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Trump doctor says he anticipates president’s ‘return to public engagements’ on Saturday

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Washington warns those at White House super-spreader event

In an extraordinary step, the Washington, DC, Department of Health has released an open letter appealing to all White House staff and anyone who attended a September 26 event in the Rose Garden and inside the building to mark the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the supreme court to seek medical advice and take a Covid-19 test.

The letter indicates a lack of confidence in the White House medical team’s own contact tracing efforts regarding an ongoing virus outbreak that has infected Donald Trump, multiple senior staff members and two US senators, among others, The Associated Press writes.

Co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, the letter flatly states a belief that contact tracing on the outbreak has been insufficient.

It says the public appeal is based on, “our preliminary understanding that there has been limited contact tracing performed to date, there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to Covid positive individuals.”

It asks all White House employees, anyone who attended the Sept. 26 event and anyone who may have been in contact with those people to “contact your local health department for further guidance/questions regarding your potential need to quarantine.”

The letter represents a rising level of concern and a clear shift in strategy by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s government, which had previously remained publicly hands-off and said it trusted the White House’s robust medical operation to handle its own contact tracing and follow-up.





Summary

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The White House won’t say when Trump has tested negative since May

  • The White House has repeatedly refused to disclose when President Donald Trump last tested negative for COVID-19.
  • The last time Trump or anyone at the White House said the president tested negative on the record was on May 21.
  • It’s unclear how frequently Trump has been tested since, and he has repeatedly violated coronavirus restrictions by holding public events with large crowds.
  • When asked when Trump was last tested and if the White House could specify any results between May 21 and Trump’s positive one on Oct. 2, a White House spokesman said only that “the president is tested regularly.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Despite the seismic implications of the president of the United States contracting a deadly and highly infectious disease with no cure, the White House is still providing very little basic information about Donald Trump’s coronavirus status.

Aside from his positive test announcement last Friday — which led to him being hospitalized with COVID-19 for three nights — the last time Trump was on the record about taking a test was back in May, when he said, “I tested positively toward negative.”

Between Trump’s “positively toward negative” disclosure on May 21 and the tweet confirming he had tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 2, the White House would not point Insider toward any specific instances when Trump even took a test.

At one point back in July, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed Trump was tested “multiple times a day” before he contradicted her later in the day and said he couldn’t recall taking more than one in 24 hours.

McEnany, along with other White House officials such as spokeswoman Alyssa Farah, have declined to specify when Trump takes coronavirus tests or the last time he tested negative.

“I can’t reveal that at this time. Doctors would like to keep it private,” Farah said on Thursday.

The president attended 113 public events between his last known negative test and the night before he disclosed he had COVID-19, according to a database of his travel and events calendar from Factba.se, a site with a variety of Trump-related databases.

Insider asked the White House repeatedly on Thursday how often the president is tested, when his last test was, and if they have disclosed any tests taken since May 21.

“The president is tested regularly,” a White House spokesman said in an email.

When asked how frequently “regularly” means, they did not respond.

Lots of events, few precautions from Trump

Other than the rare occasion when he wears a mask in public, like when he did so for the first time in July, the president has mostly flaunted basic public health precautions. He’s also rarely enforced social-distancing rules and mask-wearing at his rallies and other public events.

Trump’s events have varied in size and density, but there have been a few noteworthy examples that posed more risk than others:

 

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DC health department, other localities want White House event attendees to get tested for coronavirus

The Washington, D.C., Department of Health on Thursday released an open letter asking that White House staff and anyone who attended a Sept. 26 event in the Rose Garden contact their health department for guidance on the possible need to quarantine after multiple attendees, including the president, tested positive for COVID.

The letter, co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions, indicates a lack of confidence in the White House medical team’s own contact tracing efforts regarding an ongoing virus outbreak that has infected President Donald Trump, multiple senior staff members, and two U.S. senators, among others.

In this Sept. 26, 2020, photo President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. Former New Jersey Gov. 

In this Sept. 26, 2020, photo President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. Former New Jersey Gov. 
(AP)

The letter says the public appeal is based on “our preliminary understanding that there has been limited contact tracing performed to date, there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to COVID positive individuals.”

