October 2: Trump's Covid diagnosis

By Veronica Rocha, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:44 a.m. ET, October 3, 2020
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11:35 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Here's why a negative test result is not a shield against Covid-19

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

A medical worker shows the process for rapid coronavirus testing on the new Abbott ID Now machine at a ProHEALTH center in Brooklyn on August 27, in New York City.
A medical worker shows the process for rapid coronavirus testing on the new Abbott ID Now machine at a ProHEALTH center in Brooklyn on August 27, in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Following President Trump testing positive for Covid-19, several government officials, who regularly interact with him, have announced that they have gotten tested and the result came out negative. This includes Ivanka Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. But here’s why a negative test result may not enough.

A test can produce a false negative.

“You can test negative one day and then test positive the next day, or even the same day, you can get two different results,” said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent. “It’s why testing can only go so far.”

He recommended that every person who came in close contact with the President — more than 15 minutes, within six feet — needs to quarantine regardless of their test results.

“They need to be quarantined. Not just tested, tested is nice, it's important to have, but tests can come back false negative,” Gupta said. “Even on the day of the debate, test could have come back false negative. That's why everyone has to behave like they have the virus.”

You are most contagious before you show symptoms of Covid-19

People who test positive for Covid-19 are actually most contagious in the few days before they develop symptoms, according to Dr. Gupta, adding that this is what is different about this particular virus.

If Trump started showing symptoms on Thursday, it probably means that he was doing most of “the viral shedding in the couple three days before that,” Gupta said. “So now you're going back to Tuesday or Monday in terms of contagiousness.”

As contact tracing gets underway at the highest levels of US government, Dr. Gupta says “we're getting a look at what should have been happening in the country all along — this level of contact tracing, quarantining. If we would be doing this, it could have helped to curb this pandemic.”

Watch:

11:09 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Meadows confirms the White House knew Hicks was positive before POTUS traveled

From CNN's Betsy Klein and Kaitlan Collins

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House on Friday in Washington.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House on Friday in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP

Pressed by CNN’s Joe Johns on the timing of when the White House learned Hope Hicks had tested positive, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows conceded that people knew of her positive diagnosis before Marine One took off for New Jersey on Thursday afternoon for a fundraiser.

Some staffers, he said, were pulled from Marine One, raising further questions about why the trip proceeded, the President coming into contact with numerous supporters at his Bedminster club.

"I’m not going to get into the tick tock. I can tell you, in terms of Hope Hicks, we discovered that right as the Marine One was taking off yesterday," Meadows said. "We actually pulled some of the people that have been traveling and in close contact. The reason why it was reported out, just frankly, is that we had already started to contact tracing just prior to that event,” he said.

Multiple senior staffers told CNN's Kaitlan Collins they did not learn of Hicks' diagnosis until Thursday night, shortly before it was reported by Bloomberg News.

Meadows claimed that the White House acted quickly to inform the public of the President’s diagnosis.

“As you know, last night, even in the early hours of this morning, the minute we got a confirmatory test on the President, we felt like it was important to get the news out there at that time, and so that's why we sent out a tweet late, late or early this morning,” he said.

Meadows said the White House has "protocols in place" to mitigate risks and make it easier for people to social distance, but regardless, the virus is still contagious.

"What you have is a virus that is contagious – that certainly continues to be regardless of whatever protocol we have, that it has the ability to affect everybody," he said.

"I can tell you that what we're doing is focusing on the therapeutics, the vaccines, continuing to do that, and that doesn't change," Meadows added.

Meadows declined to say whether President Trump, who tested positive for coronavirus, is taking hydroxychloroquine, a treatment he repeatedly touted despite questionable benefits. Trump, he reiterated, has “mild symptoms.

“Well, I'm not going to get into any particular treatment that he may or may not have but he has mild symptoms as we look at that the doctor will continue to provide expertise in the residence. He's in the residence now, and in a true fashion he's probably critiquing the way that I'm answering these questions,” Meadows said.

11:06 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

McConnell says Trump in "good spirits"

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Phil Mattingly

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell walks towards the Senate floor on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Oct. 1, in Washington.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell walks towards the Senate floor on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Oct. 1, in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he recently wrapped a phone call with President Trump and that he is in “good spirits,” adding that the pair "talked business." 

"Just finished a great phone call with @POTUS. He’s in good spirits and we talked business — especially how impressed Senators are with the qualifications of Judge Barrett. Full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, timely process that the nominee, the Court, & the country deserve," McConnell wrote on Twitter. 
11:34 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

HHS secretary deflects questions about the safety of holding Trump rallies during a pandemic

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar deflected pointed questions about the safety of President Trump holding rallies during the Covid-19 pandemic during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on Friday. 

