Covid-19 Live Updates: Trump Is Hospitalized as More Aides Test Positive


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Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump was hospitalized on Friday evening less than 24 hours after announcing that he had the coronavirus. Aides said Mr. Trump was experiencing coughing, congestion and fever, symptoms that worsened through the day.

Mr. Trump was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after being given an experimental antibody treatment as the White House rushed to cope with a commander in chief infected by a virus that has killed more than 208,000 people in the United States. Officials said he would remain in the hospital for several days and canceled his upcoming campaign events.

Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, planned to update the public about Mr. Trump’s condition at 11 a.m., a White House spokesman, Judd Deere, said Saturday morning.

The White House shrouded Mr. Trump’s condition in secrecy, saying little more than that he had “mild symptoms,” and officials characterized the hospital stay as a precautionary measure. But the normally voluble president remained almost entirely out of public view, skipped a telephone call with governors at the last minute and uncharacteristically stayed off Twitter nearly all day while people close to the situation said his fever and other symptoms worsened as the hours wore on.

“I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support,” Mr. Trump, wearing a suit and tie but appearing unusually pale and lethargic, said in an 18-second video that was recorded just before he boarded the Marine One helicopter and then posted on Twitter in his first public comment of the day. “I’m going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out.”

Mr. Trump returned to Twitter late Friday night, writing in a short post: “Going well, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!”

Dr. Conley said in a statement that Mr. Trump had received a single eight-gram dose of polyclonal antibody cocktail while also taking zinc, vitamin D, melatonin, aspirin and famotidine, a heartburn medicine. Dr. Conley did not explain why Mr. Trump was taken to the hospital. In a statement released beforehand, he said that “the president remains fatigued but in good spirits.” The doctor later noted that the president had also started taking remdesivir, an experimental drug that has received emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration to treat hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

He had a more positive assessment of the first lady, Melania Trump, who also has Covid-19, saying that she “remains well with only a mild cough and headache.”

The president donned a black face mask and emerged from the White House shortly after 6 p.m., giving a perfunctory thumbs up to reporters without stopping to speak as he walked unassisted to the helicopter. He was accompanied by Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, who was also wearing a mask.

The hospital trip was an abrupt change in plans after Vice President Mike Pence told governors earlier in the day that the president would remain at the White House.

White House officials said Mr. Trump was well enough to work. If the illness were to become worse, the president could temporarily transfer his powers to Mr. Pence under the 25th Amendment with the transmission of letters to the speaker of the House and president pro tempore of the Senate and then reclaim them once he recovers.

An official at the White House said Mr. Pence and his wife, Karen, had tested negative again on Saturday.

There was rising frustration on the part of some White House aides late in the day that so little information was being released about the president’s health, in part because they worried that it would stoke fears beyond the known facts. Some staff members described a rush for tests for themselves, with some told they could not get them.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the president’s Democratic challenger, who was on a debate stage with Mr. Trump on Tuesday, tested negative on Friday.

It can take several days after exposure for the virus to reach levels that are detectable by a test. People show symptoms on average around five days after exposure, but as late as 14 days.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Bill Stepien, President Trump’s campaign manager, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, a person briefed on the matter said, making him the latest senior aide to the president to receive such a diagnosis in the past few days.

Mr. Stepien is experiencing mild symptoms and is in isolation, the person said. His diagnosis was first reported by Politico, and confirmed to The Times.

Mr. Stepien was with Mr. Trump at the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday, but it was unclear when he was last with the president. However, he was in closed-door preparation sessions with Mr. Trump and a half-dozen other aides and advisers on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Mr. Trump and the first lady were confirmed by White House officials on Friday morning to have the virus.

Another aide who was in those preparation sessions, Hope Hicks, tested positive on Thursday. And Kellyanne Conway, the former senior White House aide who was also part of those sessions, said she had tested positive on Friday.

