White House COVID-19 outbreak

The White House COVID-19 outbreak was a cluster of SARS-CoV-2 infections in September and October 2020 among people, including many US government officials, who were in close contact during the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington, D.C. Numerous high-profile individuals were infected, including President Donald Trump, who was hospitalized for three days.[3] At least 36 White House staff members or associates, closely working with White House personnel, have tested positive for the coronavirus. [4][5]

White House COVID-19 outbreak
President Trump Nominates Judge Amy Coney Barrett for Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (50397097478).jpg
President Donald Trump speaking during the event held to announce Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court in the White House Rose Garden.
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationWhite House, Washington, D.C., United States
First reportedOctober 1, 2020
Index caseSeptember 30, 2020
Arrival dateSeptember 26, 2020; 32 days ago (2020-09-26)
Confirmed cases39[1][better source needed]
Hospitalized cases3[2]

Many of the infections appeared to be related to a ceremony held on September 26 in the White House Rose Garden for the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, where seating was not socially distanced and participants were mostly unmasked. Trump himself may have been infectious at that point, but he and his entourage attended several subsequent events unmasked, including the first presidential debate against Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29.[6] The next day, press advisor Hope Hicks was placed in quarantine aboard Air Force One while returning with Trump from a campaign event in Minnesota. Following that, the president proceeded on schedule to an October 1 New Jersey fundraiser where he mingled, unmasked, with donors.[7]

Other infections included First Lady Melania Trump; GOP Senators Thom Tillis, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson; Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien; RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel; former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Notre Dame president John I. Jenkins; press secretary Kayleigh McEnany; and presidential advisor Stephen Miller. As of October 6, at least 35 people had tested positive.[1] At least one person, White House security office head Crede Bailey, was reported as "gravely ill,"[8] having fallen sick in September prior to the Rose Garden event.

The cluster emerged in the final weeks of Trump's campaign for the 2020 presidential election, a little more than a month before the last day of voting, November 3. Commentators were critical of the White House for providing conflicting information about Trump's condition and the timeline of his infection, as well as delaying the disclosure of the initial diagnoses of White House staffers.[9]

The outbreak at the White House could have been prevented, according to public health experts such as Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.[10][11][12]

Timeline of viral transmissionEdit

BackgroundEdit

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump and William Barr discouraged officials and staff from wearing masks. Those in the West Wing who did use them often faced ridicule from others.[13] In April, the White House became one of the first locations to gain access to rapid-turnaround COVID-19 tests.[14] The White House relied upon rapid-tests which lacked FDA-approval for use in asymptomatic individuals.[15]

Throughout the spring, there had been sporadic cases of COVID-19 reported at the White House. On March 20, it was announced that a staffer for the vice president had tested positive and was experiencing very mild symptoms, though neither Trump nor Pence had been in close contact with the staffer.[16] On May 7, an unnamed personal valet to the president tested positive, and the following day, Katie Miller, the spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence, tested positive for COVID-19. Miller's positive test result caused several other Pence staffers who were in close contact with her to be removed from Air Force Two before Pence's trip to Iowa, but neither Trump nor Pence had been in recent close contact with Miller.[17]

In June, the White House scaled back the screening regime, but still required screening and testing for anyone coming into contact with the president or vice president.[18]

Campaign events resume, Bailey diagnosed amid secrecyEdit

 
Herman Cain died on July 30, 2020

On June 22, Trump held a campaign rally in Tulsa, the first since the start of the pandemic.[19] Attendees who tested positive include two Secret Service agents, two staffers, a journalist, Kimberly Guilfoyle and politician Herman Cain.[20][21][22][23][24] Cain ultimately died.[25] Tulsa experiences a surge in cases after the rally.[26]

From August 17-20, Trump held rallies at Mankato, Minnesota and Lackawanna, Pennsylvania. About 500 attended Mankato, masks and social distancing were not used.[27] Several hundred attended the event in Lackawanna, masks were mostly used but social distancing was not.[28] Both communities experienced surges of COVID-19 in the wake of the rallies.[29]

On September 13, Trump held a 5,000 person rally in Henderson, Nevada, violating of the state's ban on gatherings larger than 50 people and resulting in a fine.[30] One case was later traced to "a political rally".[30]

On September 16, it was reported that at least one unnamed staffer had tested positive.[31][32] After Trump's hospitalization, it was revealed that two members of the residence staff had tested positive that week.[33] On September 17, Trump held a rally at an airport in Mosinee, Wisconsin; Thousands attended, few masks were worn and social distancing was not observed.[34] [35] The county experienced a surge in COVID-19.[29]

Trump held a rally in Bemidji, Minnesota on September 18. Thousand attended in violation of the Minnesota ban on gatherings of more than 250, few attendees wore face masks, and there was no social distancing.[30] 16 cases were linked to the rally, including two who were hospitalized.[36][37][38][29] The county saw a spike of COVID-19 after the rally.[29] On September 24, Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump held event at a Minneapolis hotel. Three attendees would later test positive.[39]

Crede Bailey, the head of the White House security office, became sick with COVID-19 sometime before the Supreme Court nomination ceremony on September 26 and was hospitalized sometime in September, becoming gravely ill. The White House declined to comment when his condition was reported in the news on October 7.[40]

Trump campaign fundraiser, September 25Edit

Trump met RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, McEnany, and others at a September 25 fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel.[41][42][43] On October 1, McDaniel appeared on Fox News and made no mention of her health,[44] despite receiving confirmation of her positive test result on the afternoon of September 30.[45][46] Two days later, an RNC spokesperson announced that McDaniel had tested positive.[42][47]

Amy Coney Barrett nomination events, September 26Edit

 
President Trump announcing his Supreme Court nomination in the Rose Garden
'President Trump Announces Nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States' - video from White House.

On September 26, 2020, an event was held in the White House Rose Garden announcing Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.[48] More than 150 people attended; they were told they did not need to wear masks if they had tested negative that day. Chairs for the outdoor ceremony were placed side by side, and there were two crowded indoor receptions.[43][49] At least seven attendees tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the following week, including[50] President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Mike Lee, Thom Tillis, University of Notre Dame president John I. Jenkins, former Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.[51][52] Barrett had suffered infection in the summer before recovering and testing negative.[53][54] Notably, Michael D. Shear, a White House correspondent for The New York Times, who first tested positive for the virus along with many others on Friday, October 2, was not present at the Rose Garden event, but was at the White House that day only for a required COVID-19 test in advance of traveling with the president later that day to a rally in Pennsylvania.[55]

