The US president and the first lady have tested positive for COVID-19 after senior aide Hope Hicks was also found to have the virus. Trump reportedly spent substantial time in close proximity with Hicks this week.US President Donald Trumpand the first lady tested positive for coronavirus Thursday. (PIC courtesy:- UNI)
Trump tweeted that he and his wife Melania would begin their "recovery process immediately" and "get through this together."The Trumps had entered quarantine earlier in the day after senior aide Hope Hicks had also tested positive.
She spent a substantial amount of time in close proximity with Trump this week, including traveling with him to a campaign rally on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported, citing an administration official.
She also traveled with Trump several other days this week, including on board the presidential helicopter Marine One as well as on Air Force One.
Minutes after Trump tweeted his positive test result, the White House physician said the president was "well" and would continue to perform his duties "without disruption" while quarantining along with the first lady.
Dr. Sean Conley said the pair plan to "remain home at at the White House during their convalescence."
At 74, Trump is at a higher risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19.
While most people have only mild symptoms, some older people — usually those with other medical complications — develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.
What now for election campaigning?
Trump becomes the highest-profile world leader to contract the virus, just a month before he seeks a second term in the White House.
The diagnosis has thrown his reelection plan into turmoil as he continues to trail his Democratic rival Joe Biden in the polls.
Immediately, the White House canceled plans for Trump to attend a campaign fundraiser and to fly to Florida for a rally later Friday.
First Lady Melania Trump acknowledged on Twitter that the pair had "postponed all upcoming engagements."
But her Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham wrote that "nothing" would stop the pair from "fighting for the American people."
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, meanwhile, tweeted: "Your President will continue to put the People first!It was immediately unclear whether Trump would be fit for the second presidential debate on October 15.
If Trump were unable to do his job — even due to a short illness — the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution allows the vice president becomes the president.
The world reacts
The announcement sparked an immediate drop in US stock futures. The Dow slumped 1.7% and the broader S&P 500 shed 1.6%. Japan's Nikkei traded down almost a percent and European stock markets were expected to open lower.
US Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter that he and his wife Karen were sending "love and prayers to our dear friends," before adding: "We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery."
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first world leader to tweet his support, wishing the president and first lady "a quick recovery."
While China has yet to formally comment, Hu Xijin, Editor in Chief of China's Global Times, tweeted: "President Trump and the first lady have paid the price for his gamble to play down the COVID-19. The news shows the severity of the US' pandemic situation. It will impose a negative impact on the image of Trump and the US, and may also
negatively affect his reelection."
White House aides tested daily
After several earlier positive cases close to the president, the White House began conducting daily tests for Trump's senior aides and anyone else in close proximity with the president or vice president Mike Pence — including reporters.
"The President takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously," White House spokesperson Judd Deere said.
The virus has killed over 205,000 people in the United States, making it the world's highest death toll. Over 7.2 million people in the US have been infected with the virus so far.
Trump has been criticized for his response to the pandemic, including playing down the threat and refusing to abide by public health guidelines — including wearing masks.
His positive test comes after several other world leaders contracted the virus, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a week in the hospital, including three nights in intensive care, where he was given oxygen and watched around the clock by medical workers.
Earlier in the year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel self-isolated after a doctor who gave her a vaccination tested positive for the virus.mm, rs/rt (AP, Reuters, AFP)