Biden to get test; Chris Christie in hospital

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President Donald Trump will face a critical turning point in his battle with COVID-19 in the coming days as he remains at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday. He announced early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus.

Saturday brought a number of mixed messages about Trump’s health. After White House physician Sean Conley said he was “extremely happy” with Trump’s progress, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told The Associated Press that Trump’s condition in the past day had been “very concerning.”

On Saturday evening, Trump tweeted a video of himself telling the American people that he’s “starting to feel good,” but he acknowledged the coming days would be “the real test.” Doctors say that’s because an imbalanced immune response during this time can have life-threatening consequences. 

Trump worked “most of the afternoon” Saturday and was moving around his medical suite “without difficulty,” Conley said in a memo Saturday night. Conley’s team “remains cautiously optimistic,” though they were “not yet out of the woods.”

The latest news you need to know: 

  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie checked himself into the hospital Saturday with mild symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19. He did debate prep with Trump and said no one wore masks.
  • It’s not just the White House dealing with an onslaught of cases: Friday’s nationwide case count was the highest daily total in nearly two months.
  • “Operation MAGA”: The Trump campaign announced Saturday that despite the president’s illness, it plans to resume in-person events, leaning on Vice President Pence and Trump’s children.

? Countdown: 30 days until Election Day, three days until the vice presidential debate, 108 days until Inauguration Day, 89 days left in 2020.

?Got questions about Trump and COVID?Ask us. You can use this form to submit your own.

?️ Voting: See USA TODAY’s Voter Guide for information on registering to vote, when your state begins voting and what the candidates think about the issues.


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Trump previously had stake in drug companies

President Donald Trump previously reported that he earned capital gains from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences Inc., the manufacturers of two of the medicines he is taking as part of his COVID-19 treatment plan.

According to a 2017 financial disclosure form filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Trump had a capital gain of $50,001 to $100,000 for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and $100,001 to $1 million for Gilead Sciences Inc. The form notes the information being noted was as of April 15, 2017.

Trump’s subsequent disclosure forms including his 2020 form signed July 31 did not list Regeneron or Gilead.

Trump received a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail as a precautionary measure, according to his physician Sean Conley. The antibody cocktail is being studied in four late-stage clinical trials and its safety and efficacy have not been fully evaluated by any regulatory authority, the company said on its page. Trump also is taking Gilead’s Remdesivir.

– Kelly Tyko

SNL skirts addressing Trump’s COVID diagnosis

After a months-long hiatus to due to the coronavirus pandemic, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” returned this weekend to mostly normal form in its Season 46 premiere. The comedy-variety show was back in Studio 8H in New York City with a live audience (made up of first responders in masks) and host Chris Rock.

It opened with a sketch that pointed its political satire at the first presidential debate in Cleveland between President Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) and former Vice President Joe Biden (Jim Carrey).

USA TODAY’s TV critic Kelly Lawler had this assessment: “Although there were vague head nods to President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, which dominated the headlines since early Friday morning, it felt like the sketch was written earlier in the week, which is about 200 years in 2020 time. It was already stale.”

– Kelly Lawler, Kim Hjelmgaard

Biden says he’ll get tested Sunday

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Saturday that he had not been tested for the coronavirus that day, but that he planned to be tested Sunday.

He and wife Dr. Jill Biden tested negative Friday; however, given coronavirus’ incubation period of up to 14 days and that fact that he spent more than 90 minutes in a room with someone talking loudly, Biden is not in the clear. 

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and her husband, Doug Emhoff, also offered the president and first lady wishes for a speedy recovery.

– Bart Jansen

Keeping track of test results: What you need to know

➕➖ Who’s positive, who’s negative: Chris ChristieKellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks and Bill Stepien are among more than a dozen positives linked to the White House. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., is the third GOP senator to announce a positive COVID-19 test since Friday. Others were Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C. Along with Joe and Jill Biden, also testing negative are Mike Pence and wife Karen; Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; House Speaker Nancy PelosiHere’s our running list.

NOTE: A negative test means the person was not infected at the time of testing. The virus’ incubation period can be up to 14 days, so a negative test earlier in that time frame does not mean a person was not infected.

Chris Christie, who helped Trump with debate prep, in hospital

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who tested positive for COVID-19, checked himself into a hospital Saturday.

Christie, 58, called it an “important precautionary measure” due to his history of asthma and said he is “feeling good” but has mild symptoms. The former governor announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 just hours before saying he moved to a hospital. 

Christie had been with President Donald Trump for several days last week helping him prepare for the first presidential debate against Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Christie said “no one was wearing masks” during the sessions.

– Dustin Racioppi, Trenton Bureau

Chris Wallace says ‘honor system’ was in place for testing ahead of debate

President Donald Trump did not arrive in Cleveland ahead of the first presidential debate in time to get tested for coronavirus, according to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who moderated the debate on Sept. 29 in Ohio. 

Wallace said the president didn’t arrive in the city until Tuesday afternoon. Trump’s debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden kicked off at 9 pm.

Wallace made the allegation Friday on Fox News, according to a report from The Hill He said that the timing of Trump’s arrival meant that there was insufficient time for Trump to get tested and receive a result. 

A coronavirus test made by Abbott, a U.S. health care company, can deliver results in as little as 15 minutes. However, the test may return a high rate of false negatives. The White House did not immediately return a request for comment on Wallace’s allegation. 

– Kim Hjelmgaard

US records most daily COVID-19 infections in nearly 2 months

It’s not just the White House dealing with an onslaught of cases: Friday’s nationwide case count was the highest daily total in nearly two months.

There were 54,441 positive cases of the coronavirus reported on Friday, the highest single-day case count since Aug. 14, when the country recorded just over 64,000 cases, per Johns Hopkins University data. 

The country’s daily cases peaked on July 16, when 77,362 positive tests were reported. 

Meanwhile, deaths have held relatively steady in recent weeks, as the weekly average is down a bit from a flare-up in late July and early August. On Friday, 906 US deaths from COVID-19 were recorded Friday.

– Jay Cannon

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