Top Trump aide Hope Hicks, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 Wednesday, would have been “teeming” with the virus on the day that she traveled with US President Donald Trump this week, CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner said Thursday.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump have now tested positive for the virus.
Reiner said Trump and his staff were in close conditions at a time when those who have tested positive will have been potentially highly infectious.
“If you're in close quarters with somebody who is teeming with virus, and we think that you're probably most contagious the day you develop symptoms,” Reiner told CNN’s Don Lemon.
“Yesterday (Wednesday) is when Ms. Hicks apparently developed symptoms. She would be teeming with virus and that's not the time to be on a small helicopter or in a small conference room on Air Force One with a bunch of people,” Reiner said.
Hicks was seen boarding both Air Force One and the helicopter designated as Marine One with the President as she traveled with administration members this week, including to the presidential debate in Ohio on Tuesday.
“The President has gone out of his way to downplay the risks of this virus, to downplay the benefit of universal masking and now we see what happens when you continue to flirt with disaster, when you pretend that somehow you're immune,” said Reiner, who worked in the George W. Bush administration as former Vice President Dick Cheney’s cardiologist.
Having access to constant testing, as Trump does, doesn’t prevent infection, Reiner said.
“What they hoped to do was to create, create a sterile cocoon around him by testing just about everybody that comes into contact with him, but it's really impossible to test everyone every single day with the number of people working in the White House,” Reiner said.
“You only need one broken link to get the virus inside the wire and that's what's happened now, and the virus is merciless. The virus is very contagious.”