Rep. Maxine Waters asked Azar if he thought if the President’s rallies “contributed to the increase” of Covid-19 cases?  

Azar didn’t answer the question. Instead he said:

“So, we have consistent advice, which is to practice the three Ws for all individuals -- wash your hands, watch your distance, wear face coverings, avoid settings where you can't — and that applies to any setting, and people need to assess their individual circumstances.”  

Waters followed up, saying that rallies where the audience is not wearing masks or socially distanced “certainly adds to the increase the possibility of these infections – is that correct?

Azar once again, “our advice has always been the same, the three Ws.”  

Waters asked if Azar had “ever interacted with the President about him being a possible role model in this country?” 

“I'm not going to discuss my discussions with the President,” Azar responded.  

Waters asked Azar to name areas of the country that were seeing an increase in cases, and he named a handful of states in the Midwest and West. When asked to give specifics about the numbers, Azar said those were available at https://www.coronavirus.gov/.  

 

10:55 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Biden has been tested for coronavirus and is awaiting results

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden arrives at Cleveland Airport in Cleveland, on Tuesday, September 29.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden arrives at Cleveland Airport in Cleveland, on Tuesday, September 29. Andrew Harnik/AP

Joe Biden has received his coronavirus test, and they are waiting on the results to determine whether or not he will still travel to Michigan today as planned, a source familiar tells CNN.

10:53 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

White House chief of staff confirms Trump does have "mild symptoms"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks to the press from the White House on Friday.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks to the press from the White House on Friday. Source: Pool

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is speaking to the press now from the White House about President Trump's coronavirus diagnosis.

"The President does have mild symptoms and as we look to try to make sure that not only his health and safety and welfare is good, we continue to look at that for all of the American people.  He continues to be not only in good spirits but very energetic," Meadows said.

He said the doctors continue to monitor the President and first lady's health.

Meadows added that Trump is "staying committed to working very hard on behalf of the American people"

"We have a president that is not only on the job, will remain on the job, and I’m optimistic that he’ll have a very quick and speedy recovery," Meadows added.

10:50 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains when those who test positive for Covid-19 are most contagious

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Source: CNN

People who test positive for Covid-19 are actually most contagious in the few days before they develop symptoms, according to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and adviser Hope Hicks all tested positive for the virus.

“If this is the point where he started to develop symptoms, it probably meant that you were doing most of … what they call the viral shedding in the couple three days before that. OK, so today is Friday, symptoms Thursday, so now you're going back to Tuesday or Monday in terms of contagiousness. It also makes a difference on the back side in terms of when someone might be cleared from isolation,” he said. 

Contact tracers would focus on that earlier time frame, Gupta explains. 

President Trump has “mild symptoms” from the coronavirus, a White House official told CNN.

“I think that one the most critical points here — and I think this is what’s different about this particular virus — is that the contagiousness, like how contagious somebody is, tends to be the highest in the couple three days before they develop symptoms,” Gupta explained.
10:27 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Rudy Giuliani getting tested today and has begun quarantine

From CNN's Michael Warren 

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani attend a news conference with President Donald Trump at the White House, on Sunday, September 27 in Washington.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani attend a news conference with President Donald Trump at the White House, on Sunday, September 27 in Washington. Carolyn Kaster/AP

A spokeswoman for Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and President Trump’s lawyer, said he will be getting tested for Covid-19 today.

“In the meantime he has begun the quarantine process,” said spokeswoman Christianné Allen. 

She confirmed Giuliani is currently in New York and quarantining there.

10:21 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Trump is on the phone and "sounds good," White House economic adviser says

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow walks outside the West Wing on the North Lawn driveway of the White House on Friday, Oct. 2, in Washington.
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow walks outside the West Wing on the North Lawn driveway of the White House on Friday, Oct. 2, in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow declined to make any generalizations on the economic impact of the President’s coronavirus diagnosis, but said there was continuity of government and President Donald Trump sounds “good.” 

“Look, the president is on the phone, he sounds good. Our government, senior staff, we’re in motion, the business of government is continuing,” Kudlow said during an appearance on Fox Business, the first administration official to appear on television from the White House since the news broke. 

Kudlow said he received a negative test Friday morning. 

“I myself personally tested this morning negatively, I’ve been tested every day,” he said. 

“We’re all praying for the first family,” he added. 

The administration sees “no need to shut down again,” he later added, noting that coronavirus stimulus talks would “probably” continue Friday.