It asks individuals who have worked in the White House in the past two weeks, attendees of the Sept. 26 event and anyone who may have been in contact with those people to “contact your local health department for further guidance/questions regarding your potential need to quarantine.”

The letter marks abrupt shift in strategy by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s government, which had previously said it trusted the White House’s robust medical operation to handle its own contact tracing and follow-up. The Democratic mayor said earlier this week that repeated attempts to contact the White House over the outbreak had received a “very cursory” response but that she believed the necessary steps were being taken.

TRUMP ACKNOWLEDGES HE WAS ‘VERY SICK’ WHEN HE WAS HOSPITALIZED FOR COVID

It was not immediately clear whether the letter had been directly sent to any White House employees or people who attended the Sept. 26 event, or if the D.C. government had been provided with a list of attendees.

The letter further shines a spotlight on the Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony to introduce Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. Multiple attendees, including Trump and Notre Dame University President Rev. John Jenkins, who flew in from Indiana for the ceremony, have now tested positive.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said Monday that the White House “has established a robust contact tracing program led by the White House Medical Unit with CDC integration to provide appropriate recommendations.”

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The District of Columbia has reported 15,765 positive COVID-19 cases, with 634 deaths. Bowser on Wednesday announced she was extending the local state of emergency, which was scheduled to expire Oct. 9, through Dec. 31.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Health officials urge attendees of White House event to get tested for coronavirus

The health officials urged people who worked in the White House in the past two weeks, attended the Supreme Court nomination announcement in the Rose Garden or have had close contact with people who did, to get tested and use their local health departments as a resource. The letter contains contact information for the departments.

“As an additional reminder, if you are identified as a contact, having a negative test does not limit the time period within which you are required to quarantine,” the leaders wrote, citing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommend a 14-day quarantine.

The letter was distributed to people and organizations in each health department’s network, which in D.C. included Advisory Neighborhood Commission members, the D.C. Council and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, city officials said.

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Wednesday that Nesbitt had spoken with the White House about contact-tracing efforts after the mayor sent a stern letter to the Trump administration seeking cooperation on tracking the outbreak. Nesbitt and the White House began talks on contact-tracing efforts in the region shortly afterward.

In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said Thursday he is allocating $220 million in federal coronavirus aid to help public schools handle their response to the pandemic.

The money will be divided among the state’s 135 school districts to pay for testing supplies, personal protective gear, sanitizing, long-distance learning efforts and other expenses.

“Students, teachers, principals and parents are going to great lengths to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic amid a new school year, and we must do everything we can to support them,” Northam said in a statement.

The money will be drawn from about $1.3 billion in federal Cares Act funding that remains from the roughly $3.1 billion sent to the state earlier this year. It will be distributed based on enrollment, at a rate of $175 per pupil or a minimum of $100,000 for each school division, the governor’s office said.

The spending supplements $238.6 million in Cares Act funding that Virginia’s public K-12 schools received in May. The state’s colleges and universities received $343.9 million, also in May, while another $66.8 million in federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funding was split between K-12 schools and higher education institutions.

Northam’s decision to send the money to public schools comes as the General Assembly is working to finish changes to the state budget in response to the pandemic during a special legislative session.

The House of Delegates and state Senate adopted spending plans that call for $200 million in Cares Act money for K-12 schools as they combat the virus. Northam has clashed with lawmakers over spending priorities, warning state lawmakers in a letter Wednesday that he would not sign a budget that restricts his ability to manage Virginia’s virus response efforts.

In Maryland, a scheduled public appearance with Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was postponed Thursday to avoid a possible exposure to the coronavirus.

The event was meant to celebrate the Associated Builders

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White House won’t say when President Trump last tested negative for COVID-19

The White House has also declined to confirm when and how Trump was tested before last Tuesday’s presidential debate with Joe Biden, even though both campaigns certified to debate organizers that the candidates and everyone who traveled with them to Cleveland tested negative within 72 hours of the debate.

“I don’t want to go backwards,” Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s White House physician, said Monday when asked about the president’s last negative test results — one of at least seven times White House officials declined to answer the question since Friday.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump tosses a cap to supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minnesota on Sept. 30, 2020.

