White House virus protocol not changing despite diagnoses

President Donald Trump made the stunning announcement that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 early Friday. Here’s what we know:



a man that is standing in the snow: President Donald Trump descends from Air Force One at the airport in Morristown, N.J.


© ERIN SCHAFF
President Donald Trump descends from Air Force One at the airport in Morristown, N.J.

♦ Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for COVID-19 Friday morning, and his physician says that he doesn’t need to quarantine. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she had been tested but was awaiting results.

♦ President Trump is showing mild symptoms of the coronavirus, chief of staff Mark Meadows confirmed on Friday.

♦ Former vice president Joe Biden on Friday offered thoughts and prayers for the president and first lady, and he has tested negative for COVID-19.

  3:24 p.m.  

11 positive virus cases related to debate setup

By The Associated Press

Cleveland officials say they’re aware of 11 positive coronavirus cases related to the setup and planning for Tuesday’s presidential debate.

The city said in a statement Friday that it’s working with state and federal officials and is involved with interviewing those who tested positive.

Earlier Friday, President Donald Trump announced that he and the first lady had tested positive for COVID-19. Both traveled to Cleveland on Tuesday for the first presidential debate of the campaign. It’s unclear where they contracted the virus.

Cleveland officials say most of the cases stemming from the pre-debate planning and setup involved people from out of state. They say health officials are now looking into their travels.

  3:21 p.m.  

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wishes president and first lady a “quick and safe recovery”

By Lauren Booker, Globe Staff

On Twitter Friday afternoon, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren shared her thoughts and well wishes for the recovery of the Trumps, White House staff, and those who have come into contact with the president.

She also sent her thoughts to Americans who have survived COVID-19 or been affected by the virus, and noted that the virus has taken more than 200,000 Americans lives, including a “disproportionate number in Black and Brown communities.”

Later in the message, she brought up President Trump’s previous comments and actions regarding the coronavirus.

“The President spent months undermining the work of our doctors and scientists, while he failed to help states and communities contain the outbreak,” Warren wrote.

She ended her message by emphasizing that “COVID-19 is deadly.”

  3:12 p.m.  

White House virus protocol not changing despite diagnoses

By The Associated Press

The White House does not appear to be making any changes to current virus protocol, even after President Donald Trump and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19.

A senior White House official said Friday that masks will still not be mandatory at the White House, describing facial coverings as “a personal choice,” despite overwhelming evidence that they help to stop the spread.

And the White House is not planning to move to a different, more reliable testing system after the one it uses failed to detect that adviser Hope Hicks had the virus the day she began experiencing symptoms.

The president, his White House and his campaign have generally taken a lax approach to the pandemic, continuing to hold large events and failing to abide by social distancing recommendations.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House thinking, defended the current system.

  3:11 p.m.  

Vice presidential debate to continue as planned

By The Associated Press

The vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris next week will go on as scheduled after President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday.

An official with the Commission on Presidential Debates confirmed that no changes are anticipated to the Wednesday night debate in Salt Lake City. Both Pence and Harris underwent tests for the coronavirus on Friday and tested negative.

Pence’s physician said in a memo that the vice president was not considered a “close contact” of anyone infected with COVID-19 and was not required to quarantine.

“Vice President Mike Pence remains in good health and is free to go about his normal activities,” said Navy Lt. Commander Dr. Jesse Schonau in a statement.

  2:33 p.m.  

Pence’s physician says he doesn’t need to quarantine

By Lauren Booker, Globe staff

White House physician Dr. Jesse T. Schonau released a statement saying that vice president Mike Pence has tested negative for COVID-19, and that he “does not need to quarantine.”

The memorandum sent by Schonau says Pence “remains in good health and is free to go about his normal activities.”

“Under the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Vice President is not considered a close contact with any individuals who have tested positive for COVID, including President Donald J. Trump. Vice President Mike Pence does not need to quarantine,” Schonau said in the statement.

The CDC’s guidelines say that those who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should quarantine, and defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of someone with the virus for 15 or more minutes, being in direct physical contact with the person, or if the person has gotten respiratory droplets on them.

The center recommends that the person stay at home for 14 days after contact is made.

  2:26 p.m.  

Joe Biden to deliver remarks at 4:30 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

By Lauren Booker, Globe staff

Former vice president Joe Biden is scheduled to travel to Grand Rapids, Mich., on Friday at 4:30 p.m..

He is planning to talk about his plans for the economy.

  2:18 p.m.  

