Before a briefing with the White House press corps Saturday, President Donald Trump said that even though his temperature was taken, and he felt fine, he was preparing to take the coronavirus test, which he later announced (via the White House physician) was negative.
“I also took the test,” Trump said in the White House briefing room. “I decided I should based on the press conference yesterday people were asking that I take the test.”
The president had been in contact with several people who later tested positive for COVID-19, which prompted him to be tested prior to anymore handshaking.
President Trump’s coronavirus test came back negative, meaning he does not have the virus, according to the White House physician.
“Last night after an in-depth discussion with the President regrading COVID-19 testing, he elected to proceed,” Dr. Sean Conley said in a release. “This evening I received confirmation that the test is negative.”
“One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom-free,” he added. “I have been in daily contact with the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and White House Coronavirus Task Force, and we are encouraging the implementation of all their best practices for exposure reduction and transmission mitigation.”
Trump had revealed earlier Saturday that he took the coronavirus test and was awaiting the results. At that time, he indicated that his coronavirus test has been sent out to a lab and the results could take one or two days.
Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday neither he nor his wife, Karen, had been tested because they didn’t have the symptoms or contacts that would necessitate testing. With the president now tested, Pence signaled he’s reevaluating.
“I’m going to speak to the White House physician right after this press briefing and Mrs. Pence and I would be more than happy to be tested,” Pence said.
There were mixed signals coming from the White House regarding testing.
Trump Friday said he would “likely” get tested but then Friday evening, Trump’s physician said in a letter the commander-in-chief did not need to be tested for coronavirus, after a second Brazilian official who recently met with the president at Mar-a-Lago tested positive. It was unexpected when Trump announced on Saturday morning that he had already taken the coronavirus test.
Even before Trump took the test, Dr. Conley said Friday the president’s interactions with the infected guests were “low risk” and that the testing was not currently directed.
“The President’s exposure to the first individual was extremely limited (photograph, handshake) and though he spent more time in closer proximity to the second case, all interactions occurred before any symptom onset,” Conley’s statement said. “These interactions would be categorized as LOW risk for transmission per CDC guidelines, and as such, there is no indication for home quarantine at this time.”
But then, acting Brazilian Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Nestor Forster tested positive for the virus, on Friday. Trump was seated with Forster during the Brazilian delegation’s Mar-a-Lago dinner last Saturday. Then, Fabio Wajngarten, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s communications secretary, tested positive on Wednesday. Trump posed for a photo him at the event. And finally, Brazilian Sen. Nelsinho Trad, who attended the Mar-a-Lago dinner, also tested positive for the virus, according to a statement from his office Friday evening.
As of Saturday, over 2,100 patients have been proven to have contracted the coronavirus in the U.S., with at least 50 deaths.