Donald Trump tests negative for coronavirus
Donald Trump has tested negative for coronavirus, according to a letter from Mr Trump’s doctor Sean Conley on Monday.
It came as the President made his way to Florida for his first major campaign rally since returning from hospital, where he spent four days after coming down with COVID-19.
“In response to your inquiry regarding the President’s most recent COVID-19 tests, I can share with you that he has tested NEGATIVE, on consecutive days, using the Abbott BinaxNOW antigen card,” Dr Conley wrote in the letter, shared by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
The rapid test kits are less accurate than, and require confirmation from more sensitive, standard PCR tests.
“It is important to note that this test was not used in isolation for the determination of the President’s current negative status,” Dr Conley wrote.
“Repeatedly negative antigen tests, taken in context with additional clinical and laboratory data, including viral load, subgenomic RNA, and PCR cycle threshold measurements, as well as ongoing assessment of viral culture data, all indicate a lack of detectable viral replication.”
Dr Conley concluded, “This comprehensive data, in concert with the CDC’s guidelines for removal of transmission-based precautions, have informed our medical team’s assessment that the President is not infectious to others.”
Mr Trump was pulled off the campaign trail and flown to the Walter Reed military hospital in Maryland on October 2 after he tested positive for COVID-19 and subsequently experienced difficulty breathing.
He was discharged on October 5 and has since boasted about his rapid recovery, with the 74-year-old describing himself as a “perfect physical specimen” and “extremely young” in an interview with Fox News on Thursday.
On Saturday he held his first public event since his illness, speaking to a crowd of supporters at a mini-rally from the South Portico of the White House, where he declared he was “feeling great”.
The President had come under fire from critics for potentially putting others at risk, amid lingering uncertainty over whether he had fully cleared the virus.
“Please, Mr President, do not travel to Florida for a political rally while infected with (COVID-19),” Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nikki Fried, wrote on Twitter last week.
“That is an unnecessary risk of life to Floridians and to those around you.”
Ms Fried is currently the only Democratic statewide elected official in Florida.
Dr Conley released a letter on Sunday insisting Mr Trump was “no longer considered a transmission risk to others”, prompting his boss to claim that he was “immune” and had a “protective glow”.
“Now at day 10 from symptom onset, fever-free for well over 24 hours and all symptoms improved, the assortment of advanced diagnostic tests obtained reveal there is no longer evidence of actively replicating virus,” Dr Conley wrote.
In response, Mr Trump tweeted that it meant “I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it” – with Twitter quickly censoring the post for violating its rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.