President Donald Trump tosses a cap to supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minnesota on Sept. 30, 2020.

President Donald Trump tosses a cap to supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minnesota on Sept. 30, 2020.

The White House, which has made contradictory statements about when and how often Trump is tested, said the president first tested positive Thursday evening, and first discussed symptoms with his doctor at that time. Studies have shown that coronavirus patients are infectious up to two days before the onset of symptoms.

“People ought to have the right to know whether or not they should be quarantining themselves, if they’re at risk,” Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, told ABC News. “Potentially the president and his team have put others in harm’s way.”

While it’s not clear when Trump was infected with the virus, the White House’s silence raises questions about its compliance with debate rules, the frequency of Trump’s tests, and whether the president or his aides had concerns about him having the virus before he tested positive — as he kept up his busy schedule of campaign events.

It has also added scrutiny to the safety precautions in place for the upcoming matchup with Biden, after Trump’s campaign said he intends to debate Biden in person next week in Florida.

“I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate,” the former vice president told reporters Tuesday.

White House, debate organizers required negative tests for candidates, campaign teams

Debate organizers required the Biden and Trump campaigns’ medical teams to test the candidates and their traveling parties within 72 hours of last Tuesday’s debate, and “certify” to the Cleveland Clinic that each person traveling tested negative within that window.

“Each campaign complied with this requirement,” the clinic, which partnered with the Commission on Presidential Debates to stage the debate, said in a statement.

Specifically, each campaign provided a list of names and the results of their test, clinic spokesperson Angie Kiska told ABC News.

“That’s what was provided to our medical staff, and to

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The White House Keeps Refusing to Say When Trump Last Tested Negative for COVID-19

There has been one gnawing question that the White House has refused to answer ever since President Donald Trump publicly announced he tested positive for coronavirus last Friday, was hospitalized for three days due to his worsening condition, and returned home this week despite his doctors acknowledging he is “not entirely out of the woods yet”: When was the last time the president tested negative for COVID-19?

That question, of course, would inform the public on whether the president was potentially already infected when he participated in last Tuesday’s presidential debate and if he caught the virus during what appears to be a “super-spreader” event days before that at the White House Rose Garden.

That same question, of course, could also reveal how often the president had been tested for the virus, considering the White House had previously excused his lack of mask-wearing and social distancing by claiming he was tested on a daily basis. It also would provide answers as to whether the president knew he was sick when he traveled to fundraisers on both Wednesday and Thursday after the debate.

Following the president’s hospitalization at Walter Reed Medical Center over the weekend, the White House press team and physician Dr. Sean Conley suddenly became cagey when pressed on the simple question of when Trump’s last negative test occurred.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany—who has since tested positive for the disease—was grilled by reporters about the issue during a Sunday gaggle on the White House driveway. She punted on the question.

“Yeah, I’m not going to give you a detailed readout with timestamps every time the president is tested,” McEnany said. “He’s tested regularly, and the first positive test he’s received was Thursday after he returned from [a fundraiser at] Bedminster.”

Conley, meanwhile, followed suit when announcing on Monday that the president would be returning to the White House that evening. While willingly sharing rosier details of the president’s health to make the case for discharging Trump, Conley cited HIPAA restrictions when asked about the president’s lung scans and when Trump last received a negative result.

“I don’t want to go backwards,” the doctor declared. Asked later why he hadn’t disclosed that information, the physician merely smiled and replied: “Everyone wants that.” He then proceeded to ignore the question.

While White House spokesman Judd Deere insisted on Friday that everyone who traveled aboard Air Force One en route to last week’s debate was tested for coronavirus, the Cleveland Clinic—which serves as the health adviser for this cycle’s debates and co-hosted Tuesday’s event—noted on Tuesday that the Trump campaign merely assured them that the president had tested negative within 72 hours of the debate.

This revelation, meanwhile, suggests that the president’s last negative result could have been as far back as Sept. 26, which was the date of the Rose Garden celebration for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination. More than a dozen attendees of that event have since tested positive for the virus. The president also

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White House won’t say when Trump last tested negative for COVID-19

The White House has repeatedly refused to disclose when President Donald Trump last tested negative for COVID-19 before he announced his infection — information that could help determine who he exposed to the virus and the severity of his illness.