Conway's daughter Claudia revealed on social media on the evening of October 2 that Kellyanne Conway had tested positive for COVID-19.[56] The same day, Senators Lee and Tillis were revealed to have tested positive.[57][42][45] Christie confirmed on October 3 that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Christie had been present at debate preparation for Trump as well as the nomination ceremony for Barrett.[58][59] Later that day, Christie announced he was hospitalized after his condition worsened; Christie received an experimental antibody cocktail from Eli Lilly as well as remdesivir.[60][61] Lee was filmed hugging other attendees while not wearing a mask.[51] Five of these people were seated in the front three rows at the event, in close contact with other Republican senior officials.[62] Christie was released from the Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey on October 10.[63] Jenkins later issued a statement saying: "I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden."[51]

Infectious disease physician Robert L. Murphy said that if the infections are traced to the Rose Garden ceremony, they may have been started by a super-spreader (a highly contagious person), and that they could have been avoided if face masks were worn and social distancing was practiced. He said, "Whoever got this thing going is a superspreader".[64] The outdoor portion of the event was less likely to be a super-spreader event than the indoor portion.[65] At least 10 members of the Notre Dame faculty besides Jenkins attended the event, but as of October 7, none had tested positive.[66]

The White House did not do contact tracing to minimize the spread of the outbreak, limiting any effort to notify those who have been exposed to Trump.[67][68][69] The Centers for Disease Control made several offers to assist the White House with contact tracing, but they were repeatedly declined.[70][68] On October 6, the White House announced that it had completed contact tracing, but several reporters who had tested positive for the virus said the White House had not reached out to them.[71]

Also on September 26, Trump traveled to a rally in at the Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania, which was attended by thousands.[72] The governor opposed the rally, arguing "It is gravely concerning that the president would insist on holding this event with blatant disregard for social distancing and masking requirements. His decision to bring thousands of people together in a tight space in the midst of a global pandemic caused by an airborne virus is flat out wrong."[73] After Trump's diagnosis was made public, Pennsylvania health officials advised attendees to participate in the state's contact tracing program.[74] In the wake of the rally, the county saw a surge in COVID-19.[29]

Joint Chiefs of Staff exposed, September 27Edit

 
President Trump addresses an unmasked crowd at a White House reception for Gold Star families on Sept. 27

Trump hosted Gold Star families and Pentagon leaders in the East Room of the White House. Attendees were photographed seated in close proximity and not wearing masks. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended the event.[75]

Admiral Charles Ray, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, attended the event, later tested positive and entered isolation on Oct 6. On October 2, Ray attended meetings at the Pentagon with members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On Oct 6 all but one the Joint Chiefs of Staff—Gen. David H. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps— went into quarantine, including Milley, Vice Chairman John E. Hyten, Chief of Naval Operations Michael M. Gilday, Chief of Staff of the Army James C. McConville, Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown Jr., Chief of Space Operations John W. Raymond, Chief the National Guard Bureau Daniel Hokanson, and Commander of U.S. Cyber Command Paul Nakasone.[76][77][78] Of those quarantined, General Nakasone is a combatant commander, part of the direct chain of command from the president to the military, and also the Director of the National Security Agency.[79] General Gary L. Thomas, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, stood in for Gen. Berger at the meeting and later tested positive with symptoms.[80]

First presidential debate, September 26–29Edit

Multiple White House personnel attended the September 29 debate at the Cleveland Clinic.[81] Trump, Melania, and senior advisor Hope Hicks attended the debate and later tested positive.[82] Senior advisor Stephen Miller was also on Air Force One for the trip[83] and later tested positive.[84] Also in attendance were Ivanka Trump and her siblings, Donald Jr., Eric, Lara and Tiffany Trump.[85]

Trump prepared for the debate between September 26 and September 29 in the Map Room of the White House.[86] His debate preparation team included Chris Christie, Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway, Rudy Giuliani, Jason Miller, Mark Meadows, Jared Kushner, Kayleigh McEnany, Alyssa Farah,[87] and Stephen Miller.[88] Christie stated that no masks were worn.[89] Five of the 10 debate prep team members tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 within a week after the debate. The City of Cleveland said that at least 11 people who "were either members of the media or were scheduled to work logistics/set-up the days prior to the event" later tested positive.[90]

Lack of masks and testingEdit

Prior to the debate, both campaigns agreed with the Commission on Presidential Debates that all attendees would be masked, with the exception of the two presidential candidates and the debate moderator.[91] Masking was enforced at the door, but several of Trump's guests in the audience, including his wife Melania, his family members, and senior staff, removed their masks after entering the hall. When Trump's guests were personally offered masks by Cleveland Clinic staff, they declined.[92][93][94][95]

All attendees were supposed to be tested for coronavirus before admission. After the outbreak was public, debate moderator Chris Wallace revealed that Trump and his personnel arrived too late to be tested and were instead admitted to the debate hall under "an honor system".[96] In the coming days, White House repeatedly declined to say when Trump last tested negative, raising speculation that he may have gone untested or even tested positive prior to the debate.[97][98] On October 6, the New York Times broke news that, despite public impressions to the contrary, Donald Trump was not actually being tested daily.[99] The timeline raised the possibility that Trump "might have tested positive before the Sept. 29 debate, failed to disclose it and showed up at the debate anyway."[100]

Hicks diagnosed amid secrecyEdit

On Wednesday, Trump went to suburban Minneapolis for a private fundraiser at the home of Marty Davis, CEO of kitchen counter-top manufacturer Cambria.[101] Thirteen members of the catering staff were quarantined after their exposure.[101] That fundraiser was followed by a rally in Duluth.[102] Hope Hicks, one of his closest advisors, accompanied Trump aboard Air Force One. The rally ended around 10 p.m. EDT.[103] The Minnesota Department of Health later traced four cases to the Duluth rally.[104]

During the Minnesota rally, Hicks stayed aboard the plane because she was not feeling well, and she quarantined herself at the back of the plane for the flight home.[105] A test confirmed her diagnosis as COVID-positive.[106][107] Aides sensed that Trump was not feeling well during the Wednesday trip.[108]

The White House initially sought to keep Hicks' diagnosis secret, and as of the morning of Thursday, October 1, only a very small group of senior White House officials knew of Hicks' diagnosis. No mention of her diagnosis was made in press secretary Kayleigh McEnany's news briefing that day.[109][108] McEnany later tested positive.[110] After learning of Hicks's positive test, CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins said, "Why did the press secretary still hold a briefing despite knowing she had come into contact with somebody who had just tested positive for coronavirus? She didn't even tell us. Didn't even tell reporters who were on the plane. Didn't disclose any of that."[111] McEnany later said she did not learn about Hicks until later that day.[105]

