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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12:07 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

CDC director tested negative Tuesday and has had no close contact with Trump

From CNN's Kristen Holmes and Nick Valencia 

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies during a Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on the federal government response to Covid-19 on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, September 23, in Washington.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies during a Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on the federal government response to Covid-19 on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, September 23, in Washington. Ale

Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tested negative for Covid-19 on Tuesday and did not have "direct, close contact" with the President during the timeframe that would have resulted in an exposure, a CDC spokesperson said in a statement.

Read the full statement:

The president and first lady are in Dr. Redfield’s thoughts and prayers and he wishes them a speedy and complete recovery. Dr. Redfield did not have direct, close contact with the president or first lady in the timeframe that would have resulted in an exposure. Dr. Redfield’s most-recent COVID-19 test was Tuesday, Sept. 29th, and the result was negative. Core public health strategies – testing, isolation and contact tracing – underway in communities and institutions across the nation are critical tools to slowing the spread of the virus.
12:06 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Exact distance between Trump and Biden podiums at debate was 12 feet, 8 inches

From CNN’s Dan Merica

Per a source with knowledge of the presidential debate set up, the distance between Donald Trump and Joe Biden's podiums at Tuesday's debate was 12 feet and 8 inches.

The debate's Covid-19 measures: The candidates did not shake hands with each other during the debate and did not shake hands with the moderator. Biden nor Trump wore masks on stage.

According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, everyone attending the debate at Case Western Reserve University, would undergo testing for Covid-19 and follow other health safety protocols. 

 

11:55 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Senator Mike Lee tests positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Phil Mattingly 

Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah who met with Amy Coney Barrett Tuesday, has tested positive for coronavirus. He took the test yesterday and the results came back today, according to a statement he posted on Twitter. 

In his tweet he makes a point of noting that he’ll be back in time for the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Barrett's nomination. 

Lee also attended the Supreme Court unveiling announcement on Saturday. 

See his tweet:

11:54 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Trump expected to talk with governors today

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said President Trump is expected to be on a governors call at noon today. Cuomo made the comment during the state’s Covid-19 news briefing.

The governor said if Trump is on this call it would be good news because Trump is still working. 

Governors are supposed to be discussing Covid-19 with the President.

11:38 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Senate minority leader calls for testing and contact tracing for senators and staff

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer speaks at a news conference on October 1, in Washington.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer speaks at a news conference on October 1, in Washington. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling for a testing and contact tracing program for Senators and staff.

He said in a statement that the positive tests at the White House “demonstrates that the Senate needs a testing and contact tracing program for Senators, staff, and all who work in the Capitol complex. We simply cannot allow the administration's cavalier attitude to adversely affect this branch of government.”

Schumer also said the administration needs to be transparent and follow the protocols that are in place.

"Though they have not done so in the past, the administration must now follow the science and all recommended health protocols in order to not put additional people at risk. And they must be completely transparent," he said in the statement.

11:41 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Melania Trump also experiencing mild symptoms

From CNN's Kate Bennett

First lady Melania Trump tweets confirmed that she also has mild symptoms of coronavirus, but she added “overall feeling good.”

"Thank you for the love you are sending our way. I have mild symptoms but overall feeling good. I am looking forward to a speedy recovery," Trump said on Twitter.  

The White House has said that President Trump is also currently experiencing mild symptoms. 

11:40 a.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Defense secretary last saw Trump Sunday and has tested negative

From CNN's Barbara Starr

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper attends an honor cordon at the Pentagon on September 22, in Washington.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper attends an honor cordon at the Pentagon on September 22, in Washington. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley tested negative for Covid-19 Friday and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was tested again Friday “as planned for continuation of his travel” after testing negative on Monday and Wednesday this week, according to Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman.

Esper is currently traveling in north Africa and Hoffman said he “will not be returning to the US early.”

“Secretary Esper and Chairman Milley last met with the President on Sunday at the White House Gold Star Families event,” Hoffman said in a statement.

The have been no changes to Department of Defense alert levels, Hoffman said. 

“With regard to reports about E-6B aircraft on alert status, US STRATCOM has confirmed these E-6B aircraft were part of pre-planned missions,” he said. “Any timing to the president’s announcement was purely coincidental.”

“The Secretary, Mrs. Esper, Chairman Milley, and Mrs. Milley send their thoughts and prayers to the President and First Lady for a swift recovery,” Hoffman said.

“The Secretary has expressed his appreciation for the White House’s military medical team and is confident that they will ensure that the President and First Lady – like all members of our military family – will continue to receive the best medical care in the world,” he said.

  

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.