“Tonight I tested positive for COVID-19,” Ms. Conway said in a Twitter post. “My symptoms are mild (light cough) and I’m feeling fine. I have begun a quarantine process in consultation with physicians. As always, my heart is with everyone affected by this global pandemic.”

Ms. Conway is one of several people to have said they had tested positive for the coronavirus after attending White House events last Saturday announcing Mr. Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Others include Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah; Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina; and the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

After months of wishing that the coronavirus would “disappear, like a miracle” and insisting that the United States was “rounding the corner” in its fight against the pandemic, President Trump announced on Friday that he and the first lady had tested positive for the virus.

Now, the White House itself is a hot spot of sorts, the center of a contact tracing effort that extends to the upper reaches of American politics and government. It is not clear exactly when Mr. Trump was infected or by whom, but there is little doubt that the virus was circulating around him for the past week:

Last Friday, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, mingled with Mr. Trump at a glitzy fund-raiser at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. The president seemed to be in good cheer and good health.

The next afternoon, he gathered Republican lawmakers and members of conservative interest groups in the White House Rose Garden to announce Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee.

Ms. McDaniel was not present, having traveled to her home in Michigan. It would be a few days before she began to feel ill and then tested positive for the virus. But the newly renovated Rose Garden was packed with supporters of Mr. Trump, including at least eight Republican senators, few of them wearing masks. Judge Barrett, who is said to have already had the coronavirus and has since recovered, met earlier with the president in the Oval Office without wearing a mask.

Later Saturday evening, Mr. Trump flew to Middletown, Pa., for a campaign rally. A White House reporter on the flight would later test positive for the virus.

Back at the White House on Sunday, Mr. Trump and Hope Hicks, one of his closest advisers, huddled with a handful of other aides, none of whom wore masks, for debate preparation in the Map Room. The group included Stephen Miller, the president’s speechwriter and top domestic policy adviser; Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey; and Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and the former mayor of New York.

On Monday, the group moved their session into the Oval Office. Ms. Hicks sat on the couch. And on Tuesday, they gathered again for a few hours in the Map Room, prepping the president for the debate that evening.

Before the debate, White House officials who had been in close contact with Mr. Trump and Ms. Hicks headed to Capitol Hill to introduce Judge Barrett to senators. Vice President Mike Pence; Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, posed for photographs in the Mansfield Room with Judge Barrett and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

The lawmakers and White House officials posed without masks.

Mr. Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, left for the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday afternoon. Ms. Hicks traveled with the president, as did Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio.

On Wednesday, as Ms. McDaniel received her positive test results, Mr. Trump met in the Oval Office with Mr. Meadows, his chief of staff, and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, to discuss the stalled negotiations with Democrats on a compromise stimulus bill.

On Wednesday evening, the entire Republican congressional delegation from Minnesota — Representatives Pete Stauber, Jim Hagedorn and Tom Emmer, the chairman of House Republicans’ campaign arm — flew with Mr. Trump to another campaign rally. In a photo they later posted on Twitter, none were wearing masks on the plane.

On Thursday morning, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who had attended the Rose Garden event, began to feel ill, with symptoms consistent with longtime allergies, according to his office. Around the same time, Ms. Hicks was tested.

The White House did not announce that Ms. Hicks had tested positive before the news leaked out on Thursday evening. Hours later, after midnight, Mr. Trump turned to Twitter to announce: “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

Credit…Lauren Justice for The New York Times

There are those in Wisconsin who have begun to think of their state as a bit of a twofer when it comes to hot spots.

In recent weeks, the coronavirus has spiked in counties throughout the state. Then there is the matter of the presidential campaign and the seemingly unblinking attention that has been focused on Wisconsin voters lately.

On Saturday morning, the office of Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus. It was not clear where Mr. Johnson contracted the virus but his office said he was exposed earlier this week to an individual who tested positive.