Bedminster fundraiser, October 1Edit

At least five of Trump's closest associates cancelled their scheduled travel to a fundraiser at Bedminster: daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, body man Nick Luna, Trump's deputy chief of staff for communications Dan Scavino, and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.[112] Despite his exposure, Trump proceeded with the event, flying aboard Air Force One.[113][112] The event had an indoor roundtable, an indoor VIP reception, and an outdoor reception.[114] Trump spoke without a mask to over 200 supporters, most of whom also didn't wear a mask.[115][116] Attendees noted that Trump seemed "lethargic" and "not himself".[107][117] He showed symptoms of a mild cough, some nasal congestion, and fatigue.[118] Jayna McCarron, Coast Guard aide to President Trump, was assigned to accompany Trump to the Bedminster fundraiser. She has since tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.[119]

Hicks diagnosis becomes public and Trump diagnosedEdit

 
President Trump departs the White House for COVID-19 treatment on October 2, 2020

Hicks' diagnosis was first reported by Jennifer Jacobs and Jordan Fabian of Bloomberg at 8:07 p.m. on October 1.[120][121][122]

After returning from Bedminster, Trump received a positive test result[112] on a rapid test and was waiting to get results of a PCR test when he did a live phone interview on Hannity.[123] Sean Hannity of Fox News brought up Bloomberg's report about Hicks and asked for an update, whereupon Trump publicly mentioned Hicks' diagnosis for the first time, saying, "I just heard about this. She tested positive."[124][125] Trump stated, "It is very, very hard when you are with people from the military, or from law enforcement, and they come over to you, and they want to hug you, and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them."[126][127] Without disclosing that he had already tested positive, he announced that he and the first lady were being tested for SARS-CoV-2.[128][93][129] He repeated this via Twitter after the interview. Later that night, the result of the PCR test also came in positive.[128] Trump was hospitalized the next day, October 2.[130]

Widespread outbreak, Bailey hospitalization becomes publicEdit

On October 2, it was announced that Trump 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien tested positive.[131] On October 2, Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, who was exposed to someone who tested positive when he returned to Washington D.C. on September 29,[132] tested positive for COVID-19 which he waited to reveal until October 3. Johnson said he had been with Trump over the last several weeks.[133] Three White House press room journalists, including Michael D. Shear, also tested positive on October 2, as did a White House staffer who works with the press.[134] On October 9, Representative Mike Bost was announced to have tested positive and developed symptoms after interacting with Sen. Mike Lee.[135]

Trump's personal attendant Nick Luna's positive test results were announced on October 3. Luna had been at the debate and on the flight to Minnesota.[136] Claudia Conway, the daughter of Kellyanne Conway, announced on Oct 4 that she had tested positive as well.[137] Also on October 4, Attorney General Barr reversed his previous stance and announced he would be entering quarantine.[138] On October 5, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced she had also tested positive.[139] Two other White House press room staffers, Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt, were also reported to have tested positive on October 5.[140] On October 6, new announced infections included: assistant press secretary Jalen Drummond, presidential military aide Jayna McCarron, and an unidentified military aide.[141][142]

On October 7, 2020, Bloomberg News cited four people who reported that head of the White House Security Office Crede Bailey was "gravely ill" with COVID-19 and had been in hospital since September.[143] Bailey had been ill even before the September 26 Rose Garden event.[143][8]

Presidential hospitalization and early releaseEdit

Airlift to Walter Reed and experimental treatments, October 2Edit

Donald Trump Twitter
@realDonaldTrump

Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!

October 2, 2020[144]

At 12:54 a.m. EDT on October 2, Trump announced via Twitter that both he and the first lady had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that night.[145][146] The afternoon of the same day, the White House announced that Trump would be hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland "for the next few days" "out of an abundance of caution", on the recommendation of the medical team headed by Sean Conley, a doctor of osteopathy who has been the Physician to the President since 2018. Conley is a Navy commander obliged to follow the orders of the commander in chief.[147] Trump, who was wearing a mask, was briefly filmed walking unassisted from the White House to the Marine One helicopter outside to transport him to Walter Reed.[130] According to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Trump was hospitalized because he "had a fever and his blood oxygen level had dropped rapidly".[148] The Associated Press reported that "a person familiar with Trump's condition confirmed that Trump was given oxygen at the White House" in the morning before arriving at Walter Reed, although Trump's doctors have refused to say whether he had ever been given supplemental oxygen.[149]

Trump had Walter Reed personnel sign non-disclosure agreements in 2019 before they could be involved in treating him. Two doctors refused to sign the NDAs and were not allowed to have any involvement in his care. Medical personnel are already prohibited by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) from releasing personal health information without consent. Medical ethics professor Arthur Caplan called the NDAs redundant.[150]

On Friday afternoon, physicians revealed Trump had been given an experimental course of monoclonal antibodies from drug maker Regeneron Pharmaceuticals,[151] which further confirmed that Trump had received an "8 gram dose of REGN-COV2".[152] The drug was immediately provided in response to a "compassionate use" request from the medical team.[153] That night, Trump received his first infusion of remdesivir, an antiviral drug that disrupts virus replication. Remdesivir has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but has been used as an emergency treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.[154] The extremely aggressive combination was described as "uncharted territory"; Trump is believed to be the first individual to ever undergo both treatments simultaneously.[155]

Steroid treatment, October 3Edit

'Dr. Sean Conley, Physician to the President, Provides an Update on President Trump' – video courtesy of the White House.

At an 11 a.m. press conference on October 3, Conley stated that Trump was not currently on oxygen, that he had not had a fever for the past 24 hours, and that he was "doing very well".[156][157][158] Conley described Trump as being "just 72 hours into the diagnosis now", raising questions among journalists about when the diagnosis had actually been made, since it had been publicly announced only 36 hours previously. A 72-hour timeline would suggest that Trump actually knew he had the infection on September 30, but proceeded with his plans for a public rally that evening and a fund-raiser on October 1.[159] Conley later clarified that he had meant "day three" instead of "72 hours", referring to the then-current time of Saturday morning compared to the diagnosis time of Thursday night (about 36 hours). Doctors also revealed that he had exhibited symptoms on October 1, including a "mild cough, and some nasal congestion and fatigue".[118] When Conley was asked if Trump is on steroids, Conley ended the briefing.[160][161]

 
Trump in the Walter Reed conference room, October 3. There were some reports of speculation that the photo was "staged".[162]

Minutes after the press conference, an anonymous source — later identified as Meadows[163] — contradicted the assessment from the doctors, saying "The president's vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care", adding "We're still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery."[164][165] Shortly thereafter, Meadows stated on the record the president was "doing very well".[166] That night, Conley warned that Trump was "not yet out of the woods" with regard to his condition.[167] The White House released two photos whose captions say they show him working at the hospital; he was shown signing documents but they appeared to be blank.[162]

Motorcade excursion, October 4Edit

Sean Conley's press update on President Trump, October 4 – video courtesy of the White House

In an October 4 press conference, Trump's medical team claimed that he was "doing really well" after his oxygen level dipped the day before and after he was given the steroid dexamethasone, which works by reducing inflammation in the lungs,[168] but can have significant mental health side effects, including psychosis, delirium and mania.[169][170] Asked if CT scans showed pneumonia or lung damage, Conley said, "There's some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern." He declined to say what was found.[171] When asked why he was reluctant to disclose that Trump had been given oxygen during the October 3 briefing, Conley stated that he did not want to "give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction" and "it came off that we're trying to hide something, which wasn't necessarily true."[172] White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah later stated that it was "a common medical practice that you want to convey confidence, and you want to raise the spirits of the person you're treating," while also asserting that Meadows' anonymous statement to reporters was intended to "give you guys more information just to try to be as transparent as we can,” effectively conceding Conley was addressing the president on television, rather than the public.[173][174] The president was reported to be angry about Meadows' off-the-record assessment.[175]

 
Trump greets supporters from inside an SUV on October 4.

