United States President Donald Trump has “mild symptoms” of COVID-19 after announcing Friday that tests showed that he and his wife Melania have the coronavirus.
Trump wrote on Twitter early Friday, “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” The White House also released a letter from the president’s physician to confirm that they both tested positive for the virus.
Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said, "The President does have mild symptoms,” and that he “will remain on the job.”
The virus threat to health
So far, more than 7 million Americans have been infected with the new coronavirus. The deaths of more than 208,000 people in the U.S. have been tied to the virus. That is more than any other country.
Trump has pushed for schools and businesses to re-open. He also held campaign events attended by many people who did not wear face coverings or practice social distancing.
Just hours earlier on Thursday, the president said in a pre-recorded message to the Al Smith Dinner, "I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight, and next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of our country.”
During Tuesday night's debate against former Vice President Joe Biden, he said, “I don’t wear masks like him.”
In a tweet Friday morning, Biden said he and his wife Jill “send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. Biden added, “I’m happy to report that Jill and I have tested negative for COVID.” And he reminded people to “wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hand.”
World leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered their best wishes.
Threat to the government
The president’s announcement raised concerns about administration officials. The White House has required daily testing for the president’s top assistants. Anyone in close contact with the president or vice president is also tested every day, including news reporters.
Vice President Mike Pence is next in line for the presidency. Tests on Friday showed that he did not have the virus. He “remains in good health,” his spokesman said.
Many administration officials were undergoing tests. And the White House Medical Unit was getting information on people who came in contact with the president.
Before Trump announced he had the virus, the administration said an assistant, Hope Hicks, had tested positive.
Hicks had been with Trump at Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland, along with members of the Trump family. An administration official told the Associated Press that Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a campaign event in Minnesota on Wednesday. She was kept apart from other passengers, the person said.
It is unclear where the Trumps and Hicks may have caught the virus. But speaking to Fox News, Trump seemed to suggest it may have been spread by someone in the military or law enforcement in greetings.
Trump is not the first world leader to test positive for the virus. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Britain’s Boris Johnson also got COVID-19. The prime minister spent a week in the hospital but has since recovered.
I’m Jonathan Evans.
Jill Colvin and Zeke Miller reported this story for the Associated Press. Hai Do adapted it with additional materials for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.
Words in This Story
quarantine –n. a period when a person who has a disease is kept way from others to prevent the spread of the disease
positive –adj. showing the presence of a substance like a germ or virus
symptom –n. a change in the body that shows that a disease is present
pandemic –n. the fast spread of an infectious disease over a wide area or large part of the world
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