus in a stunning development that takes the president off the campaign trail just 32 days before the election. The president tweeted early Friday that he will begin the quarantine process immediately. Trump, who traveled to New Jersey for a fundraising event Thursday, had been scheduled to travel to Florida for a fundraiser and a rally Friday, but the revised White House schedule now lists his only event Friday as a phone call on "COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors," the AP reports. Aides say all presidential travel has been halted. More:

  • A "jolt to the country's leadership." The Washington Post describes the diagnosis as a "jolt to the country's leadership" that has led to discussions on the "continuity of government" if the president becomes seriously ill. Trump's diagnosis came hours after officials announced that Hope Hicks, one of the president's closest aides, had tested positive. Hicks—who, like Trump, is often seen without a mask—has traveled with Trump and other top advisers multiple times over the last week.
  • Trump, first lady "both well at this time." Sean Conley, the president's physician, said in a memo that Trump and his wife are "both well at this time" and plan to remain at the White House. "Rest assured I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering," said Conley, who did not disclose whether the president is showing symptoms.

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  • Recovery could take weeks. If president develops symptoms, it could take him weeks to recover, the New York Times reports. Under the 25th amendment, he could temporarily transfer power to Vice President Mike Pence if he is "medically incapacitated." If both Trump and Pence are unable to serve, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is next in succession.
  • Next debate is in doubt. It's not clear how long Trump will remain in quarantine at the White House. If he spends 14 days in quarantine, it will rule out the Oct. 15 debate with Joe Biden, though other White House officials who have tested positive have been cleared to return to work after seven days with no symptoms and two negative tests, Politico reports.
  • Age, weight could put Trump at risk. The president is 74 years old and overweight, which puts him at high risk of developing complications, doctors say. Intensive care physician Dr. Barry Dixon tells the Guardian that Trump will face a much higher risk of dying if he also develops pneumonia. "We tend to see people with very mild symptoms for the first week, that is typical, and in the second week typically people either develop pneumonia or not," he says.
  • Trump suggests Hicks caught it from military. Before his diagnosis, Trump spoke to Fox News’ Sean Hannity. He said he was awaiting test results and suggested Hicks had caught the virus from members of the military or law enforcement. "It is very, very hard when you are with people from the military, or from law enforcement, and they come over to you, and they want to hug you, and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them,” he said, per the Post. “You get close, and things happen. I was surprised to hear with Hope, but she is a very warm person with them. She knows there’s a risk, but she is young.”
  • Melania Trump is "feeling good." "As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19," the first lady tweeted early Friday. "We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together."
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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