Later in the day, Trump briefly departed the hospital in order to ride past a gathering of supporters at the medical center, waving from the back seat of an SUV, before returning.[176] Medical experts stated that the outing endangered the Secret Service agents accompanying Trump inside the vehicle due to his infection.[177][178] James Phillips, doctor of emergency medicine at George Washington University and an attending physician at Walter Reed, called the drive-by "insanity" for "political theater" and wrote that Trump had endangered the Secret Service agents in the presidential SUV by exposing them to COVID-19 transmission.[179][180]

Within the Secret Service, some agents expressed outrage or frustration with Trump's behavior.[177][181][182] One anonymous agent told journalists, "He's not even pretending to care now."[181] Joseph Petro, a former veteran Secret Service agent and senior official, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that Trump's behavior was part of a longstanding pattern of endangering others; he also criticized Secret Service management for an "inexcusable lack of concern" for the health of agents and their families.[183]

Return to White House, October 5Edit

Sean Conley's press update on President Trump on October 5 – video courtesy of the White House

At 2:37 p.m. EDT on October 5, Trump tweeted that he would be discharged from the hospital at 6:30 p.m. that day.[184] However, doctors said in an afternoon news briefing that Trump continued to be treated with dexamethasone and remdesivir.[185] The prospect of Trump's early release astonished infectious-disease experts, who noted that Trump planned to be discharged in a period when COVID-19 patients are particularly vulnerable (7–10 days after symptoms first appear) to unpredictable and rapid declines in condition.[186] Outside physicians stated that the depiction of Trump's illness as relatively mild was inconsistent with the aggressive treatment he was receiving.[186] Trump's medical team made cryptic remarks about his status and declined to say whether Trump's CT scans contained indications of pneumonia or lung damage.[186] Trump made phone calls in which he shared the idea of him leaving the hospital feigning frailty, but would then rip open his dress shirt to reveal a Superman T-shirt underneath, as reported by The New York Times.[187]

After reportedly pressuring his doctors to release him,[188] he was discharged and arrived at the White House shortly before 7 p.m. He stood for a photo op at the South Portico balcony, where he removed his mask despite being potentially contagious.[189][190] Having climbed two flights of stairs to the balcony, Trump appeared to breathe heavily as he steadied himself. He then gave a salute before walking inside.[185][188] He later went back outside with a camera crew to reshoot his entrance.[191] Within an hour of his arrival he released a video showing Marine One's flight and landing and his saluting pose. The video included a message saying, "We're going back to work. We're going to be out front. As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there's danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front. I led. Nobody that's a leader would not do what I did. And I know there's a risk, there's a danger, but that's OK. And now I'm better and maybe I'm immune, I don't know. But don't let it dominate your lives." The message was widely criticized. The New York Times commented, "Trump's statement was meant to cast his illness as an act of courage rather than the predictable outcome of recklessness."[192] He also echoed a message he had earlier tweeted: "Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life" – a message which reportedly angered many survivors of the virus or people who had lost loved ones to the disease.[193] The New York Times tabulated that Trump's tests, treatments, airlifts, and hospital stay, if given to an average American, would have cost more than $100,000. The helicopter rides alone would have cost $40,000 after insurance.[194]

Return to the West Wing, October 6–7Edit

On October 6 and 7, Trump made no public appearances and had an empty public schedule, although he made more than 50 Twitter posts.[195] In the tweets, Trump compared SARS-CoV-2 to the flu and falsely claimed that the flu had higher death rates: "Are we going to close down our Country (because of the flu)? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!"[196] Many doctors expressed alarm at the notion that the public should "learn to live with" the pandemic. Twitter tagged the post with a "misleading and potentially harmful information" flag, and Facebook removed a similar post by Trump.[197] Four hours after the tweet, and after it was flagged by Twitter's staff, Trump tweeted "REPEAL SECTION 230", an attack against Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online platforms from litigation surrounding the content their users post.[198]

Trump's behavior on October 6 caused some White House staffers to wonder if he was being influenced by the cocktail of drugs he had been taking. Aides said that Trump still sometimes sounded as if he was trying to catch his breath;[99] Trump continued to receive remdesivir treatment inside the White House and conducted business without wearing a mask.[199] Dr. Conley said in a memo that Trump has "no symptoms" and is doing "extremely well."[200]

On October 7, Trump insisted on conducting business in the Oval Office, although he was supposed to be quarantined in the residential portion of the White House and rooms had been set up there when he can work. He reportedly entered the Oval Office through an outdoor entrance so as not to encounter staff. Only two aides - Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino - spent time with him there.[201]

Return to public events, October 8–12Edit

 
Trump speaking to a crowd in the White House grounds on October 10, 2020

Trump suggested that he could have gotten COVID-19 from the families of fallen soldiers who were at the September 27 reception for Gold Star Families. He said on a Fox Business interview on October 8 that the family members "come within an inch of my face" and that "They want to hug me, and they want to kiss me."[202] Trump did not wear a mask during the event. The White House later clarified that "based on contact tracing, the data we have, we don't think it arose from that event" while defending holding such events indoors with few or no masks.[203] Trump also said in the interview that he remains on dexamethasone.[204]

Dr. Conley issued a memo that day saying that Trump's condition was stable and he was "devoid of symptoms". He added that "Saturday (October 10) will be day 10 since Thursday's diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the president's safe return to public engagements at that time."[205] Ten to 20 days is the CDC's recommendation for how long people should isolate themselves after having COVID-19.[206] In an interview that night, Trump said he would like to hold a rally in Florida on October 10 and one in Pennsylvania on the 11th.[206]

On October 10, Trump held his first public event since being diagnosed with the virus, speaking briefly from the South Lawn portico to hundreds of guests on the South Lawn.[207] Conley said on October 12 that Trump tested negative on "consecutive days" using rapid antigen tests and that the results of a PCR test, along with CDC guidelines for mild to moderate cases, indicate that he is not infectious.[208][209] The CDC says it "does not recommend using antigen tests to make decisions about discontinuing isolation" and that negative tests should be confirmed with a PCR test.[210] Later that day, Trump held his first rally since being diagnosed, in Sanford, Florida.[211] The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and other news outlets did not send reporters to travel with Trump, citing concerns over basic precautions.[212]

