Coronavirus: Donald Trump and Melania test positive

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Reuters

US President Donald Trump said he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus and are now in quarantine.

The president, 74 years old and therefore a member of a risk group, announced the news in a tweet. “We’ll get through this together,” he wrote.

It comes after one of his closest aides tests positive for coronavirus.

Hope Hicks, the 31-year-old adviser to the President, has been Mr Trump’s closest adviser to testing positive so far.

She traveled with him on Air Force One for the President’s first televised debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden in Ohio on Tuesday. Some of Mr. Trump’s family members who participated in the debate did not wear masks.

Trump’s doctor Sean Conley released a statement saying the president and first lady “are both in good shape at this time and plan to stay home at the White House during their recovery”.

“Rest assured, I expect the president to continue to perform his duties uninterruptedly during recovery and I will keep you informed of future developments,” the statement said.

Earlier Thursday, Mr Trump said he and his wife, who is 50, would go into quarantine after Ms. Hicks test positive.

He tweeted: “Hope Hicks, who worked so hard without taking a little break, just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible!

“The first lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime we will begin our quarantine process!”

It is not clear how Mr Trump’s positive test will affect arrangements for the second presidential debate, scheduled for October 15 in Miami, Florida.

“An earth-shaking development”

A week after Donald Trump told Americans not to worry about Covid-19 because “it affects virtually nobody” except the elderly and those with heart disease, the president himself tested positive for the virus.

It is difficult to exaggerate exactly how earth-shaking this development is, just 32 days before the US election.

The president must be quarantined for treatment. Campaign rallies are over. The next presidential debate in two weeks’ time is questionable.

The president’s recurring message that the nation is “turning the corner” in dealing with the virus has been undermined by his own illness.

Just two days ago, during the first debate, Trump belittled Democratic opponent Joe Biden for frequently wearing masks and not having campaign events the size of his size.

It is now up to the White House and the campaign to answer why the president was so careless about himself – and how many others in the White House and higher levels of the US government may have been exposed.

In times of national turmoil, the American public tends to rally in support of the president. However, it may not be enough to isolate him from the following questions.