WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump said Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus.
“We will immediately begin the quarantine and recovery process. We will go through it TOGETHER!”, – tweeted 74-year-old Trump.
Trump's physician, Sean Conley, said the president would be able to carry out his duties “without interruption” during treatment.
“The President and the First Lady are doing well now and are planning to stay at home in the White House for the recovery period,” the doctor wrote in a memorandum circulated to the press.
A positive test for Trump also means that senior members of his administration are at risk of infection, and they, too, will likely have to go to quarantine. A White House spokesman said Friday morning that contact tracing work has begun.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife tested negative for coronavirus, his spokesman said.
Trump has held thousands of rallies in recent weeks ahead of the November 3 presidential election. Three days ago, Trump's first round of pre-election debates with Democrat Joe Biden took place.
US index futures fell sharply after reporting Trump's infection, and oil prices and Treasury yields also fell.
On Thursday evening, the American leader predicted that the pandemic would end soon. Soon after, there were reports that President's closest adviser Hope Hicks, who flew with him on Tuesday and Wednesday, had contracted the coronavirus, and then the President tweeted his test positive.
Trump's infection with the coronavirus is changing the course of the presidential race.
The White House on Friday unveiled an updated Trump timetable, removing an earlier planned trip to Florida. Biden is due to arrive in Michigan on Friday. Both states are “hesitant” and can decide the outcome of the elections.
“Trump lagged behind Biden and clearly failed to close the gap after the initial debate … I suspect the markets will tend to believe that Biden is likely to win the election,” said Naoya Oshikubo of Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management.
“What worries me is that he will become even more aggressive against China after he caught the virus himself.”
Trump, who has been criticized for doubting the effectiveness of wearing a face mask, pulled a mask out of his pocket during the first debate against Biden on Tuesday and said, “I wear masks when necessary. When necessary, I wear a mask.”
He then made fun of the former vice president for regularly wearing a mask, adding, “Every time you see him, he's wearing a mask. He goes to perform 200 feet away from (people), and appears with the biggest mask I've ever – either seen, “Trump said.
Health professionals believe that face masks play an important role in preventing the spread of the virus.
This is not the first COVID-19 alarm in the White House. Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, contracted the coronavirus with a number of symptoms. Also infected was a US Navy employee who worked as the president's personal valet.
However, in the summer, the White House lifted precautions as Trump sought to signal that life was returning to normal. Temperature checks on every visitor to the White House have stopped, although tests for coronavirus have been carried out on people from Trump's inner circle, including some reporters.
Trump held a rally with an audience of 1,000 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June. Thereafter, the number of coronavirus cases in the area skyrocketed and Herman Kane, a prominent businessman and Trump supporter who attended the event, later contracted the coronavirus and died.
(Jeff Mason with participation of Hideyuki Sano and Aishwarya Nair; Translated by Caleb Davis and Elizaveta Zhuravleva. Editor Marina Bobrova)