President Donald Trump boards Marine One at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after receiving treatment for coronavirus in Bethesda, Md.


© Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump boards Marine One at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after receiving treatment for coronavirus in Bethesda, Md.

The White House has also declined to confirm when and how Trump was tested before last Tuesday’s presidential debate with Joe Biden, even though both campaigns certified to debate organizers that the candidates and everyone who traveled with them to Cleveland tested negative within 72 hours of the debate.

“I don’t want to go backwards,” Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s White House physician, said Monday when asked about the president’s last negative test results — one of at least seven times White House officials declined to answer the question since Friday.



a man in a suit standing in front of a crowd: President Donald Trump tosses a cap to supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minnesota on Sept. 30, 2020.


© Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images, FILE
President Donald Trump tosses a cap to supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minnesota on Sept. 30, 2020.

The White House, which has made contradictory statements about when and how often Trump is tested, said the president first tested positive Thursday evening, and first discussed symptoms with his doctor at that time. Studies have shown that coronavirus patients are infectious up to two days before the onset of symptoms.

“People ought to have the right to know whether or not they should be quarantining themselves, if they’re at risk,” Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, told ABC News. “Potentially the president and his team have put others in harm’s way.”

MORE: Timeline of Trump’s reported COVID diagnosis and treatment

While it’s not clear when Trump was infected with the virus, the White House’s silence raises questions about its compliance with debate rules, the frequency of Trump’s tests, and whether the president or his aides had concerns about him having the virus before he tested positive — as he kept up his busy schedule of campaign events.

It has also added scrutiny to the safety precautions in place for the upcoming matchup with Biden, after Trump’s campaign said he intends to debate Biden in person next week in Florida.

“I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate,” the former vice president told reporters Tuesday.

White House, debate organizers required negative tests for candidates, campaign teams

Debate organizers required the Biden and Trump campaigns’ medical teams to test the candidates and their traveling parties within 72 hours of last Tuesday’s debate, and “certify” to the Cleveland Clinic that each person traveling tested negative within that window.

“Each campaign complied with this requirement,” the clinic, which partnered with the Commission on Presidential Debates to stage the debate, said in a statement.

Specifically, each campaign provided a list of names and the results of their test, clinic spokesperson

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Pence Defends Amy Coney Barrett Rose Garden Event Because It Was Outside And ‘Many’ Attendees Were Tested Beforehand

Topline

With Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination ceremony at the White House increasingly looking like a superspreader event of coronavirus infections, Vice President Mike Pence defended the gathering Wednesday at the vice presidential candidates’ debate, arguing that it was outdoors and attendees were tested beforehand—but there was a portion of the event held indoors and health experts say testing or being outdoors doesn’t mean attendees should disregard safety guidelines on social distancing and wearing masks.

Key Facts

Pence said “many people” at the ceremony were tested for coronavirus and “it was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise.”

But that isn’t entirely true because there was a smaller reception inside the White House, and at both that and the outdoor gathering in the Rose Garden, most attendees failed to wear masks and gathered together in close proximity.

Health experts also say a negative test doesn’t mean people should stop social distancing or wearing masks since it can sometimes take up to a week between first exposure and a positive test result.

When asked by moderator Susan Page why Americans should follow coronavirus safety guidelines when the White House hasn’t, Pence said that Americans will choose to do the right thing if given the facts.

Crucial Quote

“That Rose Garden event, there’s a great deal of speculation about it. My wife Karen and I were honored to be there. Many people that were at that event, Susan, were tested for coronavirus and it was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise. The difference here is that President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health,” Pence said.

Key Background

At least 11 people who attended the nomination ceremony have tested positive.

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A megachurch pastor who attended the Rose Garden event has tested positive.

The California megachurch pastor Greg Laurie is the latest prominent attendee at the Sept. 26 Supreme Court nomination ceremony at the White House to test positive for the coronavirus. He announced the test results Monday and said he was in isolation.

