President Donald Trump Takes Coronavirus Test Again Out of 'Curiosity' and Tests Negative
During Thursday’s press briefing at the White House, President Donald Trump announced that he had been re-tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) and tested negative.
“I did take a test that just came out. … I went to work. I did not wait for it, but it took 14 minutes or something to come up with the conclusion. … So that is the second one. I think I took it really out of curiosity to see how quickly it worked and fast it worked,” Trump, 73, explained.
“And it’s a lot easier. I’ve done them both. And the second one is much more pleasant,” he added.
White House Physician Sean P. Conley explained in a memorandum obtained by PEOPLE before the briefing that Trump is “healthy and without symptoms.”
“This morning, the President was tested again for COVID-19, utilizing a new, rapid point-of-care test capability. He is healthy and without symptoms. Sample collection took just one minute, and results were reported back in 15 minutes. The President tested negative for COVID-19.”
Trump first took the test in March.
Conley explained in the March memorandum regarding the test: “Last night after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding COVID-19 testing, he elected to proceed. This evening I received confirmation that the test is negative.”
The statement added, “One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom-free. I have been in daily contact with the CDC and White House Coronavirus Task Force, and we are encouraging the implementation of all their best practices for exposure reduction and transmission mitigation.”
PEOPLE previously reported that Trump “briefly came in contact” with Fabio Wajngarten, the communications director for Bolsonaro, who showed symptoms three days after meeting with the president at a diplomatic dinner in Palm Beach, Florida.
As for what it was like taking the first test, Trump told reporters on March 17: “[It’s] not something I want to do every day, I can tell you that.”
“It’s a little bit of — good doctors in the White House, but it’s a test. It’s a test, it’s a medical test,” he continued. “Nothing pleasant about it.”
Speaking at the same coronavirus briefing, Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary for Health and Human Services, said the test required a Q-tip-style swab “that’s put in the back of the nose, all the way to the back of the throat” to the nasopharyngeal region. According to USA Today, that’s where the virus often multiplies.
The sample is then sent for testing.
News of Trump’s second test comes after it was revealed on Tuesday that between 100,000 and 240,000 people could die in America from the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the available models and data.
The peak, in this timeline, will hit on April 15 — with a lessening tail of death and infection stretching into mid-June.
This assessment was, the White House’s health experts stressed, still only a projection. And it was one that was shifting by the day, as health care workers, scientific researchers and everyday people all ramped up their own efforts to slow and treat new infections, including by practicing social distancing.
The final death toll could be lower. The new virus, which emerged only months ago, was not yet fully understood. Modeling out what it would do to people was still only an informed guess.
Even so, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading infectious disease expert and member of President Trump‘s coronavirus task force: “This is a number that we need to anticipate.”
“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” Trump told reporters at Tuesday night’s coronavirus briefing, using some of his starkest language to date about a virus he had previously downplayed.
At the peak, more than two thousand people were projected to die daily from a respiratory illness.
That could still change, though.
“This is the thing that we need to anticipate, but that doesn’t mean that that’s what we’re going to accept,” Dr. Fauci told reporters. “We want to do much, much better than that.”
Fauci and others on the task force, along with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, urged everyone to continue to follow the federal social distancing guidelines that have been extended through April: Stay home as much as possible, avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and practice regular hygiene such as good hand-washing and coughing and sneezing into your elbow.
As of Thursday, there are now at least 243,729 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, the most worldwide.
At least 6,164 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus-related illness.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.
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