President Donald Trump will spend a “few days” at a military hospital after contracting COVID-19, the White House said Friday, as the virus that has killed more than 205,000 Americans spread to the highest reaches of the U.S. government. Trump “remains fatigued,” his doctor said.
Trump was to depart the White House by helicopter late Friday for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The White House said the visit was precautionary and that he would work from the hospital’s presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to continue his official duties.
“President Trump remains in good spirts, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day,” said press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. “Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the president will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days.”
Earlier Friday the White House said Trump had been injected with an experimental antibody cocktail by the White House physician.
Just a month before the presidential election, Trump’s revelation that he was positive for the virus came by tweet about 1 a.m. after he had returned from an afternoon political fundraiser. He had gone ahead, saying nothing to the crowd though knowing he had been exposed to an aide with the disease that has infected millions in America and killed more than a million people worldwide.
First lady Melania Trump also tested positive, the president said, and several others in the White House have, too, prompting concern that the White House or even Trump himself might have spread the virus further.
Trump has spent much of the year downplaying the threat of the virus, rarely wearing a protective mask and urging states and cities to “reopen” and reduce or eliminate shutdown rules.
The president’s physician said in a memo late Friday that Trump received a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail by Regeneron that is in clinical trials. Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley said Trump “remains fatigued but in good spirits” and that a team of experts was evaluating both the president and first lady in regard to next steps.
The first lady, who is 50, has a “mild cough and headache,” Conley reported, and the remainder of the first family, including the Trumps’ son Barron, who lives at the White House, tested negative.
Both Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris have tested negative, their campaign said. Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the virus Friday morning and “remains in good health,” his spokesman said.
Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who was with him and many others on Saturday and has been on Capitol Hill meeting with lawmakers, also tested negative, the White House said.
Trump’s diagnosis was sure to have a destabilizing effect in Washington and around the world, raising questions about how far the virus has spread through the highest levels of the U.S. 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.