Effects on election and congressional activitiesEdit

Vice presidential debateEdit

Two days before the Wednesday debate between Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the stage at the University of Utah would feature plexiglass barriers separating Pence, Harris, and the moderator Susan Page of USA Today.[213][214][215]

At the Rose Garden ceremony on September 26, Pence had sat one row away from Mike Lee, five seats away from Thom Tillis, and three rows away from Kayleigh McEnany.[213] Pence was also with Trump and Melania at the reception for Gold Star Families and was with Trump in the Oval Office the day of the first presidential debate.[216] Pence's physician said that Pence, who tested negative, was not a close contact with anyone who had tested positive and did not need to quarantine.[213][217] The night before the debate, the Trump White House released a letter from Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, to Pence's chief of staff Marc Short, in which Redfield declared that, based on his negative test results and discussions with Pence's physician, "the CDC concludes from a public health standpoint" that it was safe for Pence to debate.[218] Redfield's letter, which was possibly unprecedented in CDC's history, sparked an outcry from public health experts inside and outside the CDC (such as Angela Rasmussen) because the agency had not conducted an investigation into Pence's contacts; some within the CDC also objected to the letter on the grounds that it constituted a use of Pence's "special privileged access to the nation's top public health official" for a political purpose.[218] Some outside observers also raised continuity-of-government concerns with Pence declining to quarantine.[219]

Despite his known exposure, Pence initially asked to not have a plexiglass barrier on his side of the stage, with his spokesman arguing that the twelve feet of distance between the participants made the precaution unnecessary[213] and mocking Harris for using the barrier.[220] The day before the debate, Pence dropped his objections and agreed to the barrier.[221] A number of experts noted that a plexiglass barrier would not prevent airborne transmission, which given the stage setup was the biggest hazard.[222] Though the Biden-Harris campaign sought to have the candidates stand, the Commission opted for the debate participants to be seated, which was the preference of the Trump-Pence.[223]

Despite her known exposure, Karen Pence appeared unmasked, violating prior agreements that all attendees would be masked except for the moderator and candidates.[224]

Second presidential debateEdit

On October 8, the Commission on Presidential Debates made plans to have the second debate on October 15 be held in a virtual format due to Trump's COVID diagnosis. Trump declined to take part in a virtual debate, while Biden was willing to participate. Following Trump's refusal to participate, the Biden campaign announced that he would instead take questions from voters directly on October 15 via a town hall event hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia.[225] The commission then canceled the debate altogether.[226]

Supreme Court nomination hearingsEdit

The outbreak among senators caused the Senate to delay its session by two weeks to October 19, but the Judiciary Committee began Judge Amy Barrett's nomination hearings on October 12.[227][228] Democrats tried unsuccessfully to delay the fast-track proceedings by raising safety concerns in light of infections among members.[229] Two members of the committee recently tested positive in the outbreak, and one was at the Rose Garden event in September. While the Capitol's mask requirements were generally enforced, Sen. Mike Lee, who had earlier tested positive but had been cleared by the attending physician, gave his opening statement without a mask, though he wore a mask at other times.[230][227] Sen. Ted Cruz, who had come into contact with Sen. Lee, was in quarantine and appeared remotely, as did Sen. Tillis, who had also tested positive in the outbreak. The chairman, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was at the Rose Garden event and had brief contact with Sen. Lee, said he tested negative on October 2. He did not wear a mask at his seat but put it on when Lee approached.[231][232] Congressional safety officials said that the hearing met CDC guidelines, and the chamber was set up with air ventilation systems and distancing between senators.[230][229]

Pence aides test positive amid secrecyEdit

In late October, an unidentified staffer in the vice president's office tested positive, ABC News would later learn.[233] Days later, it was announced that five close advisers to Pence had tested positive: Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President; Marty Obst, one of the Vice President's closest advisors; Zach Bauer, the Vice President's "body man;" as well as two unnamed members of Pence's staff. [234][235][236]

After initially trying to keep the outbreak quiet, the White House announced that Pence would continue with his schedule, including political rallies, despite having been in "close contact with Mr. Short". [237][233]

ConcernsEdit

Risk to the publicEdit

Epidemiologists and public health experts said that the outbreak had put many people at risk in many places. Those infected carried the virus across the country and attended events in places such as Atlanta, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. At least 6,000 people attended gatherings where they mingled closely with those infected within a week of the Supreme Court nomination ceremony on September 26.[238]

In the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, the outbreaks at the White House and Capitol Hill (where masks are required on the House floor, but not the Senate floor) also presented a risk.[239] The city had made substantial progress in reducing virus transmission through stringent public health laws and a population that largely followed these laws, but the clusters began a reversal and raised concerns that the city's overall infection rate would be affected.[239] As a federal property, the White House is exempt from the District of Columbia's public health rules, and has disregarded local mandates. The Trump White House also did not share positive test results with state or local health agencies.[239]

Date of Trump's last negative testEdit

After Trump was hospitalized, it was revealed that he was not being tested daily, and the White House was unwilling to reveal the date of his last negative test.[240] In previous months, Trump had twice claimed to test negative: in March, Trump physician Sean Conley had announced that the president had tested negative after he was exposed to COVID-positive individuals at his Mar-a-Lago resort.[241] After one of Trump's personal valets tested positive in May,[242] Trump told reporters "I tested very positively in another sense so—this morning. Yeah. I tested positively toward negative, right. So. I tested perfectly this morning. Meaning I tested negative."[243] At a October 16 event, Trump reported being unable to remember whether he had taken a test in the hours prior to the presidential debate.[244]

Foreign intelligence concernsEdit

Former senior CIA officers noted that the crisis created counterintelligence challenges, as foreign intelligence services routinely collect information on health of leadership, using various sources and methods.[245] Former CIA Director John E. McLaughlin said that "foreign intelligence services, particularly hostile ones, have no higher priority than understanding events in a president's inner circle, it's reasonable to assume that they have sources somewhere seeking access to reliable information on his diagnosis."[245] Mick Mulroy, an ABC News analyst and retired CIA officer, stated that foreign adversaries could take advantage of information in an atmosphere of confusion.[245]

Continuity of government implicationsEdit

As of October 3, 2020, a White House spokesperson confirmed that Trump remained active as president and that there had been no transfer of presidential power to the vice president.[246][247] On October 2, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, next in line for the presidency after Pence, said that the White House had not contacted her about continuity of government.[248]