Chris Wallace, who moderated debate, will take a COVID-19 test, and urges Fox viewers to ‘wear the damn mask’

By Hayley Kaufman, Globe staff

Three days after the first presidential debate, President Trump has tested positive for COVID-19, while Joe Biden tested negative on Friday. But what of the third man on the stage Tuesday night, debate moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace?

Now he’s getting tested, too.

“You can bet — I’ve already been asked by a lot of people — I’m going to have to get a test,” Wallace said Friday on “Fox & Friends.”

  2:10 p.m.  

Amy Coney Barrett was diagnosed with COVID-19 this summer but since recovered

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was diagnosed with the coronavirus earlier this year but has since recovered, three officials familiar with her diagnosis told The Washington Post.

Two of the officials said she tested positive for the virus in the summer. All of the people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose her medical condition. The White House declined to comment on Barrett’s earlier diagnosis.

As the Supreme Court nominee, Barrett is now tested daily and most recently had a negative diagnosis for COVID-19 on Friday morning, according to deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere.

  1:51 p.m.  

Trump campaign announces that upcoming events will be postponed or moved to virtual events

By Christina Prignano, Globe staff

The Trump campaign announced on Friday that in the wake of the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis, all of his upcoming campaign events would either be postponed or held virtually.

“All previously announced campaign events involving the President’s participation are in the process of being moved to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed. In addition, previously announced events involving members of the First Family are also being temporarily postponed. All other campaign events will be considered on a case-by-case basis and we will make any relevant announcements in the days ahead,” the statement said. “Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative for COVID-19, plans on resuming his scheduled campaign events. Any further information about the President will come from the White House.”

The announcement from the campaign followed news from the Biden campaign that the former vice president would continue with his campaign stop through Michigan after testing negative for COVID-19 Friday.

  1:37 p.m.  

Will COVID-19 outbreak derail Trump’s Supreme Court pick?

By Victoria McGrane, Globe staff

The coronavirus outbreak gripping the White House spread to Capitol Hill on Friday morning, raising the prospect that the virus could disrupt Republican plans to push forward with plans to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before the November election.

Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reported via Twitter Friday that he had just tested positive for the potentially-deadly disease.

Lee vowed in his statement that he would isolate for 10 days and “be back to work in time to join my Judiciary Committee colleagues in advancing the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.”

  1:30 p.m.  

President of Notre Dame tests positive for coronavirus

By Christina Prignano

The president of Notre Dame, Rev. John Jenkins, announced on Friday that he has tested positive for coronavirus, according to several news reports. Jenkins attended the White House event announcing Amy Coney Barrett as Trump’s Supreme Court pick on Saturday, and was seen shaking hands with other attendees without a mask.

Jenkins has since apologized for his actions. Notre Dame officials said he recently learned a colleague he had been in contact with had tested positive, and sought a test. According to the statement, Jenkins has mild symptoms and will isolate.

  12:22 p.m.  

Joe Biden tests negative for COVID-19

By Christina Prignano

Former vice president Joe Biden has tested negative for COVID-19, just days after he stood on the same debate stage with President Trump, who has tested positive.

According to a statement from Dr. Kevin O’Connor, Biden’s personal physician, Biden, and his wife, Jill, have each tested negative.

“Vice president Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected,” a statement from O’Connor said. Biden also tweeted the news.

Earlier Friday, Biden released a statement offering thoughts and prayers to the first family.

Biden is moving ahead with his campaign schedule, according to a pool report. He is scheduled to make a campaign stop in Michigan as part of a swing through the midwest.

  11:52 a.m.  

Senator Mike Lee of Utah says he’s tested positive for COVID-19

Senator Mike Lee said that he was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and said he would isolate for the next 10 days after receiving a positive test. Lee, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett earlier this week. Barrett has tested negative for COVID-19, according to several reports.

  11:12 a.m.  

Melania Trump says she is experiencing ‘mild symptoms’ in first tweet since news of COVID-19 diagnosis

  11:01 a.m.  

Mark Meadows says Trump is experiencing mild symptoms but is in ‘good spirits’

By Christina Prignano, Globe staff

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed Friday that President Trump is experiencing mild symptoms, but said he is “in good spirits” and “very energetic” following his COVID-19 diagnosis.

Meadows addressed reporters at the White House and expressed optimism that Trump would have “a very quick and speedy recovery.”

“We have a president that is not only on the job he will remain on the job,” Meadows said.

He declined to say what specifically was being done in terms of treatment and would not answer questions about why the president went ahead with fund-raising events in Bedminster, N.J. on Thursday despite being aware that adviser Hope Hicks had likely come down with the virus.

Trump traveled to his New Jersey golf resort Thursday where he made remarks to a fund-raise. Several members of the president’s staff who had been in contact with Hicks canceled plans to accompany Trump on the trip.

