- President Donald Trump on Saturday said he was recently tested for the novel coronavirus and is awaiting results.
- Trump’s announcement came after the White House physician released a memo on Friday saying the president did not need to be tested despite potential exposure from two individuals at Mar-a-Lago last week.
- The president said his temperature was taken before entering the Press Briefing Room and it was “totally normal.”
- Vice President Pence said he and his wife have not been tested for the virus.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
At a press conference on Saturday, President Donald Trump told reporters he had been tested for the novel coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, and is awaiting results of the test.
The announcement came after a White House physician released a memo saying the president did not need to be tested or quarantined despite potential exposure to the virus.
“The President’s exposure to the first individual was extremely limited (photograph, handshake), and though he spent more time in proximity to the second case, all interactions occurred before any symptom onset,” Trump’s doctor, Sean Coley, wrote.
Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Saturday he and second lady Karen Pence had not been tested because the White House doctor said they did not have the symptoms that necessitate a test.
The president hosted a delegation of officials from Brazil, including President Jair Bolsonaro and his press secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Trump shared a dinner table with both men and Wajngarten later tested positive for the coronavirus.
Multiple members of Congress were potentially exposed to the virus after interacting with someone who tested positive for it after attending the Conservative Political Action Conference. Some of those lawmakers later shook hands with Trump or were in close proximity to him.
Four Republican lawmakers — Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Doug Collins, Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Paul Gosar — self-quarantined after coming into contact with the coronavirus patient at CPAC.
GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert was also told he was in proximity of the individual who tested positive for the illness at CPAC, but Gohmert refused to quarantine himself.
The White House on Saturday announced that anyone who came into close contact with Trump or Vice President Mike Pence would have their temperature taken out of an “abundance of caution.” The president said his temperature had to be taken before he entered the Press Briefing Room.
As the president was moving from the podium, a reporter asked about his temperature. Trump remarked it was “totally normal,” though he did not provide any more details.
CNN reported that one person had been turned away from the White House after they had a temperature of 99.9 degrees.
The World Health Organization classified the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic on Wednesday. To date, more than 150,000 people around the world have been infected, and over 5,000 have died.
In the US, the virus has killed at least 50 people and infected more than 2,300 people.
Trump declared a national emergency over the novel coronavirus on Friday afternoon during a White House news conference.
The move will trigger the Stafford Act, which allows for more federal aid to states and municipalities. Trump said his decision will open up access to $50 billion in aid money for US states and territories.
Trump also conferred “broad new authority” on Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, which includes:
- The ability to waive laws to enable telehealth.
- The ability to waive requirements that critical access hospitals limit the number of beds to 25 and length of stay to 96 hours.
- Waiving the requirement for a 3-day hospital stay before being admitted to a nursing home.
- The ability to bring more physicians on board or obtain needed office space.
- The authority to waive rules that severely restrict hospitals from being able to adequately care for patients.
“No resource will be spared,” Trump said. “Nothing whatsoever.”
“Our immediate goal is to stop the spread of the virus and to help all Americans who have been impacted by this,” he said.
But he added: “Again, we don’t want everybody taking this test, it’s totally unnecessary. This will pass. This will pass through and we’ll emerge even stronger for it. We’ve learned a lot. A tremendous amount has been learned.”
US stocks climbed on Friday, bouncing back a day after the worst single-day drop since 1987.
The gains came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that Congress and the Trump administration were nearing an economic stimulus deal. In a tweet on Friday morning, Trump hinted at what the package may include.
All three major US indexes remained in bear-market territory on Friday as coronavirus fears and the oil-price war weighed on investor sentiment.
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