Update, 7:48 p.m. ET: President Donald Trump tested negative for the coronavirus, according to his personal physician.
This story was originally published on March 14, 2020.
On Saturday afternoon, during a press conference, President Donald Trump revealed he has finally been tested for the coronavirus.
Trump said he was tested Friday night and also had his temperature taken Saturday before entering the briefing room where the press conference took place. He claimed his temperature was normal.
When asked about the results of his test, he said it was sent to a lab and could take a day or two, without explaining why his staff had released a misleading midnight statement from the White House physician still insisting that there was no need for such a test since he had exhibited no symptoms.
Determining the president’s health status is important because last weekend at a party at Mar-a-Lago for Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend and former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle’s birthday, the president came in contact with the Brazilian press secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, who has since tested positive for the virus. Also testing positive were other members of Brazilian President Jair Balsonaro’s group: Nestor Forster, his top diplomat in Washington, and Nelsinho Trad, a Brazilian senator. A fourth member of the Brazilian delegation also tested positive but had not been at Mar-a-Lago. Another unidentified person at Mar-a-Lago the next day for a fundraising brunch with Trump has also tested positive, reports the New York Times.
Some of the politicians who came into contact with the Brazilian delegation in Florida — Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — hadn’t been experiencing any symptoms but chose to self-isolate anyway. “His doctors still believe that he is at a low risk and getting tested is unnecessary as long as he’s not experiencing symptoms. But we’re constantly re-evaluating the situation,” a spokesperson for Scott told BuzzFeed News in an email. Meanwhile, Graham’s office confirmed he’s awaiting test results.
There’s also Peter Dutton, Australia’s minister for home affairs, who tested positive for COVID-19 after meeting with Attorney General William Barr, Kellyanne Conway, and Ivanka Trump – all of whom presumably meet with the president weekly, if not daily.
Additionally, the president keeps touching people, which is some cause for concern. At Friday’s press conference, while outlining some of the administration's plans to combat the virus, he shook hands with nearly every speaker who approached the podium. At Saturday’s press briefing, when asked, he explained it was a force of habit to shake hands.
The White House is taking the precaution of taking the temperature of anyone coming into contact with the president or Vice President Mike Pence, according to MSN.
“Out of an abundance of caution, temperature checks are now being performed on any individuals who are in close contact with the President and Vice President,” Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said.
Other government officials globally are announcing plans to self-isolate and work from home, as they and their staffers are contracting or coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. On March 11, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, tested positive for coronavirus after attending a charity event in London, and the two have been isolated since.
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.