MilitaryEdit

Some national security analysts said the president's diagnosis put the United States into "uncharted territory" and "deep into the danger zone".[249] Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that Trump's hospitalization raises serious national security concerns and that adversaries should be expected to exploit any vulnerabilities of the United States.[250] However, several former defense officials downplayed concerns of foreign opportunism and argued that the U.S. national security apparatus — including the nuclear command-and-control elements of that system — is resilient enough to withstand the impact of an ill or incapacitated president. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Mick Mulroy said, "Unless symptoms are severe enough for the commander-in-chief to be incapacitated, it would not require a change of the chain of command," and that it was unlikely an adversary would use the situation to "test" the U.S.[249] Mulroy did, however, call on national security leaders to be present in Washington, D.C., to "ensure the continuity of government and send a message to any adversary that may want to exploit the situation."[245] On October 2, the Pentagon issued a statement saying, "There's no change to the readiness or capability of our armed forces. Our national command and control structure is in no way affected" by Trump's diagnosis.[251]

Mental fitness concernsEdit

There was some concern that Trump's steroid treatment could affect his mental state. One expert commented: "Some patients may develop psychiatric symptoms after being treated with steroids including euphoria, mood instability, rage or psychosis. It is rare, but occurs often enough that we recognize them as undesirable side effects of steroid therapy."[252] Professor of Emergency Medicine Esther Choo warned "we tell people that it can make them feel really hyper. It can make them behave very strangely."[253][254] Among patients administered dexamethasone, about 30% develop "moderate psychiatric symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, mania, or delirium". About 6% develop psychosis.[255]

After Trump left the hospital for a motorcade excursion and posted over a dozen all-caps tweets, it was speculated that the president was suffering from "steroid-induced psychosis".[256] Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and professor at Brown University, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "I would never want to say the president is experiencing steroid-induced psychosis, but it is certainly concerning to see some of his actions today in the wake of this potentially deadly diagnosis and infectious disease."[257]

According to reporting by Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, Donald Trump Jr. expressed concerns on October 4 that the president was "acting crazy".[258] Privately, White House aides had concerns about the effects of medications causing Trump's "animated mood".[255] On October 5, Trump tweeted that he was "Feeling really good" and felt "better than I did 20 years ago", contributing to some speculation that his mental state was a side effect of medication.[188]

On October 3, Trump issued an all-caps tweet calling for passage of a coronavirus stimulus bill.[259] On October 4, it was publicly announced that Trump had been administered dexamethasone the previous day.[260] On October 6, Trump unexpectedly announced on Twitter that he was halting negotiations on a stimulus bill. The announcement caused another sudden drop in the stock market, and Speaker Pelosi questioned if his steroid use was affecting his decision-making.[261][262] Trump reversed this decision in another tweet sent seven hours later.[263]

Commenting on the tweets, Dr. Choo observed:   "Anytime he's doing a Twitter storm in all caps, it looks a little manic." Choo described Trump as a "presidential guinea pig" since "He's on all these medications, he's on that monoclonal antibody cocktail that we don't even know the side effects to, because it hasn't been well studied. Then he's on the Remdesivir, which is really a brand new medication in the context of COVID, which itself can cause alterations to your brain and your behaviour. And then add on the steroids."[253]

On October 8, Speaker Pelosi announced plans for a meeting the following day to discuss the 25th Amendment.[264]

ReactionsEdit

The White House infections could have been prevented, according to Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director and White House Coronavirus Task Force member.[10] Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, has stated that the outbreak and specifically Trump's diagnosis would lead to more calls for transparency about Trump's health as well as conspiracy theories about how he was infected.[265] Dr. Megan Ranney, a leading voice on personal protective equipment, said that Trump's infection was a "preventable but predictable national security risk".[11] Julie Pryde, head of the Champaign-Urbana health district, said that the White House outbreak was preventable with basic infection-control measures.[12]

Some medical experts noted that dexamethasone is typically administered in severe and critical cases of infection, to suppress an immune system overreaction that attacks vital organs which can lead to death. Dexamethasone has not been shown to be effective in milder cases of the disease.[266] Others noted that such steroids can have mood-altering side affects ranging from depression to mania, even delirium and psychosis. There was also a risk of harmful drug interactions by administering several therapeutics at once. Some experts noted a so-called “VIP syndrome,” in which a prominent patient insists on directing his own medical care, suggesting the president may have sought aggressive treatment without understanding the potential risks. As a Navy doctor, Conley is obliged to follow orders of the commander in chief. After Trump extensively promoted hydroxychloroquine as a defense against infection in spring 2020, Conley administered him a two-week regimen of the drug, despite no studies finding it was effective and it had potentially dangerous side effects.[267][268]

United States publicEdit

The response from the US public was mixed, and often split along ideological lines.[269] Some supporters of Joe Biden said they weren't surprised that Trump and other Republicans had tested positive, due to a perceived lack of precautions from Trump and other Republican party members. Trump supporters expressed sympathy for the president. Some people, on the left and on the right, said they did not believe the diagnosis.[270][271][272] Comedian Michael Che wished Trump "a very lengthy recovery" on the news satire sketch Weekend Update.[273]

An October 2–3 Reuters/Ipsos poll found that American disapproval of Trump's handling of the pandemic had increased from the previous week, with 65% of registered voters agreeing with the statement "if President Trump had taken coronavirus more seriously, he probably would not have been infected."[274] Another poll on October 6 revealed that 21% of respondents were more likely to wear a mask due to the news of Trump acquiring the disease.[275]

Twitter announced that any posts wishing for Trump's death would be removed for violating the platform's terms of service. Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley criticized Twitter for not taking threats against them seriously, pointing to longstanding posts calling for their deaths that had not been removed.[276] Facebook and TikTok announced similar policies.[277]

United States politiciansEdit

On October 2, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said that he and Jill Biden send their "prayers for the health and safety" of Donald and Melania Trump.[278] He took all of his negative political ads off the air following the announcement of Trump's diagnosis.[279] His running mate Sen. Kamala Harris said that she and her husband Doug are sharing their "deepest prayers for the health and recovery of the president and the first lady."[280] Former president Barack Obama extended his "best wishes" to Trump and said that he and Michelle Obama hope for a speedy recovery for the Trumps.[281] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "I always pray for the president and his family that they're safe" and said that she received the news with "great sadness".[282] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wished Donald and Melania Trump and White House staffers a "speedy recovery".[283]

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell revealed he had not visited the White House since August 6 because of his private concerns that safety protocols were not being observed.[255]

International politicians and leadersEdit

Many politicians around the world expressed wishes for a quick recovery; others commented on the lack of response to the pandemic and the downplaying of the virus. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others issued statements of support over the outbreak through social media.[284] Others were more critical of the outbreak; French government spokesman Gabriel Attal warned that the virus spared no one, even those skeptical about its reality and seriousness. Radoslaw Sikorski, a European Parliament member and former Polish foreign minister, tweeted[284] that Trump should not try to treat himself with bleach, referring to Trump's earlier suggestion to try using disinfectants as a COVID-19 treatment "by injection inside or almost a cleaning."[285]