“If the president of the United States can get it, obviously anybody can get it,” Mr. Laurie said in a video posted on social media. In an interview with Christianity Today, Mr. Laurie said he was not sure he was infected at the Rose Garden event, and urged Americans not to blame the White House for his infection.

“Unfortunately, the coronavirus has become very politicized,” he said. “I wish we could all set aside our partisan ideas and pull together to do everything we can to defeat this virus and bring our nation back.”

Mr. Laurie was one of many high-profile Christian leaders who attended the ceremony. Another — the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame —  announced on Friday that he tested positive.

Several of the attendees have since preached in person at church services or have been photographed at other public events, suggesting that they are not following C.D.C. recommendations for quarantine after their exposure in the Rose Garden.

Jerry Prevo, the acting president of Liberty University, announced on Friday that he and his wife had both tested negative. He posted photographs the next day in which he and his wife are seen mingling closely indoors with people not wearing masks.

A representative for Robert Morris, a Dallas-area megachurch pastor who preached in person last weekend, said on Monday that he “does not have any Covid-related symptoms,” but he declined to say whether he had been tested.

Another Dallas-area pastor, Jack Graham, also preached in person at his church on Sunday morning. “I am ridiculously healthy,” he told his congregation, who responded with applause. “I don’t have Covid, let’s just put it that way.” A spokeswoman for Mr. Graham said that he has been tested twice since the Rose Garden event and that both tests have been negative. The spokeswoman said he has consulted with his personal physician about his activities since the event, but declined to offer information on the timing of his tests.

Mr. Graham said during the service that he flew to Atlanta last Wednesday to meet with Vice President Mike Pence, who spoke at an indoor event hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition that was attended by some of the same evangelical leaders. A spokeswoman for the group’s head, Ralph Reed, said he tested negative on Wednesday before the vice president’s arrival. The spokeswoman said seating at the event was arranged in consultation with local health officials, and that attendees were encouraged to wear masks.

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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says she’s tested positive for coronavirus



a woman wearing a blue shirt


© Provided by FOX News


White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany revealed she tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday morning and will start the “quarantine process,” becoming the latest person in President Trump’s orbit to get the virus.

“After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms,” McEnany said in a statement. “No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit.”



Donald Trump sitting at a table in a kitchen: Dr. Marty Makary, Johns Hopkins professor of public health, joins 'America's Newsroom.'


© FoxNews.com
Dr. Marty Makary, Johns Hopkins professor of public health, joins ‘America’s Newsroom.’

MEADOWS ‘OPTIMISTIC’ TRUMP COULD BE DISCHARGED FROM WALTER REED MILITARY MEDICAL CENTER AS EARLY AS MONDAY AFTERNOON

Other White House staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 at this point include senior adviser Hope Hicks and director of Oval Office operations Nick Luna. Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien also tested positive for COVID-19.

Former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway has also tested positive and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who participated in debate prep with the president recently, did too and was admitted to the hospital over the weekend.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany says she’s tested positive for coronavirus

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In her statement, McEnany defended her decision to hold a press briefing last week the same day Hicks tested positive. The White House Correspondents Association has said several journalists have also tested positive.

“I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday,” McEnany said, adding that “as an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American people at this time.”

McEnany added: “With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American people remotely.”

TRUMP TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS: HERE’S WHO ELSE IS POSITIVE, AND WHO’S NEGATIVE

McEnany’s positive COVID-19 test comes as Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has said Trump could be discharged from Walter Reed Military Medical Center, where he has been receiving treatment for the novel coronavirus since Friday, and return to the White House as early as Monday afternoon.

“Spoke to the president this morning,” Meadows said. “He continued to improve overnight and is ready to get back to a normal working schedule.”

He added that the president “will meet with his doctors and nurses this morning to make further assessments of his progress.”

Meadows added, “We are still optimistic that he will be able to return to the White House later today, with his medical professionals making that determination later today.”

Meadows, during an interview on “Fox & Friends,” said that the White House would know about the president’s potential release by “the earliest” Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, as White House staff awaits the president’s return, McEnany said Sunday that the White House would not be releasing the names or the exact number of staffers who have become infected with the novel coronavirus –

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