Donald Trump tests positive for coronavirus after claiming ‘it affects virtually nobody’. He’s 74 and overweight
US president Donald Trump and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, have tested positive for coronavirus.
Trump, who is 74 and therefore in a high-risk group, announced the news in a tweet on 2 October, writing: “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
Trump was already quarantining with Melania in the White House after his adviser Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus earlier in the day on 2 October. Hicks travelled with Trump on Air Force One to the first presidential TV debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden in Ohio on Tuesday.
Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, said that he expected Trump to “continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering”.
Trump has been widely criticised for downplaying the coronavirus pandemic during the early stages, and for the US death toll which is the highest in the world.
As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 2, 2020
At the debate – during which Trump belittled Biden for wearing masks and having smaller campaign rallies than him – some of Trump’s family and aides were photographed sat together and not wearing masks. The president has also spurned mask-wearing, telling Americans last week not to worry about coronavirus because “it affects virtually nobody”.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began at the beginning of this year, more than seven million people in the US have had the virus and 208,000 people have died from it.
News that Donald Trump has coronavirus comes just 32 days before the US election. It is not clear how his illness will affect the next presidential debate, scheduled for 15 October.
Trump is the latest world leader to catch the deadly virus, after UK prime minister Boris Johnson in March and Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro.
Johnson was the first leader of a major Western country known to have contracted the virus. It came just weeks after he cheerfully bragged at a press conference that he “shook the hands” of coronavirus patients at a hospital.
Bolsonaro, like Trump, has shunned masks, telling reporters masks are “too gay”. In July, the far-right leader tested positive for coronavirus twice.