Misinformation and conspiracy theoriesEdit

Shortly after the announcement that Trump had tested positive, misinformation and conspiracy theories were seen throughout social media postings.[286] Many of the conspiracy theories are politically motivated, aided by conflicting and contradictory information announced to the public by the White House, the presidential medical team, and Trump's own tweets.[287][288]

Michael Moore promoted the conspiracy theory that Trump might be faking his diagnosis.[289][290] Similar theories were posted on social media, postulating that Trump was feigning the illness so he could quickly recover and downplay the threat of COVID-19, delay the 2020 presidential election, or to distract the public from the reporting about his tax returns.[288] Conversely, the vice presidential debate on October 7 triggered "a wave of speculation" that Pence might be symptomatic.[291][292][293]

Some theories were spread by supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory, who believe that COVID-19 is a narrative constructed by a Democratic Party deep state to seize power in the United States, and that Trump's positive diagnosis was tactical, as part of a larger plan to arrest Hillary Clinton.[294]

List of COVID-19 infections and notable exposuresEdit

White House personnel held multiple events in the days prior to the outbreak. On Sept. 26, a nomination event for Judge Barrett was held. The following day, Gold Star families attended an event. White House personnel traveled to Ohio to attend the first presidential debate, as well as campaign events in Duluth and Bedminster, New Jersey.[295]

People who tested positive for COVID-19Edit

Timeline of event attendance by people who have tested positive for COVID-19
Was event attended by the patient? Date the diagnosis was first reported publicly
Location and event:  Barrett nomination Gold Star Day Ohio debate Duluth rally Bedminster fundraiser
Patient Position Sep 26 Sep 27 Sep 29 Sep 30 Oct 1 Severity
Multiple unidentified staffers White House staffers Exact presence unknown Positive Sep 16[31]
Crede Bailey Head of White House Security Office Diagnosed before Barrett nomination event, hospitalized in September Hospitalized Oct 6[143]
Hope Hicks Senior Counselor to the President     Isolating​[112][296] Positive and symptomatic Oct 1[297]
Donald Trump 45th President of the United States          [298] Hospitalized; Discharged Oct 2[299]
Mike Lee US Senator from Utah   Positive and symptomatic Oct 2[300]
Thom Tillis US Senator from North Carolina   Positive and symptomatic​[301] Oct 2[302]
Melania Trump First Lady of the United States       Positive and symptomatic Oct 2[303]
Kellyanne Conway Former Counselor to the President   Positive and symptomatic Oct 2[52]
Ronna McDaniel Chair of the Republican National Committee Attended D.C. fundraiser with Trump on Sep 25[4] Positive and symptomatic Oct 2[304]
Michael D. Shear & wife[305] White House correspondent for The New York Times On Sep 26, Shear visited the White House only for a required COVID-19 test in advance of a trip to Pennsylvania aboard Air Force One, which he then took with the president.[55] Positive and symptomatic Oct 2[306]
Bill Stepien Trump campaign manager Traveled to Cleveland debate aboard Air Force One with President, First Lady, Hope Hicks, and Steven Miller Positive and symptomatic Oct 2[307]
Al Drago White House press room photojournalist   Positive and symptomatic Oct 2[308]
One unidentified journalist White House press room journalist   Unknown Positive Oct 2[309]
11 unidentified persons Debate preparation staff or media   Positive Oct 2[90]
Nick Luna Body man to Donald Trump   Canceled​[112][136] Positive Oct 3[136]
Chris Christie Former Governor of New Jersey   Hospitalized; Discharged: Oct 3[310][311]
Also in close contact with Trump at an indoor Amy Coney Barrett meeting on Sep 26, at debate prep meetings, and at a press conference on Sep 27
John I. Jenkins President of the University of Notre Dame   Positive and symptomatic Oct 3[312]
Ron Johnson US Senator from Wisconsin Exposed to unnamed individual on Sep 14[313] Positive but asymptomatic Oct 3[314]
Claudia Conway Daughter of Kellyanne Conway Exposed to Kellyanne Conway Positive and symptomatic​[315] Oct 4[137]
Kayleigh McEnany White House press secretary     Canceled​[112] Hospitalized; Discharged Oct 5[110]
Greg Laurie Senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship   Positive and symptomatic Oct 5[316]
Chad Gilmartin Principal assistant press secretary   Positive Oct 5[317]
Karoline Leavitt Assistant press secretary   Positive and symptomatic[318] Oct 5[317]
Two unidentified staffers White House residence staff Regularly exposed to First Family Positive Oct 5[319]
Jayna McCarron U.S. Coast Guard aide to the president   Positive Oct 6[320]
One unidentified military personnel President's valet[321] Regularly exposed to Trump Positive Oct 6[322]
Adm. Charles Ray Vice commandant of the Coast Guard   Positive and symptomatic Oct 6[4]
Jalen Drummond Assistant White House Press Secretary   Positive Oct 6[323]
Stephen Miller Senior Advisor to the President   Positive Oct 6[84]
Salud Carbajal U.S. Representative from CA-24 Reportedly exposed to Sen. Mike Lee Positive and symptomatic Oct 6[324]
Harrison W. Fields Assistant press secretary Positive Oct 7[325]
Gen. Gary Thomas Marine Corps assistant commandant Exposed to Admiral Charles Ray Positive and symptomatic Oct 7[326][327]
Mike Bost US Representative from IL-12 Exposed to Mike Lee Positive and symptomatic Oct 9[135]
Trish Scalia Wife of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia   Positive and symptomatic Oct 14[328]
Barron Trump Son of Donald and Melania Trump Announced Oct 14, diagnosed on Oct 1 along with parents Positive Oct 14[329][330]
Marc Short Pence Chief of Staff Regularly in close contact with VP Mike Pence Positive Oct 24[234]
Marty Obst Pence Advisor Regularly in close contact with VP Mike Pence Positive Oct 24[234]
Zach Bauer Body man to Pence Regularly in close contact with VP Mike Pence Positive Oct 24[331][236]
Two unidentified staffers Members of Pence's staff Regularly in contact with VP Mike Pence Positive Oct 24[235][331]