Wisconsin residents have watched with growing alarm as virus cases have exploded. Three of the four metro areas in the United States with the most cases per capita were in northeastern Wisconsin, and one hospital in Green Bay was nearly full this week.

“It’s just crazy here now,” said Steve VanderLoop, 64.

Several of his co-workers at a manufacturing plant, Mr. VanderLoop heard, have fallen ill from Covid-19. So did his brother-in-law’s entire family in nearby Washington County and a good friend up the shore of Lake Winnebago. Then the gut punch: His 96-year-old mother learned that she had the virus.

As Mr. VanderLoop spoke, he was standing on his porch, a cloth mask covering his face. Along the block, yards and fences were festooned with Biden signs, billowing Trump flags, hand-painted posters and bumper stickers with peace symbols.

“Then you throw in the campaign and everything else,” he said. “It’s a big snowball.”

Daily statewide virus deaths virus hit a record on Wednesday when officials reported that 26 people had succumbed to the virus. On Thursday, hospitalizations were at a high since the pandemic began, and more than 3,000 new cases were reported, another record.

With little more than a month to go before the election, the constant whirl of political activity in this pivotal swing state has only intensified.

President Trump visited in August, and Joseph R. Biden Jr. campaigned there in September. The two candidates have focused on the state, which both parties see as winnable.

Credit…Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

For months, the White House’s strategy for keeping President Trump and his inner circle safe has been to screen all White House visitors with a rapid test.

But the product they use, Abbott’s ID Now, was never intended for that purpose and is known to deliver incorrect results. In issuing an emergency use authorization in late March, the Food and Drug Administration said the test was to be used only by a health care provider “within the first seven days of symptoms.”

The ID Now has several qualities in its favor: It’s portable, doesn’t need skilled technicians to operate and delivers results in 15 minutes. Used to evaluate someone with symptoms, the test can quickly and easily diagnose Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

In people who are infected but not yet showing symptoms, however, the test is much less accurate, missing as many as one in three cases.

In May, after many reports of problems with the test, the F.D.A. warned that those who test negative using the test should confirm that result with a lab-based test.

Still, the Trump administration has routinely used the test to screen people without symptoms, allowing anyone who tested negative to go without a mask during meetings and official proceedings.

The Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame, tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the White House announcement of the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, on Saturday. He apologized for going mask-free at the ceremony but said he had been told he could do so after his rapid test came back with a negative result.

Given the timing of Mr. Trump’s illness, experts said it was quite possible that he was exposed to the virus on that day.

Credit…Anupam Nath/Associated Press

More than 100,000 people in India have died from the coronavirus, the government said on Saturday, even as officials plan to lift more restrictions in hopes of reviving the crippled economy.

India’s health ministry reported 1,069 new Covid-19 deaths, bringing the official total to 100,842, though experts say the true toll is probably much higher. Until Saturday, only the United States and Brazil had reported more than 100,000 deaths from the virus.

At 6.4 million, India’s official caseload is the second-highest in the world, surpassed only by the United States, which has more than 7.3 million cases. India’s death and infection rates have climbed in recent months, with September alone accounting for more than 40 percent of its cases and about a third of its deaths.

The numbers have fallen somewhat since mid-September but remain high. And experts suspect that many Covid-19 fatalities in India have gone unreported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed a harsh nationwide lockdown in March, a move that many experts say was poorly planned, devastating the economy while failing to stop the virus’s spread.

Now, despite the climbing numbers, officials are lifting restrictions in hopes of easing the economic suffering. Cinemas will be allowed to reopen with limited capacity this month, for example, and some states are expected to reopen schools.

In other global developments:

  • The Solomon Islands reported its first coronavirus case on Saturday, the local news media reported. The remote South Pacific nation had been one of few countries with no confirmed infections. But Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said in an address to the nation that a student had tested positive after arriving in Honiara, the capital, on a repatriation flight from the Philippines. He said that the student was asymptomatic and that the Health Ministry was tracing his contacts.

  • Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, says he was hospitalized for Covid-19 but has since recovered. In an interview with BBC Thailand published on Friday, Mr. Thaksin, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006, said that he became ill in late August in the United Arab Emirates, where he lives in self-imposed exile. Mr. Thaksin, 71, long reputed to be a billionaire, said he believed he had contracted the virus at a shopping mall food court. “I have stayed abroad for a long time,” he said. “How can I eat luxuriously every day? Where do I find money for that? I must eat at a food court, too.” He said that since he always wore a mask in public, he might have contracted the virus by touching a contaminated surface and then not washing his hands properly. “I might have dropped my guard,” he said, adding that he had been released from the hospital in mid-September. His sister Yingluck Shinawatra, 53, who served as Thailand’s prime minister until she was forced from office in 2014, was staying with him but did not contract Covid, he said. Both would face criminal charges if they returned to Thailand.

  • Poland recorded 2,292 new infections on Friday, its highest one-day total.

  • New Zealanders will soon be able to visit parts of Australia without quarantining, but New Zealand is not ready to respond in kind. Starting Oct. 16, visitors from New Zealand will be accepted in New South Wales (home to Sydney), the Australian Capital Territory (home to Canberra) and the Northern Territory (home to Darwin), Australian officials said. But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand said Saturday that until Australia as a whole or individual states and territories go a month without any locally transmitted cases, people traveling to New Zealand from those places will have to quarantine on arrival for 14 days. Both countries closed their borders in March.

  • The World Health Organization has approved a second rapid antigen test for emergency use, the agency’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Friday. On Monday, the agency said it had approved its first rapid antigen test for emergency use as part of a global partnership to make 120 million such tests available to low- and middle-income countries over the next six months.

  • In Rome and Italy’s Lazio region, health officials said Friday that face masks would be required outdoors at all times to counteract an increase in coronavirus infections. Other regions introduced similar measures in previous weeks, including Campania and its capital, Naples. Since last spring, face masks have been mandatory in Italy only in closed public spaces like shops or theaters.

Credit…Gianfranco Tripodo for The New York Times

Experts have warned that fall will be a uniquely challenging time for combating the pandemic, yet one of the most essential tools for stemming the spread of the coronavirus still has not been widely deployed in the United States and Europe.

While Western nations vowed repeatedly to develop “world-beating” contact tracing and testing operations at the onset of the pandemic, counting and monitoring people who have been exposed to the virus, and who may expose others, has rarely been effectively implemented.

Beholden to privacy rules, Western officials largely trusted people to hand over names to contact tracers. But that trust was not repaid, in large part because governments neglected services that were crucial to winning people’s cooperation: a fast and accurate testing system, and guarantees that people would be housed, fed and paid while they isolated.

Elected officials presented the system as a critical bridge between lockdown and a vaccine, allowing them to contain small outbreaks without shutting down large parts of society. But construction of that bridge has been rocky, at best.

“Public health leaders fell in love with the idea of contact tracing as an important tactic — and it is — but that’d be like if you’re going into war and were just talking about the tanks,” said Brian Castrucci, president of the de Beaumont Foundation, a public health charity in Maryland.

The West’s public health systems have not matched the success in parts of East Asia where the fear of epidemics became more ingrained after SARS and MERS.

In England, people are neither handing over many contacts — about five, on average — nor following the rules

“It suggests there is some degree of skepticism in the population to engagement,” said Professor Christophe Fraser of the University of Oxford, an adviser to the British government’s tracing program, referring to the proportion of known cases — a fifth — who handed over no other names.

Credit…Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

President Xi Jinping of China on Saturday sent a message to President Trump wishing him and the first lady a speedy recovery after the pair tested positive for the coronavirus, the latest addition to a growing list of world leaders who have wished the American president well.

In the message to Mr. Trump, Mr. Xi said that he and his wife, Peng Liyuan, “express sympathy and hope you get better soon,” according to a report in The Global Times, a Chinese news outlet controlled by the ruling Communist Party.

