President Donald Trump has been hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday.
The Marine One presidential helicopter took off from the White House lawn to transport the president to the hospital as a precautionary measure, according to a senior administration official.
Trump announced early Friday morning that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19. White House officials have repeatedly said the president is experiencing “mild symptoms.” The news comes just four weeks before Election Day and after a week full of campaign events.
As the leader of a nation that’s seen over 7 million coronavirus cases and more than 200,000 deaths, Trump is now facing the very threat he largely downplayed for the past six months, including on the presidential debate stage just three days ago.
Here’s what we know so far:
The President’s Current Condition
A senior administration official Friday afternoon said President Trump would be hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a precautionary measure after consultation with physicians.
The official said Trump will work out of the hospital for the next few days, adding that his symptoms are still mild, that he’s in good spirits and doing well.
Trump received “a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail. He completed the infusion without incident,” according to the White House. Trump also has also been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.
Earlier on Friday, first lady Melania Trump tweeted that she is experiencing “mild symptoms but overall feeling good.”
COVID-19 symptoms can appear as early as two days and as long as 14 days after an exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people who are infected develop symptoms after about five days, although approximately 20% to 40% who are infected don’t develop any symptoms.
The most common symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, a dry cough, shortness of breath and fatigue. Other symptoms can include headache, muscle pain, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea and loss of taste and smell.
Up to half of patients who are hospitalized don’t have a fever when admitted but nearly all develop one. How people fare varies widely — some seem to be recovering and then suddenly worsen.
Trump published a video on Twitter thanking supporters for their well-wishes.
How Did Trump Get the Virus?
It’s not yet clear exactly how the president and first lady got the coronavirus.
However, the first couple were tested Thursday after a top White House aide, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the coronavirus. Hicks began to feel symptomatic while flying back from a campaign event with the president and several other Trump administration officials Wednesday night. She quarantined herself on the plane, but she had spent much of the past week with the president.
An RNC official confirmed Friday that Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel learned she had tested positive Wednesday afternoon and has been at her home in Michigan since last Saturday after a family member’s positive test. McDaniel was last with Trump a week ago, according to The New York Times.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee and University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I Jenkins both said Friday that they tested positive. Both visited the White House on Saturday, Sept. 26, when Trump announced that he nominated Judge Amy Comey Barrett to the Supreme Court.
What Is the White House COVID-19 Protocol?
Senior staff have been tested for COVID-19 daily since two people who work at the White House complex tested positive in early May, prompting the White House to step up precautions.
The measures include deep and frequent cleaning of the West Wing and requiring staff who serve Trump and are close to him throughout the day — such as White House residence staff, his military valets and members of his Secret Service detail — to wear face coverings, the official said. Everyone who comes into contact with the president also receives a quick-result test.
Yet since the early days of the pandemic, experts have questioned the health and safety protocols at the White House and asked why more wasn’t being done to protect the commander in chief. Trump continued to shake hands with visitors long after public health officials were warning against it and he initially resisted being tested. He has been reluctant to practice his own administration’s social distancing guidelines for fear of looking weak, including refusing under almost all circumstances to wear a mask in public.