“We discovered that right as Marine One was taking off yesterday,” Meadows said, referring to the president’s helicopter.

  10:00 a.m.  

‘The next few days are going to be really important’: Doctors weigh in on Trump’s diagnosis and risk

By Hanna Krueger, Globe staff

President Trump may be at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 given his age and weight, though doctors caution that the effects of the virus can be variable. The 74-year-old announced early Friday on Twitter that he and his wife, Melania Trump, had both tested positive for the coronavirus.

The president is so far experiencing mild “cold-like” symptoms, according to the New York Times. But before announcing his positive test result, Trump had been keeping to his campaign schedule. On Thursday, he flew to New Jersey, where he delivered a speech at a fund-raiser at his golf club. Upon returning to the White House, Trump participated in a call-in interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News.

“The course can be highly variable,” explained Dr. David Hamer, an infectious disease specialist at Boston Medical Center. “I suspect that he’s having daily testing so he likely went from negative to positive overnight. Given his age and obesity, the next few days are going to be really key.”

  9:57 a.m.  

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tests positive for virus

By Christina Prignano, Globe staff

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the New York Times, which also reported that she is showing “mild symptoms.”

The Times’ Maggie Haberman reported that McDaniel, who is Mitt Romney’s niece, was in contact with President Trump last Friday.

Several members of Trump’s cabinet have recently been tested for COVID-19, including Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, all of whom tested negative.

  9:48 a.m.  

Pelosi wishes Trump well, says she has been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting results

By Christina Prignano, Globe staff

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who follows Vice President Mike Pence in the presidential line of succession, told MSNBC on Friday morning that she had been tested for COVID-19 and was awaiting results.

Pelosi said she was tested “out of an abundance of caution,” and noted that while she had been in contact with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during recent COVID-19 relief talks, Mnuchin recently tested negative for the virus.

Pelosi offered her best wishes to Trump and the first lady. But, she called the president’s recent actions with regard to the virus “brazen” and hoped it would be a wake-up call to a “saner approach” to the virus.

“This is tragic. It’s very sad. But . . . going into crowds, unmasked and all the rest, was sort of a brazen invitation for something like this to happen. Sad that it did, but nonetheless, hopeful that it will be a transition to a saner approach to what this virus is all about,” Pelosi said.

  8:52 a.m.  

Joe Biden offers thoughts and prayers for President Trump, but gives no information about his own health

By John Ellement, Globe staff

Former vice president Joe Biden offered thoughts and prayers for President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, but the Democratic presidential nominee did not say if he was getting tested for COVID-19 Friday.

“Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family,” Biden tweeted shortly before 9 a.m. Friday.

The brief comment did not directly address the major question raised by the fact that Biden stood on the same stage Tuesday night with Trump during the first presidential debate in Cleveland.

  8:30 a.m.  

Vice President Pence tests negative for COVID-19 and ‘remains in good health,’ White House says

By the Associated Press

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative for COVID-19 Friday morning, hours after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Spokesman Devin O’Malley said Pence “remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery.”

Pence is tested every day for the virus, O’Malley confirmed.

  4:24 a.m.  

Thoughts, prayers, and politics: Here’s the early reaction to President Trump’s COVID-19 announcement

By Joshua Miller and Christina Prignano, Globe staff

President Trump’s stunning announcement overnight triggered swift and wide-ranging reaction early Friday, as the country and the world struggled to comprehend the enormous ramifications of the leader of the free world contracting COVID-19 just weeks before an election.

Thoughts and prayers and political calculations poured in, from expressions of good wishes for the health of the president and First Lady Melania Trump, who also tested positive, to speculation about the future of the presidential campaign, to concerns about national security.

“There’s the political story obviously, a White House that has minimized the virus and not done the basic things to protect itself and staff,” said Juliette Kayyem, a homeland security expert who served as an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration.

But she said the president testing positive for COVID-19 doesn’t make her worry about the broader operations of the United States government.

  1:10 a.m.  

Trump makes stunning announcement that he has COVID-19

By the Associated Press

President Donald Trump said early Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that plunges the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election.

Trump, who has spent much of the year downplaying the threat of a virus that has killed more than 205,000 Americans, said he and Mrs. Trump were quarantining. The White House physician said the president is expected to continue carrying out his duties “without disruption” while recovering.

Still, Trump’s diagnosis was sure to have a destabilizing effect in Washington and around the world, raising questions about how far the virus had spread through the highest levels of the US government. Hours before Trump announced he had contracted the virus, the White House said a top aide who had traveled with him during the week had tested positive.

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