The message from the Chinese leader comes as the two men have found themselves increasingly at odds as the coronavirus spread around the world and widened a schism between the two superpowers.

Mr. Trump has been an outspoken critic of China’s handling of the coronavirus, often calling it the “Chinese virus.” He has regularly pointed to its origins in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and its swift spread around the world as a failure by China. In a broadcast at this year’s United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Trump demanded that the global body hold accountable “the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world.”

Leaders around the world have sent messages of support to Mr. Trump since he announced early Friday that he had contracted the virus. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand said on Saturday that she was sending him and the first lady, Melania Trump, “New Zealand’s best wishes for a speedy recovery,” adding that “this is, obviously, a virus that has had a devastating impact.”

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil in a Facebook post late on Friday also wished Mr. Trump well: “You will win and come out stronger, for the good of the USA and the world.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, speaking to reporters on Saturday, said he had “no doubt” that Mr. Trump would “make a very strong recovery.” Mr. Bolsonaro and Mr. Johnson are among a growing list of world leaders who have contracted the virus.

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, sent a message of sympathy to Mr. Trump on Saturday, the country’s official Korean Central News Agency said.

“He sincerely hopes that they will recover as soon as possible,” it said in a brief dispatch. “He sent warm greetings to them.”

Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump have met three times, building what both leaders called a special “friendship,” although they have not reached agreement on eliminating the North’s nuclear weapons program.

Credit…Reuters

Nearly 10,000 doctors took part in a strike in Peru this week to demand more support from the government as they respond to one of the world’s worst outbreaks of the coronavirus, a union leader said, the latest in a series of protests by public health workers who have endured months of crises at the country’s underfunded hospitals.

The nationwide strike forced Peru’s second-biggest health care provider, the state-run EsSalud, to suspend consultations and scheduled surgeries on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Dr. Teodoro Quiñones, the secretary general of EsSalud’s doctors’ union.

Included in the doctors’ demands was the distribution of a $200 monthly cash bonus that the government promised front-line medical workers months ago. Dr. Quiñones said most doctors had yet to receive the bonus despite being forced to buy their own face masks while working at hospitals that lacked even the most basic medical supplies.

“Do you know the desperation of tending to patients in these conditions? Without oxygen? Without medicine? To see a patient on a ventilator wake up with a tube in their mouth and not have the medicine to sedate them?” Dr. Quiñones said in a telephone interview.

Despite an early and strict lockdown, Peru has suffered one of the highest per capita Covid-19 death tolls in the world, with about 100 confirmed deaths from the disease for every 100,000 people. The pandemic has exposed the shortcomings of a health care system that has had to turn away patients as demand for beds surged for months, before hospitalizations peaked in mid-August and deaths started to decline.

The strike was just one of several disputes over pay and working conditions between the government and public sector health workers. Another doctors’ group held a two-day strike a month ago, and Dr. Quiñones said different unions might team up to hold a bigger, indefinite strike if the government does not address their concerns.

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

On Saturday, President Trump met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the nominee to the Supreme Court, and others in the Oval Office. On Tuesday, he debated former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in an indoor hall, neither with a mask, talking at high volume and often without pause.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump traveled to and from Minnesota on Air Force One along with dozens of others. On Thursday, the president appeared indoors before hundreds of supporters at a golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

On none of these occasions was the president wearing a mask. Often, neither were many in the room or on the airplane with him. All in all, conditions like these are a recipe for so-called superspreader events, in which a single infected person transmits the virus to dozens of others, research has shown.

Experts may never know how the president was infected or whom he may have infected, but the timing raises the possibility that he could have been infected last weekend, scientists said. Most people develop symptoms about five days after being infected with the virus, so exposure over the weekend would fit with reports that the president was showing early symptoms on Wednesday and Thursday.

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