Notable exposuresEdit

Timeline of notable exposures to the White House COVID-19 outbreak[undue weight? ]
Did the exposed individual attend the event?
Location and event:  Barrett nomination Gold Star Day Ohio debate Duluth rally Bedminster fundraiser
Exposed Individual Position Sep 26 Sep 27 Sep 29 Sep 30 Oct 1 Current status​[undue weight? ]
Jared Kushner Trump advisor, son-in-law       Canceled[112] Negative​[332]
Ivanka Trump Trump advisor, daughter       Canceled[112] Negative​[332]
Eric Trump Son of Donald Trump   Negative​[333]
Lara Trump Wife of Eric Trump, daughter-in-law of Donald Trump   Negative​[333]
Donald Trump Jr. Son of Donald Trump   Negative​[334]
Dan Scavino White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, and Director of Social Media   Canceled[112] Negative​[332]
Mike Pence Vice President of the United States     Reportedly negative​[335][336]
Karen Pence Second Lady of the United States     Negative​[4]
William Barr Attorney General of the United States   Negative, Quarantining​[337][338]
Amy Coney Barrett Federal appellate judge, nominee to the Supreme Court   Negative (previously infected)​[339]
Alex Azar US Secretary of Health and Human Services  [I] Also exposed to Trump on Sep 28 at an event announcing a COVID-19 testing initiative. Negative​[4]
Joe Biden Former Vice President, 2020 Democratic nominee for President   Negative​[340]
Jill Biden Former Second Lady   Negative​[340]
Mark Meadows White House Chief of Staff     Negative​[4]
Eugene Scalia US Secretary of Labor   Negative​[341]
Ben Sasse US Senator from Nebraska   Negative​[4]
Deb Fischer US Senator from Nebraska   Negative​[342]
Kelly Loeffler US Senator from Georgia   Negative​[4]
Josh Hawley US Senator from Missouri   Negative​[4]
Jim Jordan US Representative from OH-04   Negative​[4]
Chris Coons US Senator from Delaware   Negative​[343]
Lisa Blunt Rochester US Representative from DE-AL   Negative​[343]
Chris Wallace Fox News anchor, debate moderator   Negative​[344]
Tiffany Trump Daughter of Donald Trump   Unknown​[4]
Kimberly Guilfoyle Trump advisor, romantic partner of Donald Trump Jr.   Unknown (previously infected)​[4][345]
Pat Cipollone White House counsel   Unknown​[4]
Rudy Giuliani Former Mayor of New York City, Trump advisor   Underwent prophylactic treatment​[346]
Giuliani participated in debate prep with Trump and Christie.[347] In a Fox News interview, Giuliani exhibited a cough.[348] In a Bloomberg interview, Giuliani reported undergoing prophylactic treatment.[349]
Mike Crapo US Senator from Idaho     Unknown​[4]
Marsha Blackburn US Senator from Tennessee   Unknown​[4]
Mark Esper US Secretary of Defense   Unknown​[350]
Gen. Mark Milley Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff   Unknown​[350]
Joni Ernst US Senator from Iowa Exposed to Sen. Mike Lee on Oct 1 at Judiciary Committee meeting.[351] Negative​[351]
Tate Reeves Governor of Mississippi Exposed to Trump on Sep 28 at an event announcing a COVID-19 testing initiative[352] Negative​[4]
Mike Turner US Representative from OH-10 Exposed to Trump on Sep 28 at event featuring Lordstown Motors[353] Negative​[4]
Robert B. Ford CEO of Abbott Laboratories Exposed to Trump on Sep 28 at an event announcing a COVID-19 testing initiative Negative​[4]
Betsy DeVos US Secretary of Education Exposed to Trump on Sep 28 at an event announcing a COVID-19 testing initiative Negative​[4]
Steven Mnuchin US Secretary of the Treasury Exposed to Trump on Sep 30 at an Oval Office meeting Negative​[4]
Jason Miller Senior advisor to the Trump re-election campaign Traveled to Cleveland for the Presidential Debate aboard Air Force One Negative​[4]
Paula Reid White House correspondent for CBS News Exposed to Kayleigh McEnany and another staffer at press briefing on Oct 1 Awaiting results​[354]
Ben Carson US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Exposed to Trump at campaign event in Atlanta on Sep 25 Unknown​[4]
Rob Portman US Senator from Ohio Exposed to Trump on Sep 28 at event featuring Lordstown Motors[355] Unknown​[4]
Peter Navarro Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Exposed to Trump on Sep 28 at event featuring Lordstown Motors Unknown​[4]
Gen. John E. Hyten Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Quarantined after exposure to Adm. Charles Ray. Unknown​[350]
Gen. James C. McConville Chief of Staff of the Army Suspected quarantined after exposure to Adm. Charles Ray. Unknown​[350]
Gen. David H. Berger Commandant of the Marine Corps Suspected quarantined after exposure to Adm. Charles Ray. Unknown​[350]
Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. Chief of Staff of the Air Force Quarantined after exposure to Adm. Charles Ray. Unknown​[350]
Gen. John W. Raymond Chief of Space Operations Quarantined after exposure to Adm. Charles Ray. Unknown​[350]
Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson Chief of the National Guard Bureau Suspected to be quarantined after exposure to Adm. Charles Ray. Unknown​[350]
Adm. Mike Gilday Chief of Naval Operations Suspected to be quarantined after exposure to Adm. Charles Ray. Unknown​[350]
Gen. Paul Nakasone Director of the NSA Suspected to be quarantined after exposure to Adm. Charles Ray. Unknown​[350]
Robert C. O'Brien United States National Security Advisor Traveled to Cleveland for the Presidential Debate aboard Air Force One Unknown (previously infected)​[4][356]
Todd Ricketts Co-owner of Chicago Cubs, and Republican National Committee finance chairman Exposed to Trump and McDaniel at the Sep 25 fundraiser Unknown​[4]
Thomas O. Hicks Jr. Co-chair of the Republican National Committee Exposed to Trump and McDaniel at the Sep 25 fundraiser Unknown​[4]

Timeline of eventsEdit

  • June 20: Trump rally in Tulsa[357]
  • August 17: Trump rally at Mankato, Minnesota [29]
  • August 20: Trump rally at Lackawanna, Pennsylvania [29]
  • September 16: At least one unnamed staffer tests positive[31]
  • September 18: Trump rally at Bemidji, Montana.[29][358]
  • Before September 26: Crede Bailey, head of the White House Security Office, diagnosed with COVID-19.[40]
  • September 26:
    • Rose Garden ceremony nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and the following reception[48]
    • Middletown, Pennsylvania rally[295][29]
    • Debate prep team meets at the White House[359]
  • September 27:
    • Golfing, reception for Gold Star families[295]
    • Debate prep team meets at the White House[359]
  • September 28:
    • Debate prep team meets at the White House[359]
    • Press conference announcing a new COVID-19 testing initiative[352]
  • September 29:
    • Debate prep team meets at the White House[359]
    • First presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio[295]
  • September 30:
  • October 1, three known cases:
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany Holds a Press Briefing, despite knowledge of exposure, October 1, 2020. Video from White House.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Buchanan, Larry; Gamio, Lazaro; Leatherby, Lauren; Keefe, John; Koettl, Christoph; Walker, Amy Schoenfeld (October 2, 2020). "Tracking the White House Coronavirus Outbreak". The New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
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